Magical Dining Month is over for another year, but that doesn't mean there aren't any great dining deals out there. Just look at what American Kitchen Bar & Grill is offering.
They're calling it, maybe just a tad tongue in cheekily, Enchanted Dining Month and offering a $35 three-course prix fixe menu. Sound familiar?
Executive chef Venoy Rogers explained that American Kitchen, which is the signature restaurant at B Resort, missed the cutoff date to sign up for Magical Dining Month. The restaurant didn't want to run a competing offer at the same time, so instead they decided to run it after MagDinMo was over, so you can now consider the entire month of October to be EnDinMo at American Kitchen.
Rogers invited me to come in and sample the menu choices. I had already known there was good culinary talent at the resort. I had experienced Rogers' cuisine in the past, and his sous chef Jacob Rios recently won my Sous Chef Challenge cooking competition at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show. So I was pretty sure I was going to like what I tasted, and I did.
My lunch companion and I shared the starter course options: Fried Chicken "Oysters" and Firecracker Cape Canaveral Rock Shrimp.
Do you know what a chicken oyster is? It's a little morsel of meat found in the thigh. They're sort of like grouper cheeks, except that one's a fish and the other is fowl and one comes from the mouth and the other from the haunch. So, really nothing like grouper cheeks. But they're just as morsely and as rare as hen's teeth. Rogers marinates them in buttermilk and does them up like fried chicken. They're served with crispy bits of flash-fried kale and accompanied by a slightly spicy aioli.
The shrimp were decidedly spicier, hence the firecracker designation, mixed with pepperoncini and tossed with chili-garlic aioli and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
The first of the main courses we sampled was the Beet Root Ravioli, house-made pasta (all the pastas are made in house) filled with ricotta cheese (also made in house) with a bit of local goat cheese cream. Very nice.
We also sampled the Truffle Chicken Alfredo, with mushroom infused fettuccine and a black truffle Alfredo sauce served with a seared natural chicken breast.
From the regular menu, Rogers served us his version of Steak and Potatoes, featuring a 120-day dry-aged strip with piped mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, including squash, zucchini and local mushrooms. With a purple flower garnish and the slate-black plate, it was as gorgeous as it was delicious.
For dessert there was Apple Pie with salted caramel gelato.
Because American Kitchen is located in a hotel, local diners might be a little skeptical about the food. The big red truck that is the focal point of the interior -- and is used for setting up food displays at other times -- doesn't do much to generate culinary confidence. But trust me, the food here is first rate. And the Enchanted Dining Month menu is a perfect chance to see for yourself.
American Kitchen Bar & Grill is at the B Resort & Spa, 1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd., Lake Buena Vista. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-827-3080.