For our most recent meeting of Scott Joseph’s Supper Club, we did something a little different. Our friends at Gaylord Palms wanted to host the Supper Clubbers but I had a hard time choosing between the two very good restaurants. Do we go to Old Hickory Steakhouse and go all meaty? Or do we set sail for MOOR, the seafood centric restaurant?
Ultimately, the decision was easy: we’ll do them both.
And so that’s how the first Progressive Supper Club came to be. It was so much fun, I don’t think it will be our last.
We started with a reception and hors d’oeuvres at Old Hickory. Gaylord Palms is a massive structure that features a gigantic interior atrium under a glass roof. Old Hick is situated in a houselike structure in an area designed to resemble the Everglades, except with air conditioning and no threat of Zika.
Old Hickory’s executive chef, George Yiu, and his team put together some tasty nibbles, including Wagyu Carpaccio and Pomme Souffle, the fanciest steak and potatoes you’ve ever seen.
We also had Sea Urchin with pork lardons that one of the servers torched — on purpose — right there.
The chef and I did a Facebook Live broadcast from the balcony of the restaurant. Take a look at it below — it’s not live anymore, but you’ll get the gist. You’ll also meet Vincent Whaley of Orion Wine Imports, which supplied the wines for the reception. They included Gimenez Riili Buenos Hermanos Torrontes and Vida y Alma Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Corte. Those who didn’t want wine could sip on the KCR Side Car, the initials meaning Knob Creek Rye.
From the Everglades setting we walked to Key West, which isn’t as far as you’d think but still a nice walk to the other side of the vast atrium. (I should have thought to bring a canteen.)
That’s where MOOR is located, in an area that is sort of fashioned after Mallory Square, except with air conditioning, no threat of Zika and far fewer tourists. The focal point of the restaurant is a tall-masted ship in a lagoon on which guests may dine. Pretty setting, especially at night (check out the photo at top).
Here we were greeted by Phillip Fisher, the aptly named executive chef of MOOR. We took our seats in the tastefully decorated private dining room at two large tables, a nice configuration for conversation.
Our first course was Tuna Carpaccio with local radish, cucumber and herbs, drizzled with olive oil. The radishes gave it a wonderful spicy note. It was paired with Trimbach Pinot Blanc.
Next was something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced: a carrot course. And these were carrots worthy of a whole course, local and roasted, served with goat cheese and carrot top pesto, which has nothing to do with the comedian. As you can probably guess, the leafy tops of the carrots were used in place of basil to fashion a tangy pesto. But really, the sweet carrots didn’t need any accouterments. Well, nothing more than the Bieler Rosé that was poured for the course.
The third course of Cold Smoked Wahoo wowed us all. Frankly, when the plate was set down in front of me, I was sure the fish was going to be dry. Not only was it moist, the smoke had infused it with flavors that worked nicely with the natural sweetness of the white fleshed fish. A bourbon butter melted on top of the wahoo, and charred corn and bacon polenta rounded out the dish. Estancia GSM, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, was the pairing.
For dessert, we were served a sampling of MOOR’s sweets, made sweeter with Graham’s Six Grapes Port.
The staff were all terrific and kept us happy.
If you haven’t been to Old Hickory or MOOR, I can recommend them to you. But you don’t have to choose one over the other. Just set up your own progressive dinner and have some fun along the way.
Gaylord Palms is at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, just off of I-4 (really, you can’t miss it). Old Hickory is open for dinner and MOOR for lunch and dinner daily. Call 407-586-1600 for Old Hickory and 407-586-1101 for MOOR.