The space on Lake Eola now occupied by the curiously named Osphere – previously the home of Spice Modern and, more famously, Lake Eola Yacht Club – has one of the best patios in town, an even more covetous feature in these days of outdoor-preferred dining.
And even the interior seems suited to distancing. At least from what I remember – I visited the restaurant in early March.
The experience I had with my dining companions (we joked about the news that was starting to emerge and said that we couldn’t shake hands but we could hug; hardly a joking matter now) was good, though I recall being a bit confused at the collection of dishes on the menu. There didn’t seem to be any coherency or logical theme. But the food that I tasted was good.
Osphere is from Oudom Ketsatha, the owner of Oudom Thai and Coco Cocina a couple of blocks away and around the corner in the Sanctuary condominium tower. Ketsatha serves as the chef here. Osphere’s menu has Asian notes – crab Rangoon, Asian barbecue pork ribs, Mongolian beef – interspersed with items not as clearly associated with any country or region. Oven roasted chicken, bone-in pork chop, ribeye, New York strip, grilled salmon, fried shrimp. A little something for everyone but nothing that shouts culinary creativity.
My guests and I shared an order of calamari, breaded and deep fried and served with a sweet chili sauce and tartar sauce. A bit sparkly from the deep frying but good flavors, especially the sliced of jalapeno mixed in with the squid.
The seared sushi-grade tuna was billed as a salad but substantial enough to star as a main dish. The big block of tuna was dotted with sesame seeds and seared just enough to singe the exterior without cooking the inside. A salad of uninspired mixed greens accompanied along with some slices of avocado and mango and a wad of pickled ginger. The ginger and cilantro vinaigrette was as good on the tuna as it was on the greens.
One of my guests went the sandwich route with the French dip, which had an impressive stack of lean roast beef topped with grilled onions and melted jack cheese on a hoagie roll. It was served with beef juices – or au jus sauce, as we used to say as kids – and accompanied by fries.
The pan-fried snapper filet was unusual in that the fish had a breading that made it look like wienerschnitzel. The veal, I mean snapper sat on a plop of red pepper sauce and was topped with a mango salad. Roasted red and yellow peppers dressed with goat cheese sat nearby for some reason. And a mould of Japanese fried rice was included, too. Honestly, I think I liked the rice as much as anything.
But I’ll admit a guest’s blue crab rice was even better.
Osphere has in-house dining – and even better, dining on the patio – and has an online ordering form for takeout.
Osphere is at 407 E. Central Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-203-4527.