Boston’s Fish House and I both made our Orlando debuts in the same year, 1988. The restaurant opened in February and I rode in to town in May. We didn’t meet each other until that November, but it was instant love, at least for me.
As someone who had moved to Florida from the desert Southwest, I expected that every other restaurant I would be reviewing in my new job at the Orlando Sentinel would specialize in seafood. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It may seem odd now (actually, it seemed odd then) but despite Central Florida’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean their bounties made it into few of its restaurants. Instead, fish offloaded onto local docks were immediately boxed and sent flying to other parts of the country to restaurateurs who appreciated fresh seafood.
What made this doubly ironic was that it took a family from Massachusetts to move to town to demonstrate that Central Floridians do indeed appreciate good seafood. Want triple irony? The family was flying in its seafood from New England.
Black Rooster Taqueria, the popular Mills 50 restaurant, opened its second location, in the Curry Ford West District, last November, and when I visited it in late December I found that it wasn’t quite up to the standards of the original. Opening in a pandemic, supply-chain issues, staffing problems – who knows? Whatever the issues were back then seem to have been overcome or corrected, and based on a recent revisit, the Curry Ford West Rooster is proving itself to be a fine addition to the area.