|Address||142 E. 4th Ave.|
|Address||611 S. Orlando Ave.|
(US Highway 17-92)
When Greg Gentile opened this massive two-story restaurant in a renovated family steakhouse, everyone thought he was crazy and that the place would close in one year. That was about two decades ago. Why did it succeed? Simple: good food, good service and an atmosphere for everyone; fine dining upstairs and a casual deli down.
The best dish I sampled is the anitra con rosmarino all'agrodolce, which I'm sure you know is roast duck. The duck meat, free of bones, was moist and tender. Spit roasting gives it a terrific flavor, but to enhance the taste, there's a wonderful sauce of balsamic vinegar, rosemary and maple syrup (yes, maple syrup). The syrup isn't overpowering and the flavors are just meant for each other.
The downstairs deli is a wonderful place for friends to meet. It's cramped, with tables set up throughout the market area, but it adds to the atmosphere.... Read more
|Address||9101 International Drive|
You can expect to chow down on Southern comfort foods, signature items from Memphis, the Mississippi delta and the bayous of Louisiana.
Well, OK, not all of it is authentically Southern, such as the nachos, unless you’re talking south of the border. My guest and I had put ourselves in the hands of the chef who sent out this massive mound of chips and cheese and other accouterments, including pulled pork. The chips were surprisingly crispy, and there were plenty of toppings.
However, I preferred the platter of fried dill pickles, smallish but crisp, and the meaty barbecued ribs with a sweetish sauce.
Better still was the bowl of gumbo ya ya, with smoked chicken, andouille sausage, crawfish and peppers in a roux as dark as the bayou.
For my entree I had the chicken fried chicken, a meaty breast with a jacket of buttermilk breading topped with pan gravy and accompanied by macaroni and cheese.
There's also good live entertainment, including the 10-person B.B. King house band. Don't expect to see the blues legend himself too often, however: even when he's performing in town he isn't obligated to stop in.... Read more
5601 Universal Blvd.
Dinner at Bice is not an inexpensive night out. But when you consider cost vs. quality, you’ll find that Bice is not overpriced.
Just consider the restaurant’s signature dish, ravioli stuffed with beef short ribs and spinach. The pasta was delicately thin and tender, and the braised meat inside had a rich, fatty mouthfeel that blossomed with the sauce of mushrooms and Marsala wine. Absolute heaven.
Or another from the list of primi piatti, big, fat tortellini filled with spinach and ricotta and dressed with a sauce of butter and sage.
From the secondi my companion had the scalloppine di vitello, flattened medallions of veal sauteed with a darkly rich mushroom sauce and served with a timbale of potatoes similar to a potatoes Anna dish.
I chose a special of the evening that featured sea bass in parchment. Enclosed inside the envelope with zucchini, yellow squash, red and green peppers, and a few salty olives, the fish took on all the vegetable flavors while maintaining a fresh and moist texture. The taste was buttery and absolutely delicious.
Desserts are worth lingering over.... Read more
|Address||8046 Via Dellagio Way|
Dellagio Town Center
|Address||7830 W. Sand Lake Road|
Phone: 407-816-6355.... Read more
|Address||4600 N. World Drive|
|City||Lake Buena Vista|
After more than a dozen years at the top, literally and figuratively, California Grill is still one the Central Florida’s best restaurants. Much of the concept of California Grill has not changed over the years, and the menu still features, as it has for much of the time, flatbreads and sushi as well as more traditional appetizers. The menu supposedly changes daily, though with three weeks separating my two most recent visits, I noticed most of the changes were in the wording and ranking of ingredients rather than completely different entries.
Service is impeccable and exemplary of the best that Disney can offer. The wine list focuses, as it should, on California and other American cuvees.
The pork tenderloin remains a favorite, but the filet mignon is a contender for best entrée. Sushi from master chef Yoshi is a treat.
Of course the best feature remains the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. And at the appropriate hour the lights dim slightly and the music that accompanies the Magic Kingdom's fireworks display plays in the restaurant. It’s one of the best shows in town.... Read more
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