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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On June 27, 2019

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News from the Flog  

Recent Restaurant Reviews

Shula’s Steak House

Shula room

Shula’s Steak House made quite an impression when it first opened at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in late 1995. High-end steakhouses featuring huge hunks of USDA prime meat were, um, rare. Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, which was originally known as Del Frisco’s, was a couple of years old. But Morton’s — then called Morton’s of Chicago — wouldn’t open an Orlando location until 1996, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House didn’t enter the area until 2000.

I liked Shula’s immediately. It was classy, service was first rate, and the food, though pricey, was excellent. In 2000, I even awarded it my Critic’s Choice Foodie Award for Best Restaurant Overall.

 

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Chefs de France

Chefs de France placesetting

I took advantage of a complimentary day at Epcot recently to pay a return visit to Chefs de France, the big brasserie on the first level of the France pavilion. True, the upstairs bistro, Monsieur Paul, offers a more sedate dining experience, at least relatively so, but Chefs de France can be as equally enjoyable, as was the case on my latest visit.

My companion ducked into the restaurant just ahead of a massive downpour and were shown to a table by the window where we could watch the crowds scurry.

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 Other Stuff

Supper Club at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster will feature wines of Chalk Hill Estate

Christners Logo FINAL 1 copy

If you’ve been reading my reviews for the past three decades, you’ll know that I’m a fan of Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, which just celebrated its 26th anniversary. My most recent review solidified my fondness for this restaurant.

So I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be hosting a special Supper Club with Christner’s featuring the wines of Chalk Hill Estate. The Sonoma County vintner is another favorite of mine.

The dinner is 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at the restaurant, 729 Lee Road, Orlando. Cost is $145 per person, which includes tax and gratuity, a bargain even before you start to add in the wine pairings. Call the restaurant at 407-645-4443 for reservations.

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2nd Annual Sous Chef Challenge is Sept. 15

Sous Chef Challenge 2019

In the hierarchy of the professional kitchen, it’s the executive chef and chef de cuisine at the top. But often running the show, especially when the top chef is absent, is the sous chef. If you’re a sous, this event is for you.

The second annual Scott Joseph’s Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing, part of the ACF Central Florida Chapter’s Culinary Arts Competitions, will be held Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, as part of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention Center.

The event allows the region’s sous chefs to step to the front and demonstrate their culinary creativity. They’re challenged with coming up with “the next big thing” — the dish, ingredient or preparation that might become a trend. And for each sous to show why he or she is the chef to present it.

The winner selected by the judges will be awarded a prize of $1000.

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Explore Central Florida’s unique dining venues with author Kendra Lott

Lott with bookPhoto by Lucy Hill

Correction: An earlier version of this article had an incorrect date for the book signing at Buttermilk Bakery. It is July 28, not June 28.

Too often, restaurant guides are just glorified directories, lists that offer little more information than you can get from the Yellow Pages. (You remember the Yellow Pages, don’t you?) I should know, I’ve participated in some of those publications, including a couple of Zagat Surveys.

But Kendra Lott, publisher of Edible Orlando, has produced a guide that goes beyond mere cross-referenced listings with her recently released book, “Unique Eats and Eateries of Orlando” (208 pp. Reedy Press. $20.95). 

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Compliments of the Chef: Scallops Agrodolce from Fiorenzo Italian Kitchen

Scallops Agrodolce

When I returned recently to the newly renovated Fiorenzo at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, one of my favorite dishes was the Scallops Agrodolce. Chef Jared Gross uses huge scallops and tops them with an agrodolce sauce — agrodolce is Italian for sour and sweet — and serves them on a frissee salad. It’s a light appetizer, and it’s perfect for a hot summer day.

I asked Gross to share the recipe, which he was happy to do. In this segment of Compliments of the Chef, he shows you some cooking tips so you can try the recipe yourself. Or head to the Hyatt Regency Orlando and he’ll cook up a batch for you.

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