I’m not at all sure what the name Provisions & Buzz Co. means. I mean, I get the Provisions part in that it refers to food and drink. I’m not sure about the Buzz.
It might have something to do with bees. There are little icons that look like bees next to some menu items to indicate a house specialty. Or is it meant to be the kind of buzz that refers to people talking about something, i.e. “There’s a lot of buzz about that new restaurant.” Or it is also a reference to food and drink but in this case just the drink, as in “That Old Fashioned gave me a nice buzz.”
I’m going to go with the bee theory, though I don’t know why. It doesn’t seem to fit into any kind of theme presented in the menu. But then, neither does anything else. There’s a quesadilla here, a pork shank there, and a couple of Asian style items in between. (The menu is under the direction of chef Josh Spisak.)
But all that said, I must hasten to add that Provisions & Buzz Co. is a better restaurant than any of those that preceded it in this troubled location. Most recently it was Jack’s Steakhouse, but it has also been a place called Baldwin Steakhouse and a perfectly awful restaurant with a perfectly awful name called Fresh Mouth. I’d actually managed to sweep that one from my memory. I’m pretty sure it was something before that, too. During a meal at one of those iterations I witnessed what I’m almost certain was a drug deal “going down,” as they say, between a man and the bartender. And I wasn’t surprised. (The man walked into the restaurant, nodded to the bartender, the two of them went to the men’s room together and emerged 15 second later, so I assume it wasn’t for illicit sex.)
But Provisions & Buzz.
Like I said, it’s a better restaurant, and the food my guest and I sampled there recently was all fine and good.
We started with an appetizer of Shrimp & Calamari, which featured the two foods of the sea in a light tempura batter made less light but tastier with a spicy aioli tinged with honey. (Honey! The bee theory is making sense!) Candied walnuts gilded the lily somewhat, but I enjoyed the dish as a starter.
The Sage Gnocchi would have made a better side dish than appetizer. The dense dumpling were a bit too filling for a first course, especially with the bits of bacon and brown butter.
For my entree I chose the Crispy Pork Belly Kimchi Bowl, which needs no further description, except to say that it also included a fried egg and some fresh avocado slices. Served over fluffy sushi rice, the pork belly wasn’t the tenderest I’ve ever had.
My companion chose the Seafood Stew, a bouillabaissey sort of offering of mussels, clams, scallops, crab and lobster in a tomato broth. All of the seafood was fine, but the broth was the best part, and I availed of the toasted ciabatta to sop up as much as I could.
The space features a large bar — now drug free, I assume — and a decor that seems a little bit Asian, a little bit African. Just like the name, I can’t quite figure out what they were going for.
Provisions & Buzz Co. is at 4868 New Broad St., Orlando. It is open for dinner daily and for Sunday brunch. The phone number is 407-896-2688.