The elixirs at Pharmacy are strictly medicinal. Or at least that’s the winking assertion of this new restaurant and bar from the same people who last year brought us The Table Orlando.
Tyler Brassil and Loren Falsone oversee the kitchen while Dominick Tardugno handles the compounding of the tonics and such.
Yes, it’s a speakeasy environment, a drinking establishment disguised as an apothecary. Well, not really. The pharmaceutical theme isn’t carried through (thankfully), so there are no shelves of pills and salves, and the servers aren’t scampering around in white tunics. That would get old real fast.
There isn’t anything silly about the food or the drink. It’s all taken quite seriously, and all done well, for the most part.
Pharmacy even goes so far as to make its own bitters, sodas and tonics to use in the drinks, and you may find that the drink you order is served in a small glass bottle, sealed with a bottle cap. The bar menu features many of the old-style classics that are enjoying a rebirth. But it also has a number of inventive prescriptives that are worth tasting. Pharmacy has taken to heart the current trend for fresh ingredients in cocktails, and you can taste it in every sip.
The food menu is simplistic with six actual entrees, but those items represent a good cross-section of tastes, ranging from steak frites to pasta to paella to a cassoulet.
It was the cassoulet that I ordered for my main course. A duck confit leg quarter topped a casserole of navy beans dotted with chunks of sausage. The dish was sprinkled with bread crumbs that took on a toastiness from the baking. The duck meat was sufficiently tender and flavorful, and the beans had a wonderful creaminess.
My friend chose the pizza named “our sausage,” one of three pies listed. The crust was rustic and had a delightful charred edge. It had plenty of cheese and a lovely spiciness in the sauce — looked pretty, too — but I wish they hadn’t been quite so stingy with “their sausage.”
From the list of starters and smaller bites, my favorite was the bowl of Cape Canaveral rock shrimp. Looking like a harder version of cicada shells, the shrimp easily gave up the morsel inside, and the garlicky butter was the perfect grace note to the sweet meat.
I liked most of the roasted beef marrow bones, sourced from Cowart Ranch. The creamy and fatty marrow was delicious when smeared on the sourdough toast points. The oxtail and fig marmalade was superfluous. The only disappointment was that the marrow was not easily harvested from the bones, one of which was completely sealed.
The Hudson Valley foie gras torchon was a bit too cold when served and the flavors had not had a chance to bloom.
The Pharmacy space is small and dominated by the bar area. Decorations are minimal — overhead lighting, such as it is, is provided by white milk-glass “schoolhouse” fixtures, and walls sport large unframed mirrors with tarnished surfaces. One fun touch: the entrance is made to look like elevator doors, a nod to the speakeasy theme.
The place can be quite busy,and reservations are not accepted. The best thing to do is make your way to the bar, order a finely crafted cocktail, and wait for a table to open. You may find the drink is all you really need.
Pharmacy is at 8060 Via Dellagio Way (in the Dellagio Plaza on the far west end), Orlando. It is open for dinner Monday through Saturday. Entree prices range from $14 to $26; my cassoulet was $17; the pizzas are $13. Here is a link to the Pharmacy website, though it is a bit meager as far as information. (For example, there are no links to menus, so click here to download the food menu and here to download the drink menu.) The phone number is 321-837-9463.