Maxine's on Shine
Address337 N. Shine Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-674-6841
Price$$
Scott's Review

Note: This review is from Shine Neighborhood Kitchen, which has changed its name to Maxine's on Shine.

This is the quintessential neighborhood cafe, a lone business in a downtown residential area. Formerly Bravissimo Wine Bar, this space was a destination for people who simply liked the atmosphere. Now they can also like it for the good food. Clams and mussels Catalan, shrimp & grouper Maltese, and pork osso buco were some of the items I enjoyed. The owners -- who also own the decidedly different Graffiti Junktion -- did wonders with the limited space, which started its life, decades ago, as a neighborhood market. The atmosphere is soft and subdued and so very comfortable.

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Morimoto Asia
Address1600 Buena Vista Drive
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-939-6686
Price$$$
Scott's Review
For the uninitiated — or those who don’t follow challenge cooking shows — Masaharu Morimoto is a star of the programs Iron Chef in Japan and its spinoff Iron Chef America. He has several restaurants that bear his name around the world, including in Mumbai, New Delhi, Philadelphia, New York and Mexico City. Those restaurants are named simply Morimoto and feature the chef’s signature Japanese cuisine. (The nearest Morimoto is in Boca Raton.) The Disney Springs restaurant is Morimoto Asia to distinguish it from the other restaurants. Technically, the restaurant is operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, which also has the two restaurants at Epcot’s Italy pavilion as well as others throughout the country, including Lincoln at New York’s Lincoln Center. My sources told me that the Disney restaurant started out to be a genuine Morimoto but that the chef became disenchanted with the bureaucracy and chose to continue under a licensing agreement. ... Read more
MX Taco
Address207 N. Bumby Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-730-5241
Price$
Scott's Review
Some who have jumped on the taco-slinger bandwagon would have you believe that a taco is a taco is a taco. But Ryan Manning, who has lived and worked in Mexico as a chef with Ritz-Carlton, will tell you that each region has its own style, with distinguishing salsas, moles and meats. I came back from a recent visit to Mexico where I had one outstanding taco and the next day visited Manning’s new Milk District restaurant, MX Taco, where I had seven. ... Read more
Ocean Prime
Address7339 W. Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-781-4880
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

An upscale seafood (Ocean) and steak (Prime) supper club (live music) in the vein of The Oceanaire Seafood Room. The main dining room features warm wood walls with huge five-foot portholes that look through to the lounge area. (The dining room has its own bar for more intimate imbibing, a nice touch.) Touches of blue neon and a soft glow from drumlike light fixtures offer romantic notes, and white tablecloths and candles with frosted shades add a touch of elegance.

A “surf n turf” appetizer had lovely sea scallops and boneless short ribs plopped together in a smallish bowl with way too mashed potatoes. Good scallops, good ribs, bad presentation.

Onion soup was distinguished by a near lack of broth under heavy cheese; she-crab soup had a slight astringency and was not nearly as rich as it should have been.

Service was professional and thorough, and once the kitchen makes the right improvements, Ocean Prime will be a good choice.


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Old Jailhouse
Address113 S. Palmetto Ave.
CitySanford
Phone407-548-6964
Price$$$
Scott's Review
The Old Jailhouse is legitimately housed in a small building that was the Seminole County Jail from 1914 until 1959. Before that, it was a blacksmith and wagon shop from 1890, the year it was constructed, until 1895, and it was the E.E. Brady Livery Feed and Sales Stables from 1910 until it became the jail. More recently it was home to Sanford Dry Cleaners and, here’s irony for you, the Seminole County Health Department. Old Jailhouse’s opening represents the return of Bram Fowler to the local restaurant scene. Fowler made his mark at Journeys in the Longwood Village Shopping Center. Here, Fowler serves as the director of operations and executive chef.... Read more
Ootoya Sushi Lounge
Address621 E. Central Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-930-2002
Price$$
Scott's Review
Ootoya doesn’t present anything that would distinguish it above the other sushi restaurants that are opening or that have established themselves, though what I sampled on a recent visit was enjoyable.... Read more
Orchid Thai
Address305 Park Ave. N.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-331-1400
Price$$$
Scott's Review

A splashy and elegant restaurant with a hip vibe that befits its Park Avenue milieu. Short rib massamam featured a large beef short rib, braised and then sautéed with potatoes and small pieces of sweet bell peppers with a chili sauce and a bit of roasted peanuts. That the meat was not the most tender hunk of rib I’ve had – a bit more braising might have helped – does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the dish.

And part of the enjoyment of this entrée, and indeed most every dish served here, was the elegant presentation, which almost invariably included luminous purple orchid blooms as plate garnish. (Yes, orchid petals are edible, but frankly I enjoy looking at them much more than ingesting them.)Short rib massamam and yellow curry with chicken are a couple of menu highlights.

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Osphere
Address407 E. Central Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone
Price$$
Scott's Review
The space on Lake Eola now occupied by the curiously named Osphere – previously the home of Spice Modern and, more famously, Lake Eola Yacht Club – has one of the best patios in town, an even more covetous feature in these days of outdoor-preferred dining.... Read more