I’m wondering if there’s a sign maker in town that keeps a template at the ready for the marquee that hangs on the corner of the building at 101 S. Eola Drive. It’s touted Mucho Tequila and Tacos, Muddy Waters, and most recently the Menagerie in the past 10 or so years.
Now it reads RusTeak, the newest occupant of the corner restaurant space that recently relocated from its College Park location.
I reviewed that restaurant in November of 2014 and the original, in Ocoee, the year before that. Both were enjoyable experiences, with above average food and good service (in the case of the College Park RusTeak it was a little too good).
But for some reason, the Thornton Park RusTeak had me thinking it was a restaurant run by newbies who were still trying to figure how everything works. Instead of above average food, it was mostly just average.
My entree didn’t quite reach that level. It was the oddly named steak Regina Phalange (a pseudonym one of the characters on the sitcom Friends used, so draw your own conclusion) that I ordered from the restaurant’s Magical Dining menu. The steak was too tough to enjoy. I dined on the patio with my dog and even he had hard time with it. The fingerling potatoes were nice, but the pureed parsnips beneath were tepid.
This had followed the enjoyable appetizer known as the Favorite. I had had these shrimp fritters at the College Park restaurant seven years ago. They apparently earned the name over the years. And they were good if a bit too darkly fried. (I checked the photo from 2004 and they were dark then, too, so that’s apparently how they like to do them.) The corn fritters also had nice bits of bacon and were served with an aioli seasoned with Old Bay and a separate mustard seed honey dip that was too cloying for me.
My dining companion – the other one, not my dog – ordered the 55th Street sandwich, which featured layers of sliced pastrami on toasted sourdough bread slathered with honey mustard mayo, with melted havarti cheese and coleslaw. It was a good sandwich and there was an ample amount of meat but not an omigod portion. Even better than the sandwich was the cauliflower casserole side dish topped with a ring of pancetta. Delicious. Not sure why the sandwich is so named but the legendary but defunct Carnegie Deli, which had a Seventh Avenue address, was on the corner of 55th Street in Manhattan.
Dessert was an omigod sized and nicely custardized coquito bread pudding, topped with vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce flavored with cinnamon.
The interior features a lot of bare wood and is overall not as upscale/casual as the original or the College Park RusTeak, but the atmosphere fits the neighborhood.