Cress
Address103 W. Indiana Ave.
CityDeland
Phone386-734-3740
Price$$$
Scott's Review
Chef Hari Pulapaka, who, along with his wife, Jenneffer, owns Cress, has a creative touch, but he bases all of his dishes on classic culinary principles. That’s evident in the Cress seafood sampler of fresh black fin grouper, jumbo lump crab cake served with sauce remoulade, jumbo shrimp, with a sauce creole, and grits with bits of andouille sausage, mushrooms and thyme. The fish sat on al dente sauteed squash, and everything was topped with freshly made potato chips. Although the dish was comprised mainly of seafood, each component had a distinct flavor, and all of the tastes and textures played very nicely together. I especially liked the crab cake for the buttery notes in the crisp crust that held the lump meat together. And the firm texture of the black fin grouper was very pleasant. The restaurant, in an old downtown storefront, is pleasant and comfortable.... Read more
Crooked Spoon Gastropub
Address200 Citrus Tower Blvd
CityClermont
Phone352-404-7808
Price
Scott's Review
Chef/owner Steve Saelg was one of the pioneers of Orlando’s food truck boom, and his Crooked Spoon truck was one of the more popular ones at area food truck rallies. But Saelg, who started out as a Wall Street financier before turning to a life in the culinary arts, longed to stop roaming. So he parked the truck and opened a gastropub with the same name. In this case, gastropub probably means something closer to a sports bar. The atmosphere is casual, the bar is visible from most corners of the dining areas, and the requisite televisions hang all about. I loved the pork belly BLT, a thick and delightfully fatty belly section with a crispy exterior, served on fresh brioche bread with spicy arugula, marinated tomato and remoulade. And as a wonderful surprise, an egg, sunny-side up, on top. It’s called a sandwich, but just try to eat it with anything but a knife and fork. I also enjoyed the lobster grilled cheese, which was sort of like a lobster roll with a bit of melted cheeses, including brie, swiss and cheddar, on top. The sweet lobster meat was served with tomatoes on the buttery toasted bread.... Read more
Daily Poutine
Address1674 Buena Vista Drive
CityOrlando
Phone
Price$$
Scott's Review
Very expensive and not very good.... Read more
Dapper Duck
Address28 S. Orange Ave
CityOrlando
Phone407-286-0256
Price$$
Scott's Review
One of Orlando's many -- MANY -- bars, but one of the few that pays attention to the quality of food it serves.... Read more
Delaney's Tavern
Address1315 S. Orange Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-849-0801
Price$$
Scott's Review
Part of the new Delaney, a boutique hotel, Delaney's Tavern is more than a drinking spot. The food, under the direction of chef Anthony Albino, is innovative and expertly executed. The crab beignets and shrimp, scallops & grits (with purple grits) are favorites.... Read more
Designer Greens
Address464 N. Alafaya Trail
CityOrlando
Phone407-282-8588
Price$
Scott's Review

At Designer Greens, which occupies a small storefront space in the Waterford Lakes area, not far from the Home Depot, you have your own personal salad builder at your beck and call. She does the tonging and tossing -- think of it as a salad bar without a sneeze guard.

You design your own salad in several steps. First you decide if you want a half salad or a full salad, which for our purposes we’ll call the Pittsburgh. (Go with a half; it’s plenty.) Then you choose the lettuce, romaine or spring mix.

In step three, you get to choose three toppings (five if you’re headed for Pittsburgh) from a list of about 36. You’ve got everything from artichokes and avocados to mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and various cheeses. If you can’t limit it to just three, you can add others at 50 cents each, but this is a slippery slope if you’re going the salad route as part of a dieting regimen.

Step four is optional -- you can add a meat, such as turkey, ham or tuna. Chicken-fried steak is not an option, but chicken tenders are. Beware.

The last step is the dressing, which you can have your salad maker add and toss or request on the side. There are a baker’s dozen opt... Read more

Dexter's of Lake Mary
Address950 Market Promenade Ave.
CityLake Mary
Phone407-805-3090
Price$$

There are three distinct Dexter’s but all offer the same basic menu, which is unambitious but functional. Much more emphasis is placed on producing a lively atmosphere, which often includes live music. (Check Web site for details.)

For food, the pressed duck sandwich is a classic. And the chicken tortilla pie, a tall, layered affair, is one of those things you feel guilty for liking but keep ordering each time you go.

... Read more
District
Address112 W. 2nd St.
CitySanford
Phone407-330-2730
Price$$$
Scott's Review
The District, a restaurant in Sanford, is small, has a limited and fairly mundane menu, and is enjoying the kind of popularity that apparently allows the staff to be slightly arrogant with newcomers. There is a small dining room and a bar area next to it. If the dining room is booked, as it was when I visited recently, the hostess may wave toward the bar and tell you it’s open seating “in there.” I selected a seat at the end of a bar-height communal table “in there” and a bartender came around to hand me a menu.... Read more