I don’t think Phillip Fisher could have a more appropriate name. Fisher is the chef at MOOR, the recently rebranded restaurant at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, and the man certainly has a way with seafood.
I was invited to stop by and sample some of the menu items, and it was the mutton snapper, one of the “off-the-hook fresh” fish selections that were offered that evening that was my favorite from among several recommendable items.
It was deftly pan seared so that the outside had a buttery crisped crust and the flaky flesh inside was still moist and sweet. It sat neatly on a mushroom risotto drizzled with a bit of olive oil. I was sampling a number of items from the menu and knew that I couldn’t possibly eat every bite, but this fish certainly tempted me.
So did the she-crab soup. Check that — make it “heirloom recipe she-crab soup.” Heirloom, culinarily speaking, usually refers to produce whose seeds can be traced to admirable lineage. Indeed, a couple of items above the soup on the menu is a salad featuring heirloom tomatoes. But here Fisher is noting that the recipe is a family one that has been passed down for generations. The crab-roe-infused broth was thick and flavorful, and it was topped with sweet crab meat, to boot.
I did not try the heirloom tomato salad but I did have the one called Farmhouse. It featured frilly edged kale and fresh arugula dressed with a sweet garlic vinaigrette and topped with a slow-cooked egg, the yolk of which became part of the dressing.
A flatbread offering had a base of house-made lemon ricotta with blue crab meat and fresh slices of avocado, fancily drizzled with a spicy tomato aioli. The flatbread itself was a perfect not-too-thin crispiness.
I also sampled Fisher’s version of chicken and waffles, this one with a Lake Meadows bird atop a starburst layered waffle. It was made special with a maple syrup sauce that made use of the pan drippings.
Desserts are served in small Mason Jar-like containers and included stylized versions of strawberry shortcake, Key lime pie, peanut butter cup, and s’mores.
MOOR is in the space that previously was Sunset Sam’s. There have been subtle changes to the decor, but the main scenery element — a tall ship “floating” in a waterway inside the resort’s massive terrarium of a lobby — remains.
In fact, the restaurant’s new name is inspired by the connection that ties boat to land, although the menu also suggests an acronym that celebrates the regional cuisine: Mindful Of Our Resources.
Whatever, I’ll have some MOOR, please.
MOOR is inside the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-586-1101.