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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On August 8, 2019

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News from the Flog  

Recent Restaurant Reviews

Bull & Bear

BullandBear dining room

While so many fine dining restaurants and high-end steakhouses are pulling back and reconfiguring themselves to be more casual — Shula’s Steakhouse at the Dolphin comes to mind — Bull & Bear maintains its commitment to elegance and high quality. It’s one of the reasons it was voted Best Restaurant Overall in our 2018 Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

The restaurant opened almost exactly 10 years ago, in September 2009, in what was then the first Waldorf Astoria outside of Manhattan, and it was named for the iconic steakhouse located inside the original hotel. Other Waldorf Astorias have opened since, but none has a restaurant called Bull & Bear. And with the original Waldorf Astoria closed for renovations, the restaurants along with it, Orlando’s is now the only Bull & Bear. Word is that when the New York Waldorf reopens as a combination hotel and condominium complex, Bull & Bear may not reopen with it. So the Orlando restaurant truly does offer a unique dining experience.

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Z Asian Vietnamese Kitchen

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Z Aisan Vietnamese Kitchen is one of the latest to join the Mills 50 lineup of eateries in what is historically the center of the city’s Asian community. For a long time, each new Vietnamese restaurant that opened in the area seemed no different than those that had come before. The menus were the same, which is to say voluminous and repetitive, and even the decors seemed cookie cutter and stereotypical.

But that’s started to change in the past few years. Menus are more thoughtful and aren’t intent on presenting every possible combination of ingredients. And even the restaurants themselves seem more modern and up to date.

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New Location for Norman’s Announced

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The owners of Norman’s, the elegant restaurant in its final days as a tenant at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, announced Saturday evening that it will relocate to Restaurant Row. The Norman Van Aken headed concept will move into the space formerly occupied by Bravo! Cucina Italiano at the Dellagio Plaza.

The announcement was made at a “Movin’ on Out” dinner at Norman’s that was prepared by visiting and local celebrity chefs. According to an attendee of the dinner, partner Thomas Wood announced the move and said, “It’s going to be the most extravagant restaurant in Orlando because we have something to prove.”

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Delaney’s Tavern Poised to Open in SoDo


Hey, remember when Doc’s Streetside Grille closed? Well, do you even remember Doc’s?

If so, do you remember when plans were announced that the group of buildings where Doc’s was located would be rehabbed into a boutique hotel with a ground-floor restaurant called Delaney’s Tavern, all to open in 12 to 14 months?

You’re forgiven if you don’t recall any of that because I first told you about it at the beginning of 2016.

But my how time flies, and the hotel and restaurant are now poised to open, perhaps — just perhaps — around Labor Day. (Yes, this year.)

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Other Stuff

Tasting Table: Jaleo by José Andrés

Tasting Table is a collaboration between WFTV-Channel 9’s icFlorida.com and Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide. More videos are available via the WFTV Now app for Apple TV, Roku and other streaming devices.

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In this episode of the Tasting Table, Scott visits Jaleo and gets a culinary tour of the Disney Springs restaurant from executive chef Rodolfo Guzman.

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Bullet (Exclamation) Point Buffet

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  • Lighthouse Central Floria and Lighthouse Works will be partnering with local restaurants and beverage outlets to host the Lighthouse Sensory Series of blindfold tastings. The first is Wed., Aug. 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Digress Wine in College Park with a multi-flight wine tasting. Then on Aug. 21, Soco Thornton Park will offer a blindfold tasting of bourbons. The series is designed to offer a look, if you will, into Lighthouse’s mission to aid children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. A portion of the proceeds from the tastings will benefit Lighthouse. Click here for more details on the Sensory Series and to purchase tickets.
  • Chicken Guy!, the Disney Springs quick-serve collaboration between Guy Fieri and Robert Earl, was recognized at The Shop! Association Annual Store Design Awards at the GlobalShop Conference in Chicago. Acutally, it was the restaurant’s designer, Architecture Plus International, Inc., that won the Gold Fast Casual Restaurant + Graphics award for “the use of space and materials, and quality of concept execution.” Or maybe that should be execution!

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Matchbook Memories: Le Cordon Bleu

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Matchbook Memories is an occasional series or restaurant remembrances based on matchbooks picked up at host stands from around the world, and especially Central Florida.

The building that now houses Ravenous Pig, and before that its sister restaurant Cask & Larder, for many years was home to what many considered to be one of the area’s swankiest restaurants: Le Cordon Bleu.


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