Tin Roof, a "live music joint," as its subtitle touts, opened recently in Orlando, the latest in the flurry of eateries, mostly chains, to pop up at I-Drive 360. That's where the Orlando Eye, the mega Ferris wheel, is currently under construction. Developers are hoping tourists will flock to the wheel to see just how flat Florida is. Perhaps while they're up there they can look down and see if the Tin Roof really has a tin roof.
I couldn't tell you myself, but I can attest that it has a tin ceiling. Or some sort of corrugated metal, anyway. The decor is early roadhouse, with vintage metal signs sufficiently aged and battered, rustic wood booths (no padding for the butt), and freestanding tables with red and blue vinyl-clad kitchen chairs. There's a bicycle hanging from the ceiling for some reason, but I suppose you have to store it somewhere.
There's also a stage where live music is to be performed regularly (see reference to subtitle above). However, I arrived late to a media lunch and the music act arranged for that occasion had stopped playing and did not resume during my stay, so there's that.
The menu is a little more ambitious than you'd expect for a place that apparently wants to emphasize its entertainment and ambient vibe. It's a little difficult to figure what the kitchen's forte is. There is, unsurprisingly, a large list of "snacks, starters and shareables," a section of "buns," which I quickly deduced meant burgers and sandwiches, "wraps," and "dillas." It took me a while to realize they meant quesadillas. And I don't think I would ever advise sometone to call the entree section of a menu "strong plates," but no one asked me.
I sampled a few items from the various sections, including the Shrimp Coctel, which is more of a ceviche. It featured medium sized shrimp in lime juice with slices of big green olives, radishes, bits of red onion and little balls of avocado. A good choice from the list of starters.
The Hoecake Pile Up was an interesting presentation of cornmeal pancakes topped with barbecued brisket, a slaw of green cabbage, and tangy pickles and pickled onions. There seemed to be more of the pancakes and slaw than of brisket, which is what I ended up eating the most of. This was from the Strong Plates section, and the brisket was definitely its strong suit.
Tuna Tataki (this from the Green Room Salads section, and shown above in mini portion with other samplers) had very nice sushi-grade tuna on leaves of bibb lettuce with matchsticks of cucumber, apples and jicama. The tuna, dotted with bits of toasted sesame, was fine without all the accouterments.
Tin Roof started on Nashville's Music Row in 2002. It now has 13 locations; Orlando's is its first in Florida.
Upcoming music acts include a Justin Timberlake tribute band and a grand opening celebration in March featuring Vanilla Ice. (Prediction: There will never be a Vanilla Ice tribute band.)
With the promise of live music and decent food from the kitchen, Tin Roof might be a good place for people to hang out after riding the Eye. I suspect they will be mostly tourists. We locals already know Florida is flat.
Tin Roof is at 8371 International Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily, and serves until 2 a.m. The phone number is 407-270-7926.