9101 International Drive
One of Darden Restaurants’ most recent acquisitions, and easily their most upscale. The steaks here are very good, and the service is attentive if not downright solicitous. I had the Delmonico, basically a bone-in ribeye, that was had a flavorful, well-seasoned crust and beautiful red center. The higher fat content of the cut made it juicy and tender.
My companion chose the Kansas City sirloin, offered as a special on the night I visited. Also a bone-in cut, the steak had a characteristically coarser texture but was cooked just as perfectly as the other and was every bit as flavorful.
Atmosphere is clubby and posh.... Read more
|Address||3216 Margaritaville Blvd.|
|Address||2447 S. Orange Ave.|
This is a second location for a small, family-run restaurant on Curry Ford Road. The new location, on Orange Avenue across from the SoDo complex, has a fresh newness about it, from its slatelike flooring to the highly polished dark wood tabletops.
Both locations, however, share the same sincere friendliness of the staffers and, most importantly, fine food.
I met a friend for lunch recently and we started our meal with an order of Angel Wings, one of my favorite Thai appetizers. It should be noted that no angels actually were de-winged in the preparation of the dish.
For my main course I chose the massaman curry with beef, with a heat specification of medium-hot. It had thin slices of beef mixed with meaty chunks of potatoes and onions in a creamy sauce dotted with red flecks of pepper. The spiciness was just right, just enough heat to clear the sinuses but not enough to permanently singe them.
The lunch specials came with a simple salad of greens topped with a ginger dressing, and a small stogie-sized fried Thai egg roll. Nothing special, but a nice addition to the meal.
|Address||7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd.|
Chatham's Place has gone through some changes, and much more than the fact that there are no members of the Chatham family involved in the restaurant. That's not an issue; Louis Chatham, who served as executive chef, and his mother, Bettye, who ran the dining room in those first years, sold the operation years ago to Chatham's sous chef, Tony Lopez, the maitre d', Maurice Colindres, and a hostess, Carol Conwell. The three of them kept it going as strong as ever, perhaps stronger. It was clear that this was an operation of love for the three of them, and they worked together to make it a continued success.
Many of the dishes that became signatures back in Louis Chatham's days remain on the menu, including the Florida black grouper, which has been one of my favorite Central Florida entrees for many years. It features a fresh fillet, thick and white, lightly sauteed and topped with pecan butter and scallions, dusted with just a soupcon of cayenne pepper. The pecan butter places the dish firmly in the south and the pepper points it towards New Orleans. But with the use of Florida black grouper I think we can just claim this one as one of our native dishes, don't you?... Read more
|Address||533 W. New England Ave.|
Chez Vincent continues to serve classic French dishes in pleasant, if slightly worn, surroundings. Chef/owner Vincent Gagliano is a master with soup, and the coquille St. Jacques is one of the better seafood entrees. Steak au poivre is a good choice for a meat dish.
Chez Vincent’s waiters are mature and professional. I mention the maturity because it’s a welcome change from the working-my-way-through-college servers who seem to dominate the Winter Park restaurant scene. The waiters here allow the guests to dictate the pace of the meal.
If Chez Vincent has survived over the years it’s because there is an appreciation among Central Florida diners for a quiet place to enjoy a good, classically prepared meal.
If that’s true, there’s hope for aspiring restaurateurs out there, and, not incidentally, for all of us who will support them.... Read more
|Address||685 Towne Center Blvd.|