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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On May 9, 2019

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News from the Flog  

Recent Restaurant Reviews

Proper & Wild

Proper exterior

There’s probably no better way to begin this review of Proper & Wild than with the owners’ Mission Statement, even though I generally am not a fan of mission statements because they’re so general and ethereal and lacking in specifics that they usually are meaningless.

But I like what Chelsie and Jamie Savage have to say here: “We believe community matters, food matters, and health matters, so we make damn good food that’s good for you, and we hold the space for Central Florida to come together and enjoy it.”

It still isn’t very specific in details, but the “damn good food” pretty much gets to the heart of what they’re doing with this Winter Park restaurant.

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Simply Gyros

 Simply Gyros exterior

Restaurateur Sunny Corda, whose current brands include Rasa, Southern Spice, saffron and Mynt, is stepping out of his Indian milieu and dabbling in a bit of Greek with Simply Gyros.

Located next door to Rasa, on Restaurant Row, SG is a fast-food style outlet for everyone’s favorite Mediterranean sandwich.

As the name suggests, the menu is straightforward and focuses on gyros. However, if your concept of a gyro is lamb and beef sliced from a vertical tower of meat that continually spins on a rotisserie, you should know that here a falafel sandwich is also considered a gyro. So is chicken, though in both cases I would classify them as shawarmas or doners. But far be if from me to be difficult about a place called Simply Gyros.

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Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton closing

Normans Entrance

Norman’s, the fine dining restaurant from Florida’s celebrity chef Norman Van Aken at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Resort, will close this summer after 16 years. The final day of service will be Sept. 1

In a statement, Alissa Perez, director of public relations for Grande Lakes, said, “Norman’s was and will remain an incredible chapter in the story of our business and we are proud of what the team has accomplished since our relationship began in 2003.”


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Beard Foundation announces 2019 award winners


Well, at least it wasn’t a chef from New Orleans, for a change.

The James Beard Foundation handed out its awards for culinary excellence Monday evening in a black-tie ceremony held in Chicago.

Frenchette, New York City, was named Best New Restaurant and the title for Outstanding Restaurant went to Philadelphia’s Zahav, an Israeli restaurant. Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina, took the Outstanding Chef award. Kelly Fields of Willa Jean in New Orleans is the 2019 Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Orlando had had a semifinalist in the pastry chef category, a national award. Rabii Saber of the Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World Resort was a first-time nominee in that category.

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Other Stuff

Compliments of the Chef: “Old Fashioned” Duck Sliders from The Whiskey

Whiskey Duck Sliders

Chastity Harvey, the executive chef at The Whiskey, has found a fun way to work some of the restaurant’s namesake into a duck and chorizo slider she features.

She takes the ingredients that would go into a traditional Old Fashioned cocktail and new-fashions an aioli with them. Add some arugula, marinated tomatoes and a smear of brie and you’ve got a great slider.

Mix yourself an Old Fashioned and watch the video as Harvey explains the process, then give the recipe below a try.

Just don’t drink the aioli.


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Bullet Point Buffet: No weak links

Steer interior

  • Watch for The Steer Steakhouse to open in a couple of weeks in the former Bauern-Stube space on South Orange Avenue. As you can see in the photo above (courtesy of Alan Herrington, who also did the redo), the place is looking pretty good. Just getting all of the German kitsch out of the building, which began its life as a Pizza Hut hut, must have been a chore. The restaurant is from Herrington’s brother Jay, who also owns Fish On Fire.
  • Speaking of The Steer, there’s still no word on when Bovine, the steakhouse that will occupy the former Park Plaza Gardens space, will open. But yes, the owner is sticking with that name.
  • Our friends at Big Fin Seafood Kitchen are hosting a Happy Hour with street food flare, Sunday, May 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased here. You can also see the menu at that link. Just go back and click on it, I’m not putting another link here.

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