I love all the mom and pop restaurants, the little eateries serving sandwiches, barbecue, comfort foods and myriad cuisines of other countries and cultures.
But sometimes you want something a little more upscale, a special occasion splurge. So the other day I said to my Covid companion, “Let’s do Eddie V’s tonight.” It was a welcomed suggestion.
Eddie V’s, of course, is the upscale Darden brand on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row specializing in seafood. Fish is a tough thing to do for off-premises dining, but if anyone could pull it off I was sure Eddie V’s could.
EV’s has adapted to the current takeout culture nicely. It has established a good online ordering form that includes specifying outside and specific-time pickup and prepayment with gratuity added. It also has a box to check if you need napkins and utensils and even though I left the box unchecked they were included.
From the form, my companion and I selected an appetizer of traditional steak tartare and the lobster bisque to start.
At the restaurant, the steak tartare is done tableside, so I was hoping that someone might come out to the car and do it there, but no. Instead it was prechopped and packaged with some hard and crusty well-buttered toast. I liked the thickly chopped texture of the high quality filet and the mix-ins of onions, parsley and mustard, the latter adding a nice spicy note.
The bisque was thick and creamy and had a generous lump of lobster plus a crouton. It was tinged with cognac and perhaps could have used a tinge more.
For an entree I selected the parmesan sole, which featured three sections of fillet, all well coated with grated parmesan and pan fried to that golden brown you’ve heard so much about. The fish flesh was firm and fresh tasting. The dish was accompanied by an heirloom tomato salad that seemed to consist of some tomato halves and some onions. There was also a lemon and garlic cream sauce to pour over the fish. And I appreciated the half lemon wrapped in mesh to squeeze over the fillets.
To accompany the fish we got the add-on of 3 Georges Bank scallops drenched in brown butter. Beautifully seared scallops, nice and tender, and made rich with the butter. We had a full meal with the fish and scallops.
But of course we over ordered. I just had to have the crab fried rice, and I’m glad I indulged my whim. The rice was moist and blended with egg and leathery bits of mushrooms and topped with a large clump of crabmeat. Delicious.
Pickup wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. When I arrived at the restaurant I pulled into the portico and told one of the valet parkers that leaped to open the doors that I was there to pick up an order, so he waived me on to a parking space. It would have been nice if he had offered to let someone inside know that I was there, but instead I had to call the restaurant.
Although I was on time, my order was not ready. After several minutes of waiting, someone came out to let me know that one of the items had just been put on the grill (not sure what was grilled) and that it would be a few more minutes. It was much longer than that. And when the order was finally delivered there was no word of apology for the wait.
Also, most of the food was tepid, even though the drive home was not a long one, so a bit of reheating was necessary. (Not for the tartare, of course, it was a perfect temperature.)
But in the end, we got what we wanted: fine food with a touch of elegance. We used our finest china and linens (instead of the paper napkins included in the takeout sack).
Eddie V’s is at 7488 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando. It is open for dinner daily. The phone number is 407-355-3011.