I’m liking Osprey Tavern more and more each time I visit, and I liked it just fine the first time. It seems to be growing into a more comfortable version of itself. Once you’re past the tentativeness of the front desk, servers are amiable without being cloying, the atmosphere buzzes with mutual conviviality, and the kitchen, under the direction of Ravenous Pig alumnus Joseph Burnett, produces a menu that combines comfort with style.
The restaurant has a different feel at brunch, at least in the early hours. The atmosphere is a little less manic, though certainly not subdued. One can’t really expect total calm in a restaurant that features a show kitchen as a prominent part of the dining room. I must say, however, that several of the cooks “on stage” on a recent Sunday morning did not look up to performing a matinee.
Still, my companion and I had a pleasant brunch.
To go with my coffee that I sipped while we looked over the brunch menu, I chose a delicious looking pastry from the cart nearby. Unfortunately, what looked like a fresh sweet roll with gooey frosting was actually a scone. It was a good scone, mind you, with all the attendant crumbling one would expect, though with more nuts that I could imagine. I can’t fault it for not being the cinnamon roll I wanted it to be, but I’ll admit to being a bit crestfallen with that first bite. (I should have looked at the menu where it clearly touts an Apricot-Hazelnut Scone.)
My friend had the Onion Soup starter and his crest probably fell as much when it turned out not to be the sort of onion soup weighted down by a heavy crouton and melted gruyere. Instead, it was a wide bowl of golden consommé with a slice from a batard, toasted and topped with parmesan and a creme fraiche-like spread. In the broth were thinly sliced slivers of rainbow carrots. A lovely soup, just be warned if the stereotypical onion soup is your favorite hangover soother.
For my main course I chose the Baked Egg Casserole, a two-handled silver skillet filled with stewed tomatoes, pattypan squash, sliced fingerling potatoes and just-set eggs, all decorated with fresh herbs and crumbled feta cheese. This is my sort of hangover soother, though thankfully I did not have one. One quibble: The potatoes were undercooked.
Though from the list of “Beginnings,” the Eggs and Soldiers sounded like a good entree for my friend. Make that Egg and Soldiers. Only one soft-boled egg-in-a-cup was served with the soldiers, which, though well decorated (herb spread, ham gastric and red onions instead of combat ribbons) these troops needed to go on a diet — they were too fat to dip into the egg cup.
The atmosphere is bright and comfortable. Even if it had been a warmer day, I’d still opt to sit inside — it’s just too nice.
I’m very happy that Baldwin Park finally has a restaurant that even people who don’t live in the manufactured neighborhood will want to visit.
Osprey Tavern is at 4899 New Broad St., Orlando. It serves brunch on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The phone number is 407-960-7700.