There’s no shortage of charm!
Most of my dining adventures have one thing in common, Adam. It would seem that our favorite dates involve food, and lots of it. We’ve both lived in Orlando almost all of our lives, and we jump at any chance we get to sample new food fare.
There are so many new, well reviewed restaurants in O-town these days. I have several on my list to try. After reviewing, The Smiling Bison last time we had to select a new Orlando restaurant, we decided to venture to Scratch in Winter Park for this excursion.
I was worried we wouldn’t get seated, as I’d called ahead and reached a recording that stated that the restaurant did not accept reservations. We went out on a Thursday-pretty heavy night for trying to squeeze in someplace new, but we were early enough at 6:30 to get a table.
The first thing I noticed was the very cute ambiance; a kind of French bistro meets industrial butcher shop aesthetic. The place was cozy with soft lighting and I found myself taking mental notes that I’d love to be there on a colder, perhaps rainy night. The next thing I noticed was that there was not a full bar, but beer and wine only. Sometimes, this is a deal breaker, but not usually.
Our server was a young woman who was very friendly, and who advised us that all portions were tapas portions and that they generally recommend between 3-5 dishes per couple. I ordered a glass of the domaine de gournier / viognier , and we began to look over the menu. I will not lie, it was becoming clear that it would be difficult to narrow our selection down to only 5 items.
There were two young girls sitting next to us, and I noticed that one had received her beverage, a beer, and the other was told that her moscato was being chilled and that it would arrive shortly. I received my wine before she did, and mine too seemed to require chilling as it was room temperature and not quite what I was expecting.
We ordered the Breads and Butters (artisan bread & ever changing compound butter), Roasted Mission Figs (benton’s country ham, fig balsamic, raw honey, thyme, goat’s milk ricotta), Grilled Loup de Mer (mediterranean sea bass, citrus thyme marinade, potato & fennel hash, “beer” blanc), and the Sweet Corn Risotto (huitlacoche, preserved mushrooms, summer truffles).
The bread and butter came out first and it was, delicious. There were two butters, one with a caramelized fennel and the other a roasted garlic and walnut. Next, we were given the sea bass which did not disappoint. Eye rolling was involved and I would highly recommend this dish. The portion was ample for the two of us to share and the server was kind enough to offer an extra basket of bread to soak up the “beurre blanc” which was very very yummy. The figs were good, nothing crazy (note-I did roast some of my own this evening at home and they were fine). The ricotta was a nice accompaniment to the sweetness of the figs. Lastly, we were delivered the Sweet Corn Risotto which, while a little too soupy for my taste, was absolutely delicious. I absolutely loved the earthiness.
Sea Bass and Risotto
Ultimately, the food was good and the atmosphere and service were pleasant. We skipped out on desert-oh don’t get me wrong, we got some at the movies-and were very pleasantly surprised by our check. Now, Adam only drank water and I had 1 glass of wine compared to my normal 2 (those of you who know me are laughing at that statement), but the bill was pretty much half of what we are normally used to spending on a comparable meal. I will definitely revisit this little jewel again, possibly with a small group of friends to test the ease of the tapas style with a larger group, and I do recommend you give it a try.
Ambiance-5 out of 5 Sporks
Service-4 out of 5 Sporks
Food-4 out of 5 Sporks
Drinks-2 out of 5 Sporks
Total-3.75 out of 5 Sporks
1 Spork=you’ll want to eradicate the experience from memory, 2 Sporks=if you don’t like food, you might like this, 3 Sporks=take your friends, maybe this time you’ll keep them, 4 Sporks=take a date, a date you want to end tomorrow, 5 Sporks=you can die now, you have achieved your bliss (not granted lightly).