Suite 106 may have finally found the sweet spot.
I’m referring to the business address in the strip of buildings at 4104 Millenia Blvd., at the corner of Conroy Road in front of the Mall at Millenia.
This same address has been home to short-lived concepts, such as Pasha, an unpassionate Mediterranean restaurant, and Figueira, a “Brazilian Grille & Pizza Bar” where the food was sold by weight (what could go wrong?).
Now it’s Millenia 106, and while the name is ill-advised and uncreative (a misspelled common word and the mail slot number?), the restaurant itself is a pleasant surprise, an inviting and casually upscale decor with food to match.
That food is under the direction of chef Bruno Fonseca, whose resume also includes Todd English’s bluezoo and Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton. Fonseca also serves as the new restaurant’s general manager.
The menu isn’t easily pegged, which is a good thing. At first it might look like there might still be Latin or Mediterranean influences, a Portuguese Surf & Turf, for example, pizzas or gnudi dumplings.
But creative American might be a more apt description, with a greater emphasis on the creative.
On a lunch visit with some business associates, I chose the Pork Belly BLT, which took the familiar stacked sandwich and replaced confit belly for bacon rashers and added roasted tomatoes, onion marmalade and avocado on a ciabatta roll. Delicious, and even came with a side of my choice. I chose creamy polenta and wasn’t dissatisfied.
One of my companions chose the Chicken Gnudi, which featured the potato dumplings, densely al dente, tossed with tender braised chicken, bacon, pine nuts, spicy arugula and a bit of gremolata.
Roasted beets were a highlight of the 106 salad, which also had a mesclun mix of lettuces, roasted carrots and tomatoes.
On an evening visit I went for the Portuguese Surf & Turf, which had a Rubik’s Cube size hunk of pork belly representing the turf and tile fish collar and head-on local shrimp from the surf. The pork belly was wonderfully fatty, and I enjoyed the crispy collar meat, too.
My companion had the Steak & Egg, which had hanger steak, grilled to a gorgeous medium rare and sliced, served with an Arzak egg. The egg is not named for the animal it comes from but rather the person who developed the cooking technique, Juan Mari Arzak. It’s essentially a way to soft boil an egg outside of its shell. Not the prettiest thing, but effective in its texture and resulting ooze. But it was the steak that was the star. Haven’t had meat that tender and tasty in a while. Confit potatoes rounded out the dish.
The appetizer listed simply as Spread, a chicken liver mousse topped with onion marmalade and served with crusty toasted bread and house pickles, was a nice starter. So were the fresh oysters on the half shell, topped with a refreshing watermelon mignonette.
Coffee service was nicely done, with a tableside pour over.
Millenia 106 is still finding its way with service. On one of the visits our server clearly had an unclear grasp of the menu. On another visit, the hostess tried to push me and my guest to sit at the bar, even though the dining room was empty. Such things are fixable.
By the way, there wasn’t a thing on the menu over $19 at dinner, and most were in the mid teens. Very reasonable prices for such good and creative cuisine.
Millenia 106, once again, is at 4104 Millenia Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-930-6206.