A rather substantial seafood restaurant opened in the area recently with very little fanfare. Make that no fanfare. What’s even more unusual is that it is located in a rather substantial new resort, which also opened stealthily.
The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort is the new neighbor to the Waldorf-Astoria and Hilton Bonnet Creek near Walt Disney World. This is not a small boutique restaurant, it’s, um, well, grand. A major new resort with full-service hotel facilities on a lake around which are also situated towers of Wyndham time share units.
I was given a tour of the new hotel and its food service venues. Tesoro Cove is the causal three-mealer, a pleasant enough space on the ground floor inside from the pool area. Poolside is the Back Bay Pool Bar and Grill, with terrific views of the lake.
But the showcase restaurant is deep blu seafood grille, and no, I did not forget to capitalize the name, nor did I misspell blue. Or grill, for that matter. That’s all part of that mysterious marketing machine that figures we’ll glom onto unusual names like they were shiny objects that catch our attention. This is the same thinking that recently gave us Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen without the space and Todd English’s bluezoo, which also saw fit to lowercase the blue. At least they spelled it out, but then decided to attach another word without a space.
Let’s see, where was I? Ah, yes; deep blu.
Deep blu (sorry, I’m not starting a sentence in lowercase) is upscale casual dining. The menu, it will not surprise you, is primarily seafood with a few steaks thrown in for the obstinate meat lover too tired to walk over to Bull & Bear at the Waldorf. (I was told that there is an informal agreement between the two hotels to send Wyndhamers wanting steak to the Waldorf and guests at the Waldorf looking for seafood to the Wyndham; we’ll see how that plays out.) The food that I sampled was 50/50 -- half worked, half did not. But what was good was very good.
Put Chef Cory’s crab cake on the winning side. Named for db’s chef de cuisine, Cory York, this was a substantial cake of lump crab and precious little else, a soupcon of binder to keep it all together. It had a delightfully crisped crust, and the sun-dried tomato mayonnaise that accompanied it was tasty but unnecessary to the crabcake’s enjoyment.
The appetizer of calamari fries, on the other had, wasn’t as good. I appreciated that the chef was trying to move beyond the usual ringlets of squid that most restaurant serves. The batons of calamari looked appealing, clustered atop a jicama slaw. But they were unfortunately mushy. Jicama slaw, for the record, was quite good.
I also liked the creativity of the tiger shrimp spaetzle, but it ultimately didn’t work. There seemed to be too much going on in the dish, and it was difficult to tell where the shrimp left off and the spaetzle noodles picked up.
But then my grilled swordfish was just about perfect. It was a nice-sized fillet with beautiful grill marks. The texture was firm and steaklike, and the flavor had a delightful richness. I also liked the side dish of broccolini, with a feathery tempura batter.
The dining room features ample swaths of draperies over the many windows, and traditional candelabra chandeliers made modern with chains of gold rings that surround the lights in globes. Tables are uncovered, but seating is at cream-colored straight-back leather chairs.
The kitchen is open and quite large; it has a dominant presence in the room. There is a sushi bar and a big display case that on my visit was mostly just ice and oysters. (They’re looking to get some fish replicas that will fill the case without worrying about waste.)
Prices are moderate. My swordfish was $22; the tiger shrimp spaetzle was $24. Reasonable if you choose the right one.
Deep blu seafood grille is at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort, Bonnet Creek, 14651 Chelonia Parkway, Orlando. It is open for dinner nightly. This link will take you to the resort’s website where you can download the menu. The phone number is 407-390-2300.