Written By Scott Joseph On September 21, 2023


The back of a staffer’s t-shirt at Toojay’s – the only t-shirt that didn’t have “Oy Vey” on it – read, “Is this where Harry met Sally?”

The short answer is no, it isn’t.

That’s also the long answer.

But then there are few places like Katz’s Deli, the Lower East Side restaurant where a memorable scene from the 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally…” was filmed. (And for the record, Harry and Sally did not meet at Katz’s, either, but let’s not get picky.)

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Dinner Party Redux: A vertically progressive dinner at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek

Written By Scott Joseph On September 14, 2023

JWDinnerParty terrace sunset

The staff of JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek does not do things halfway. I knew that already from previous visits to the upscale resort and its restaurants, but it was reinforced at the recent Scott Joseph’s Dinner Party (formerly Supper Club), our first vertically progressive dinner.

The dinner was nearly a year in planning, involving three of the hotel’s dining venues, as well as a portable station set up for the reception, and it took precision timing designed so that we could enjoy the food and service while still moving things along with the goal of having us to the final stop – the rooftop lounge illume – in time to watch the fireworks at Epcot.

Not only did the evening go off hitchless, the JWOBC team exceeded expectations with stellar service, exceptional food and a few surprises, including a gift bag at the end of the evening. 

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Thai Super Bowl

Written By Scott Joseph On September 7, 2023

Thai Super Bowl counter

My heart sank a bit as I approached the counter of Thai Super Bowl, a street-food-style restaurant inside the Lotte Market on West Colonial Drive. I got there ahead of the published closing time of 7:30 p.m., but there was already a sign on the counter that read, “Sorry, we’re closed.”

The woman behind the register must have noticed my crestfallen expression and maybe was moved by the tear developing in the corner of my eye. She slowly reached for the sign and slipped it back under the counter. Yay, I could order.

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Papa Lozzi Italia

Written By Scott Joseph On September 5, 2023

Papa Lozzi Italia exterior

The first time I visited Papa Lozzi Italia, a little over two years ago, the restaurant scene was just starting to find its new footing. So was I. After an extended period of doing reviews mostly on takeout food, inside dining was beginning to be less fraught.

In those days, restaurants were putting plexiglass dividers between tables to help people feel more comfortable and separated. Papa Lozzi was the first one I saw that hadn’t just slap-dashed in place. Someone here took the time to notch them so that they looked like they were part of the original design.

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Black Magic Pizza

Written By Scott Joseph On August 31, 2023

Black Magic Pizza exterior

The About Us section of Black Magic Pizza’s website reads, “At Black Magic Pizza our mission is to provide quality hand tossed New-Neapolitan pizzas in a unique space that is accepting to all.” 

The space is certainly different – it’s in the corner of Whiskey Lou’s Lounge in the Milk District –  though the “Stop! Do not enter” sign on the door refutes the claim of acceptance. But that door is only for employees. Customers are welcome at walkup window. However, shortly before 5:30 p.m. on a recent Sunday, anyone show stepped up there was greeted by another sign: Completely Sold Out! (It closes at 6 p.m. on Sundays, so it wasn’t as if they ran out of food too early.)

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Cafe-Boutique Piano

Written By Scott Joseph On August 24, 2023

Cafe boutique piano

I thought there’d be more piano. Or even some piano.

I mean, the place is called Cafe-Boutique Piano, so I don’t think my expectations were unwarranted. Granted, I dined fairly early in the evening at the Hannibal Square restaurant that opened last year, and midweek when live music in restaurants is scarce. But the decor sports a player piano in one corner, so it’s not like they’d have to hire a musician.

With a fairly small dining room, it certainly is boutiquey, though I have to say I don’t know why the name has the strangely placed hyphen.

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Mongolorian BBQ

Written By Scott Joseph On August 17, 2023

Mongolorian sign

 Mongolian barbecue isn’t new to Central Florida, many others have offered it, but with little success. I remember one place that had diners go through a buffet line of raw ingredients, including beef and chicken, and fill up plastic bowls to hand to a cook who manned a large, round cooking grill hanging over a fire source. The cook would dump all the ingredients onto the grill and stir fry them in front of the guest, then hand them back in a bowl (different one from the raw-ingredient bowl).

It’s a bit different at the Mongolorian BBQ, a long-anticipated restaurant from the owners of Chi-Kin and Poke Hana that finally opened on Colonial Drive’s Mills 50 District. You can still pick your own ingredients, if you want, and watch them being cooked, though now they’re stir fried in on of several specialized vessels behind the counter.

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Written By Scott Joseph On August 15, 2023


You want to know what’s the worst thing for a restaurant critic? It’s a mediocre restaurant. The extremes are easy. Give me a great restaurant, one with terrific food, great service and the right atmosphere and I can write about it for days.

Or give me the opposite, a place where nothing works – terrible food, untrained and clueless servers and uncomfortable surroundings – and the review practically writes itself.

But a place in the middle? There’s not a whole lot to say.

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Gochi Japanese Kitchen

Written By Scott Joseph On August 3, 2023

Gochi Japanese Kitchen Winter Garden exterior

When we think about restaurants in Winter Garden we immediately think of Plant Street and the downtown area. And by we I mean me.

That’s very short-sighted, I agree. And I’m bound to expand my thinking after a very pleasant lunch at Gochi Japanese Kitchen, which indeed has a Winter Garden address but resides on Colonial Drive.

It occupies a surprisingly large space in the Winter Garden Regional Shopping Center. It doesn’t open until noon, and while I was waiting for the doors to be unlocked, I watched a man come out and sweep the sidewalk in front, even though it really didn’t look like it needed it. A few moments later I was seated inside and that same man turned out to be our server. (And a gracious and competent one at that.)

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Written By Scott Joseph On August 1, 2023

DoveCote Orlando dining room

I hadn’t been to DoveCote since it underwent major ownership and chef changes, so I figured it was time to stop back in.

I published my first review of DoveCote seven years ago this month. The restaurant debuted in July of 2016, the newest tenant in what was then known as the Bank of America building in the space that for many years had been the popular Harvey’s Bistro. (Harvey’s closed in 2009 and a couple of short-lived concepts had a go at the location before DoveCote took over.)

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