I took the occasion of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month to revisit Urbain 40, which recently changed chefs. I needn’t have waited because I ended up setting the MagDinMo menu aside and ordering from the regular menu anyway.
Urbain 40 opened in late 2015 at the Dellagio plaza on Restaurant Row. Despite some issues with service, I liked the restaurant very much, especially the decor and atmosphere, which is classic French brasserie on a par with Bofinger or Le Procope in Paris, and the food, which was under the direction of French native Jean-Stephane Poinard. Poinard’s menu reflected his Central France and Lyon upbringing, classic French fare.
But Urbain 40 and Poinard parted ways.
Just a few months after Urbain 40 opened, Tim Keating and Flying Fish Cafe also parted ways when the Disney restaurant closed for the months-long renovations that would rename it Flying Fish.
Keating is now overseeing Urbain 40 and has instituted a menu that is less classically French and more reflective of an American brasserie (which he told me was always the direction the restaurant had meant to go).
The restaurant still has one of the classiest ambiences in town — the view of the grand fountain in the complex’s courtyard from Urbain’s main dining room is as stunning as ever. Unfortunately, the training the staff so sorely needed when I first reviewed the restaurant has still not taken place, apparently.
The food is fine. The best of what I tasted was the Slow-braised Pork Shank, a sizable and tender hock served on a ploof of pureed potatoes with haricots verts and carrots.
I also liked the Crispy Jonah Crab Cakes, once they could be found under the haystack of herbs and dousing of sauce verde. The cakes had a decent amount of crab, sweet and flavorful, and a nicely seared texture.
The Bolognese, found under the section of Pasta & Noodles (because this is an American brasserie), lacked much flavor and was much too dry, though the pappardelle was perfect.
Onion soup was overwhelmed by the crouton and the broth was not hot.
The made-in-house desserts offer something for everyone.
I still think Urbain 40 has the ability to be one of the top venues in the Restaurant Row district, possibly in the Central Florida region. But it needs to work first on its service and consistency.
Urbain 40 is at 8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-872-2640