Today we welcome The Parkview to the site. (Welcome, Parkview!) The Parkview is the wine bar and restaurant on Park Avenue that used to be Eola Wine Company. EWC’s Scott Schrope sold the Winter Park location to his longtime manager, Matt Coltrin last year in an amicable transaction. (Schrope continues to own and operate the Orlando Eola Wine Company, which is actually across Lake Eola Park.)
Did you notice above that I referred to the Parkview as a wine bar and restaurant? That’s because Coltrin and his chef, A.J. Haines, have really stepped up the food here, offering a more substantial bill of fare to go with the already impressive bill of imbibes. They invited me to stop by recently and sample what’s coming out of the kitchen. I liked what I tasted.
I started with a smooth and rich creamed Zellwood corn soup drizzled with a bit of olive oil and served with a few popcorn “croutons.”
Watermelon salad featured cool cubes of the fruit on top of spicy baby arugula tossed in a light champagne honey vinaigrette. Goat cheese crumbles and pickled watermelon rind dotted the substantial salad.
The roasted artichoke crostini had the whole chokes on toasted bread beds with pickled onion and shaved Manchego cheese. A pesto fashioned out of red pepper smeared on the plate offered color as well as flavor, as did some more of the young arugula.
Pan seared lamb lollipops was the first entree I sampled. The three bite-sized chops were perfectly seared and well-seasoned, but not so as to cover the delightful gaminess of the meat. The pops — pick them up; that’s why they’re called lollipops — were accompanied by sticks of roasted carrots and little piles of pearl couscous in a puddle of mint puree.
The braised pork belly was wonderful, a thick and appropriately succulent slice with a crisped outside. It was served with pot liquor next to a stack of braised kale and atop of swoosh of purple potato puree. Crispy chicharrones topped it off.
If you’re not inclined to have a full entree, you might want to go for the charcuterie platter. Mine had various salume and cured meats as well as a house pate, house cured olives and other pickles, a selection of cheeses, bread, crackers and local jam.
And of course all of this is pairable with any of the selections from Parkview’s extensive list of wines. Even better, there is a knowledgable staff to help you choose the right wine to suit your tastes. And if your taste is for craft beer, they’ve got you covered there, too.
Most of the indoor seating is at tall tables, though there are a couple of sofas for more casual lounging, though I never find those setting conducive to dining. There are also several tables on the sidewalk out front, perfect for time honored sport of Park Avenue People Peering.
Park Avenue now has a more concentrated group of good restaurants than the stretch of Sand Lake Road I dubbed Restaurant Row back in the ‘90s. With the Parkview’s dedication to serving good food with its fine wines, we can add one more to the list.
The Parkview is at 136 Park Ave. S., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner daily, including late nights. There is no dedicated website, but its Facebook page has a downloadable menu. The phone number is 407-647-9103.