Takeout Review: Tabla Winter Park

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Tablawp plate

You can tell that an Indian restaurant is serious about its food if you order something like junglee lal mass, a Rajasthani dish known for its spiciness, and are informed that it is not available mild.

That’s the case at Tabla, the Indian restaurant with touches of Thai and Chinese cuisine that recently opened a second location in the former Paris Bistro space off Park Avenue. The original Tabla, near Universal Orlando, opened in 2008 and is still in operation. When I reviewed it in August of that year, I noted that I really liked the food and service but the location not so much.

So I was really excited to learn that the owners were bringing their wonderful food to Winter Park and to a space I’ve always found attractive.

However, I opted to avail of Tabla’s curbside pickup for takeout, so a report on ambience will have to wait. But do not wait to try the food if you love Indian cuisine because it’s every bit as good as before if not better. I dare say we may have a new contender for Best Indian the next time that Foodster Category rolls around.

Takeout Review: Hungry Pants

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Hungrypants togo burger

Hungry Pants, the curiously named restaurant with a flexitarian menu, had barely been open five months when it closed due to the social distancing guidelines in late March. It reopened on the first of May, but even though Phase 1 allowed for in-house dining, the owners, Joey Conicella and Alex Marin, decided to offer takeout only for the time being.

Perhaps they spent those several weeks closed working on their takeout game, because my experience was seamless.

Hungry Pants’ gimmick is that it has a menu designed to attract diners who wish to maintain a plant-based diet but does not exclude those who want seafood or meat as a protein.

Takeout Review: Curry House Indian Cuisine

Written by Scott Joseph on .

curryhouse ext

I’ve been reviewing the takeout cuisine from a lot of our favorite, more established restaurants. So I relished the chance to try a new place, even if I am sticking to curbside .

Curry House Indian Cuisine managed to open its doors a few weeks before restaurants were ordered to close for on-premises dining. It reopened for takeout dining on May 1.

The window of the storefront space in a large strip mall on South Orange Blossom Trail still has a sign touting its lunchtime buffet. That’ll have to come down – we won’t see buffets again for a very, very long time.

And besides, I’ve always thought the food was better when prepared to order.

curryhouse lamb

And Curry House’s food was good. I especially liked the Lamb Vindaloo, which might have had a little more heat but nonetheless had a deliciously rich gravy and plenty of big hunks of meat.

Takeout Review: Pizza Bruno

Written by Scott Joseph on .

PizzaBruno cu

I had ordered one pie from Pizza Bruno, the popular restaurant on Curry Ford Road, but when the staff member came out to place the order in my trunk, she was carrying two boxes. She had gone back inside before I could ask about the double containers.

Concerned that I may have gotten someone else’s order – and worried I didn’t have mine – I pulled over and popped the trunk. The toppings I had requested were scribbled on one of the boxes: sausage, ‘roni, anchovies.

On the other was written, “Sorry! Has hole.”

Takeout Review: Prato

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Prato togo ext

They’re four of the saddest words one can hear when ordering takeout from Prato: We’re out of meatballs.

Those delicious orbs are my go-to item to order when dining in and I really wanted some to go. But the young woman who answered the phone blurted them out before I could say anything, leaving me slightly crestfallen.

So I had to adjust on the fly. Luckily, my other must-have item, the Widowmaker pizza (perhaps we can come up with a new name for this one) was available. I also got an order of the Mustard Spaghettini Cacio e Pepe.

And because it was a Friday evening, and I was distraught about the meatball shortage, I thought I would splurge on an Old Fashioned cocktail. I thought $22 for a cocktail was a bit much but, like I said, it was a Friday.

Takeout Review: American Social

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Amso togo exterior

There were a couple of nice surprises with my takeout at American Social, the still-new sports bar and restaurant on Sand Lake Road.

The first surprise was a 20 percent discount for picking the order up at curbside and not having it delivered through a third party app service. As you may – and should – know, most of the gig delivery operations take 30 percent of the restaurant’s billing. So it’s nice that AmSo shares some of that savings with the customers.

Takeout Review: Taverna Opa and Tapa Toro

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Tapa takeout pickup

Two of my favorite International Drive restaurants, Taverna Opa and Tapa Toro have reopened after being closed a month and are offering curbside pickup from the menus of both restaurants out of the Tapa Toro space.

That’s good news to anyone who can’t decide between Greek and Spanish – now you can have both.

I placed a phone order as soon as I heard the restaurants were back open. I requested an appetizer of Spanish Tortilla from the Tapa menu and entrees of Kleftiko and Pastitsio from Taverna’s menu.

Tapa Toro is located at Icon Park, under the Ferris wheel. A table and tent has been set up near the driveway in the center of the complex, within view of the restaurant but far enough away as to discourage anyone from going inside. So customers just need to pull up to the tent, call inside and let them know you’re there for your order. When it’s ready, someone will bring it out to you. And if you do as I did and authorize payment with gratuity on your credit card in advance, the server can just place the order in the trunk and you’re good to go, contact free.

Takeout Review: Tamale Co.

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Tamale takeout truck

Some of the more enterprising restaurants aren’t just sitting by the phone waiting for takeout orders to come in. Instead, facing the prospect of going out of business, they are going out for business, targeting neighborhoods and turning takeout to bring-in cuisine.

4 Rivers Smokehouse is doing that. On the Saturday before Easter, the popular barbecuerie set up a van and tent in downtown Orlando’s Bel Air neighborhood where residents could pick up preordered dinner packages. It turned out to be a big hit with the neighbors.

And because the people who organized the pickup with 4 Rivers also invited the next-door neighborhood of Lancaster Park to participate, Lancaster Park returned the favor the following week when it arranged preordered pickups with the Tamale Co. Never mind that the rendezvous site in Lancaster was almost as close as Tamale Co.’s restaurant in the Hourglass District; it was a nice gesture nonetheless.

And I was happy to participate.

Takeout Review: Zaza New Cuban Diner

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Zaza togo replate

Zaza New Cuban Diner has set up a nifty online ordering system for effortless and contactless takeout, at least to a point, but we’ll come back to that.

Zaza has four locations – Curry Ford Road, Waterford Lakes, Altamonte Springs and Lake Mary – so it’s a good choice for a large audience. And if you’ve tried Zaza before, you know that the food is good.