Cavo’s Bar & Kitchen was another of those restaurants I had visited just before the shutdown in March and was waiting for things to calm down before telling you about. In mid March, we were expecting a lockdown of maybe a few weeks. Seven months later, I’m clearing out the files and figured I’d go ahead and give you my impressions from those early days.
Which were generally positive, I should mention. Cavo’s doesn’t pretend to be any more than it is, which is basically a bar with a food menu – something alcohol-only bars have recently been struggling to become, even though the governor has given the go-ahead for bars to reopen, regardless of food menus. (Just a thought here, but if you’re a bar owner who decided to drop the idea of serving food once Phase 3 was announced, you may want to reconsider; winter is coming.)
And by the way, keep in mind that the photos you see here were taken in early March when we were younger, more naive willing to schmooze.
The menu is, fittingly, mainly sandwiches, with a cheesesteak a putative signature. It had the appropriately thinly sliced ribeye made oozy with melted white American cheese, served with sauteed onions on a fresh hoagie roll, which had sesame seeds that might horrify some cheesesteak aficionados (I thought they were fine).
The crab cake sandwich was served on a fresh kaiser roll, with spicy remoulade and shredded lettuce. The outside of the cake had a nicely seared crust. The inside was a bit overfilled, but I liked the flavor.
For an appetizer, I sampled the Brussels sprouts, nicely caramelized, tossed in olive oil and topped with tangy pecorino romano cheese crumbles.
Onion soup, served in the sterotypical brown crock that is required by law, apparently, actually had a nice beefy broth and loads of stringy onions underneath the thick crouton and thicker cheese.
I also had a side of meatballs, an order of three good-sized spheres, densely packed and smothered in a pulpy marinara then topped with cheese. Nice meatballs.
Back in March, servers were still finding their way but nevertheless were eager to please.
Cavo’s, of course, is the latest tenant in the building on the corner of Washington Street and Hyer Avenue that has been home to a number of restaurants, most recently (for all of five months) Felipe Rodrguez Tequila House + Kitchen and before that Truck Stop Pop-up Kitchen. Most notably, it was the home of the first Graffiti Junktion burger bar. The old converted service station has also been home to Thornton Park Cafe, La Fontanella da Nino and Midnight Blue.
That’s quite an array of concepts, but I think a neighborhood bar with a few good sandwiches is what it was meant to be.
Cavo’s Bar & Kitchen is at 900 E. Washington St., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Online ordering is available. The phone number is 321-352-7600.