The owners of a new Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Orlando named it Le House because they wanted customers to feel as if they were dining at their home. I can’t attest to that authenticity, but I can say that I certainly felt welcomed and accommodated on my visit, even if I wasn’t offered the guest room.
The menu here is more succinct than at other Vietnamese restaurants. Pho is available, as it must be at all local Vietnamese restaurants, apparently by law. But Le House’s menu has a manageable 10 entries instead of the three or four dozen you might be asked to negotiate elsewhere.
Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City has been around for more than 114 years, longer than any other restaurant in Florida. The menu features an item called the 1905 Salad to commemorate the year it opened. Actually, when the restaurant was anticipating celebrating its centennial in 2005, the owners found documentation that it had really opened in 1902, but they decided to stick with the 1905 date. There would be the whole salad problem to deal with, after all.
A restaurant has to be doing something right to last that long. But if my recent experience is indicative of the way the restaurant operates now, it may not see another anniversary. It has a whole lot more problems than a misnamed salad.
If you’ve been to Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar, you’ve probably had the Pappardelle alle Cinque Terra. Or maybe you just looked longingly at a nearby table where it was served.
The dish is a creation of owner Rocco Potami, and in this edition of Compliments of the Chef, he demonstrates how the dish can be easily accomplished. If you can, be sure to get fresh pappardelle, but the dried variety will do just fine.
Look for the Baldwin Park location of Manny’s Original Chop House to close sometime in July or August and, after a 30 day or so redo, reopen as a more upscale steakhouse. It’ll still be under the same ownership — sorry to get your hopes up — but I assume they’ll get rid of the “Pump Boys and Dinettes” decor. The new name hasn’t been finalized yet but it will be similar. Manny’s Unoriginal Chop House?
The people who own the Chai Thai restaurants will open Mai Thai in the former Artisan’s Table space on Pine Street in downtown Orlando. I told you that Artisan’s Table moved to 55 W. Church St., right? I wonder if the new tenants asked Artisan’s why they wanted to move. Or the Black Olive. Or Pine 22. Or Blue Smoke Burgers.
Pulitzer Prize winner Gilbert King will be the featured artist at the 12th annual Reading Between the Wines event on Wednesday, April 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Orlando Science Center. The popular event is a fundraiser for the Adult Literacy League, which helps people 18 years and older to learn reading, writing, math and other basic skills in order to gain employment.
The event includes a walkabout food and wine tasting featuring area restaurants and wine vendors, as well as a silent auction. Among the restaurants that will be participating this year are Swine & Sons Provisions; 4Rivers Cantina Barbacoa; Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant; and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen.