I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Nick Filet sounds a lot like the name of a certain never-on-Sundays fast food chain. But there actually is a Nick behind the new fast-fooder, which recently opened a franchise in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips off Restaurant Row, and it specializes in filets, and even uses the proper spelling.
The Nick in question is Nick Kline, and he and his father, Keith, started Nick Filet not quite three years ago with the first restaurant in Paoli, just outside Philadelphia. The Orlando location is just one of four and the first outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Nick’s niche is simple: Instead of the ubiquitous chicken sandwich that every other franchise seems to specialize in, Nick’s offers a steak on a bun. It isn’t a unique idea. In fact, there’s a similar concept, Steak on Fire, just over a quarter of a mile away.
Nick Filet simplifies it a bit. The only protein other than beef on the menu is lobster. Not a chicken sandwich in sight. But the meat is offered in a variety of ways, including an assemblage option if you want to build your own sandwich.
I instead opted for the one called the Nickadelphia, which had a quarter pound filet on a toasted kaiser roll slathered with horseradish sauce and topped with grilled onions and melted provolone cheese.
For $11.99, the steak was a surprisingly good quality and a decent thickness that allowed the inside to still have a bit of redness. (No one asked about cooking to temperature and I just assumed it wasn’t possible.) The bun was just the taddest bit dry, but the onions and gooey cheese provided some moisture. It is not a huge sandwich – you can upgrade to a half-pound cut – but I found it sufficiently filling and a good bargain for the price.
Can’t say the same for the fries I also ordered. I got a mini container of fries sprinkled with Old Bay seasonings ($2.59). They were a bit soggy and easy to push aside. Not sure why shaking Old Bay seasoning on them warranted adding half a buck to the price over plain fries. If they’d used New Bay seasonings, maybe.
The Orlando operation seemed to be run by two women who worked gamely to keep things moving. The one taking the orders was honest in telling customers it would take 15 minutes for the food to be ready. The man in line ahead of me wanted to know why it would take so long and she told him because there were several orders ahead of him. My order appeared in about 10 minutes, a reasonable amount of time for this type of food.
Nick Filet occupies the Marketplace space that previously was LemonShark Poke and Pinchos Factory before that. Not a large space but there is plenty of seating inside at a good distance. There are also some outside tables.
There’s a white brick wall with Nick Filet Orlando painted on it opposite a wall with the restaurant’s logo of a tuxedoed character holding a sandwich who is supposed to resemble Kline but looks more like my friend Mihail. There is a Wall of Fame with postings of customer names who have completed the challenge of eating a sandwich with a pound of meat.
That isn’t so much a question of can you do it but should you?