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The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park -- great new place!

Based on a Chowhound recommendation, my girlfriend and I went to The Ravenous Pig last night, an amazing new "gastropub" that has only been open for about a week. She treated me because she is the best girlfriend ever! Anyway, they are located on Orange Avenue right off Orlando (aka 17-92 or Mills Avenue). It's a beautiful room with a brick wall and warm decor, friendly and helpful waitstaff, and an inspired menu. We loved it, and we definitely intend to go back. This place is a foodie/Chowhound paradise!

The menus change seasonally (and often daily), but you can get an idea of their offerings from the menu on their website, http://www.theravenouspig.com/ . They started us out with these amazing fresh-baked gruyere biscuits that were wonderfully crispy and soft and cheesy, and melted in our mouths. After that, we went with an appetizer of lamb mezze off their separate pub menu, perfectly-seasoned Greek-style lamb meatballs and tender ribs, with cool tzaziki sauce and tomato relish. If the lamb mezze came in a larger portion, I could happily have made a meal just out of these.

Our server sold us on an enthusiastic description of the ribeye for two, which must have been a special that night, because I overheard other servers pitching it as well. We like meat, so we went for it and were happy we did. A GIGANTIC piece of ribeye came out, cut into nice thin slices, perfectly medium-rare, juicy and tender and deep rich pink just how we love it. I can't tell you how many so-called steakhouses can't just cook a piece of meat rare or medium-rare, but The Ravenous Pig put them to shame. The peppery, crispy crust on the outside was great too, and our meals came with fingerling potatoes, a tasty bitter green (possibly endive? I should have made a note of it), a delicious tomato tart with caramelized onions, and bechamel sauce for dipping. The steak, being in the Top Two steaks I've ever eaten in my lifetime (the other being from Del Frisco's), didn't even need the bechamel sauce, but it was nice with the potatoes and greens.

Neither of us were feeling well so we didn't linger for dessert, but the desserts listed on the menu look pretty damn good too. This is a great place, and I can't recommend it highly enough. They have a huge selection of wines and several interesting microbrewed beers on tap -- we don't drink anymore, but I know good beer when I see it! It would be great as a place to bring a date or a family, or even to have a few beers with the guys while enjoying some gourmet (but still manly) food. I can only imagine how awesome their burger is, but you probably can't go wrong with anything.

Starting next Saturday, October 20th, The Ravenous Pig will be doing whole suckling pig roasts behind the restaurant every Saturday from noon to 4 PM, and that should be an amazing experience once the weather starts getting cooler. Check it out soon!

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  1. Sounds great Lou. Your post always seem to be on so i am looking forward to trying this place out.

    Are they doing the pig in a smoker or do they have some deep pit dug out back?

    1 Reply
    1. re: theflytyr

      We didn't go back there to look, but all it says on the website is

      "On Saturdays from 12:00-4:00, $15 buys you admission, an up-close view of roasting action, a heaping plate of piggy and sides plus a pint of one of our fine microbrews (21+ only) or soda. The Roast takes place behind the restaurant with additional seating available in the bar. Our maiden roast is Saturday, October 20--come and be a part of it!

      Check back frequently for more news and events plus pictures of TRP Pig Roast Revelry!"

      Oh, they also have free valet parking, just so you all know. I despise valet parking, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

    2. I cannot wait to go to this place. The next time I am up in MCO...I am so there.

      1. I had the pleasure of eating lunch at The Ravenous Pig yesterday. I had the Farmer salad and the Porchetta Panini. Both were outstanding! The salad had in-house cured bacon that was amazing and real (not the box would have tasted better) croutons. The pork on the Panini was so succulent that I know the pig had to be in love. It was served with fries that came from an actual potato and not some industrial process.

        This place is a definite keeper. Somebody in that kitchen cares.

        Dave

        1. We ate there last night. Impressive all the way around. Two small apps started us off just right. Great sheep's milk cheese, fig jam, pistachios and toast combined for great flavors. The next app, however, proved to be even more flavorful: prosciutto wrapped dates filled with maytag bleu cheese and wildflower honey for dipping. All the entrees sounded excellent. We went with the flat iron steak and grilled chicken, both excellent. I've always avoided chicken in restaurants because it's so hard to make it disntiguished, but they accomplished this. Juicy, flavorful, and memorable, I didn't want to switch plates with my girlfriend, but I'm glad I did. They cooked the steak perfectly and the superb char on the outside induced moans and groans. Brussel sprouts, currants, and ricotta pudding accompanied the chicken. Shoestring fries with truffle salt accompanied the steak. We chose chocolate-hazelnut bread puddding for dessert and, again, were very happy with the choice. Someone at the Ravenous Pig enjoys excellent beer because this is the only restaurant I've been to in Orlando with these beers on tap: White Rascal, Brooklyn Lager, Dogfish Head's 60-Minute IPA, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Blackwater Porter, Monk-in-the-Trunk Belgian Ale. There were two more, but I don't recall what they were. They have an extensive wine list, as well, but this beer guy appreciates the amazing selection of hops and barley. I can't wait to go back.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jdc111

            Definitely off to a great start. I've been 3 times already (planning my fourth trip tonight) and haven't been disappointed in the food quality once. The Snapper entree is absolutely phenomenal, its prepared 'sous vide greek style'. I understand that they are the only ones in the orlando area doing it that way. As mentioned before the Ribeye was excellent and the tomato tarte that comes with it is the reason people go to experts to have their food prepared. They ought to offer the tomato tarte ala carte.... The Ribeye is listed as a dual entree but they told me they have a limited number set aside to serve as single servings. The first three desserts on the menu (tart, bread pudding and Semifreddo) were all first rate. On the pub side they have probably the best bartender (Anderson) in the Orlando area...

            Herbert

          2. We dined at "The Pig" on Friday night and had an amazing dinner. We had an unusually long wait that night--we had a 9PM reservation but weren't seated until after 10PM. Fortunately the manager was extremely kind and apologetic and took great care of us. If it wasn't for him, we probably would have walked out and written the place off (which my husband wanted to do several times but I forced him to wait it out. The reviews had been too good to walk away!). We were glad we stuck it out--the food was fantastic. We had the lobster taco and the lamb mezze to start...we shared the hunter salad...I had the flat iron steak and my husband had the scallops...and for dessert we had the piggy tails. Everything was amazing. Our server was even kind enough to bring me a side of the tomato tart (since the rib eye was sold out). I was worried the place might not live up to the chowhound hype--but it did!

            We will definitely go back--just a little bit earlier next time. We were pretty annoyed that night about our wait, but I can think of worse things than sitting at the bar having a drink with my husband. Like I said, the manager took good care of us and tried to make right of an unfortunate situation. He even went out of his way to approach us as we left to apologize again. He really is a huge asset to the restaurant and knows how to keep his customers happy.

            Oh, a couple of things to note--the rib eye is now an entree for one. Our server said it was so popular that they decided to make it a single serving entree. Also, on Saturday morning I got a mass email from the restaurant saying that they were no longer taking reservations--it is walk-in only from now on. I'm guessing we weren't the only ones waiting over an hour for a table on Friday night!

            I highly suggest giving this place a try!

            4 Replies
            1. re: mish

              We got there pretty early when I went on Saturday the 13th (5:45 or so), and there was no wait at all. However, I'd expect waits to get longer as the great word of mouth continues. Unlike most of the big "casual dining" chains with their blinking beepers, some things are worth waiting for.

              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                The good word is definitely out because the place was mobbed on Friday night.

                You're very right--it was worth the wait!

                1. re: mish

                  Im a cook at TRP, and its been a great start. Thanks to everyone who came by to eat or drink. We will continue doing our part to bring the best food possible. The word is out so please be patient!

                  TRP

              2. re: mish

                I just got another mass email from the restaurant saying that they changed their mind and they WILL be taking reservations again.

              3. The "pig" is spectacular! My New fav in town! when you have the oppurtunity and the appetite , go back just for a dessert "flight" worth every calorie I promise! Your girlfriend deserves it for treating you so well by bringing you there for dinner! Enjoy every bite

                1. we went to the ravenous pig for lunch yesterday (thursday) and the food was delicious. DH had the open-faced blt with homemade bacon and aioli dressing, I had chilled red pepper soup and the lamb mezze. They said the riblets weren't up to scratch so they gave me four meatballs instead. Deliciously tender, perfectly-cooked little balls of deliciousness, especially dipped into the yoghurt sauce. I thought I'd still be starving after such a light meal but it was just enough to satisfy my tastebuds... We would have liked to have a dessert but they were so slow getting back to us we just got the check and went on our way... if we're in the area again we'll certainly go back for an encore.

                  1. Hello. I just had dinner there yesterday and was very pleased by everything. You can tell that they're really working hard to make sure there's repeat business. Everybody was incredibly friendly and really did try to make our dining experience memorable. Unfortunately, we were in Orlando for business and won't have the opportunity to dine there very often. But if we lived here, it probably would be one of our regular restaurants.

                    We first ordered some dates with blue cheese and bacon from the pub menu. Absolutely delicious! Similar to Suzanne Goin's bacon wrapped dates except blue cheese was substituted for the parmesan. Then they brought out some biscuits with butter and smoked salt. While the smoked salt butter was interesting, I didn't think the biscuits needed it as they were quite buttery enough. But a nice change of pace from the usual bread and butter. DH ordered the quail and in-house sausage. The sausage was one of the best ones I've tasted. Good amount of spice and really well prepared. I had the shrimp and grits which was very delicious as well. I was really surprised to see that the baby shrimps were not overcooked. I was impressed. For our mains, I ordered the scallops with parsnip puree and DH ordered the roasted suckling pig with rye gnocchi. The scallops were very good, although I would have preferred more of a sear. They were on top of a bed of some bitter greens which went very well with the dish. The suckling pig was great as well. DH wasn't too crazy about the rye gnocchi, but I thought it was very interesting. He likes his gnocchi more fluffy, but I appreciated its mochi-like quality. We were so full but wanted to order dessert as we were curious as to how they would do dessert. I ordered the chocolate hazelnut bread pudding and DH ordered the pig tails. The bread pudding was amazing, and went very well with the caramel ice cream. For some reason, I just kept wishing it was salted caramel ice cream as I'm a sucker for that. The pig tails were basically churros and hot chocolate. DH said the tails were better than regular churros as they were lighter.

                    Overall, a really solid dining experience. We thought the prices were also very reasonable -- but we're from New York and used to paying twice the amount for mediocre food. I think their Winter Park location will preclude them of having a tourist clientele. We were staying in Maitland which made it very easy for us to go there. They really do need a repeat local business, and it would be such a shame to see a restaurant of this caliber close (as I've seen it numerous times). The restaurant business is tough -- my husband's family used to be in the restaurant business. But I think they're doing everything correctly to see that it stays. I hope it does. I really want to see them succeed.

                    1. Finally got out to the Pig with my wife on Saturday night, October 27, for dinner. It was outstanding in all respects. Nothing more needs to be said, really, but because I imagine ChefNick and other staff are reading this thread, I will elaborate, in hopes of making a great thing even greater.

                      The Managing Partner, who was working that night, could not have been more warm in his reception or more hands-on in his dining room approach. He has the front of the house locked down tight. I observed several things which showed me that the flawless service we received was a result of careful training and a selective hiring process. All of those efforts were appreciated and made an enormous difference in our dining experience. Well done (speaking of which, I received an over-cooked [but thoroughly delicious] ribeye, and the Managing Partner arrived instantly at our table and made things right).

                      And then, the food and drink: there's even less to say. The gruyere biscuits, the lobster tacos, the ribeye, the "pig tails": perfectly executed. Like another poster said, someone (everyone?) in that kitchen cares and is paying attention to everything sailing off the line (and ensuring nothing sits on it for more than a few seconds). Ingredients, seasoning, preparation, and presentation are all spot-on. The only departure from that high bar the Pig set for itself throughout the meal was my wife's scallops: a cook went a few shakes too many with the salt, and we could only eat them slowly (they were still very good, mind you), and not, um, ravenously, as we did everything else.

                      It's been a long time since I've been so excited to have an establishment of this type (I didn't even mention the beers on tap) and of this caliber so nearby. Congratulations to the staff.

                      Noice

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Noice

                        Wow Noice, not only were we there on the same night, but I had the same problem with my ribeye! I also agree to the genuine amiability of the manager. He even made my second and very rare ribeye go around ( I felt a bit like Goldilocks) a non issue.
                        I was truely impressed by all, especially the wine list and the desserts. I'm thrilled TRP is here and can't wait for my next visit.
                        If anyone is interested:
                        www.katekitchen.blogspot.com

                        1. re: katygirl

                          In your blog you said they had Harris Ranch beef. Holy Bovine! Many, many years ago, I lived about 30 minutes east of Harris Ranch, on the western edge of the San Joaquin valley in central California. This place raises some of the best beef I've ever tasted. I can't for wait my next trip to Orlando so I can sink my teeth into one of their steaks.

                          1. re: bkhuna

                            Flavor wise it really was fantastic!

                          2. re: katygirl

                            Katygirl:

                            Your similar steak experience is very interesting. When the Managing Partner approached our table after the entrees, including my steak, were served, he already knew that my steak was overcooked and essentially offered to bring me a fresh one, promising the kitchen would be working to correct their mistakes (perhaps this was shortly after you sent yours back [we were also seated at 6:00 p.m. that night]). But it was so dadgum (that's right: I said "dadgum") tasty I wouldn't let him take it off the table. Instead, he comped our "pig tails" dessert and the fresh pot of coffee they brought out to us.

                            Bkhuna:

                            Regarding the beef: I don't know which ranch produced that wonderful steak, but I'll have you know one thing: in addition to the hunk of roast pig I will be enjoying during the Chowdown in Honor of Bob Mervine, I will also be ordering a rib eye (also in honor of Bob Mervine). There was so much marbling throughout that beef that when I ate the cold left-overs the morning after, I almost mistook it for a chunk of o-toro!

                            Noice

                            1. re: Noice

                              My dad taught me long ago that if you're going to go to the trouble of cooking your own steak, ribeye is the only way to go, for the intense flavor from the marbling. The ribeye my girl and I ordered at the Pig was easily the best I've ever had in my life, and served at a perfect medium-rare.

                              1. re: Noice

                                I've have it three times so far. Each time cooked to a perfect medium rare. I won't claim its the best ribeye that I have ever had, but it is certainly very good. It has a somewhat unique flavor and I didn't think the steak was particularly marbled, it has some fat around the edges but the steak itself I thought was a little on the lean side. The tomato tarte should be a side order, it is fabulous.

                                Herbert

                          3. Had dinner there this past week. It was packed. The manager told the hostess to tell us there was a 30 min wait, so we had dinner at the bar. I had the roasted cod and my friend had the suckeling pig. Both entrees were cold. The food was average at best.......should have stuck w/ Houston's.

                            1. As if this restaurant needs another review, I thought I would "check-in" with my experience.

                              My husband and I had dinner at The Ravenous Pig on Halloween night. It was great, great, great!

                              Drinks - I had gin and tonic (which is ironic considering my next statement), and my husband had the Blackwater Porter. Thank you for carrying Orlando Brewing so we can support this great local brewery!

                              We started with the grilled dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in proscuitto - I was really skeptical that this dish would work, but the combination of flavors and textures was really fabulous. I think I would include this dish in my last meal, if given the option.

                              The gruyere biscuits were very well executed, and I was excited to see a restaurant actually serve salted butter with their bread service, but I didn't really taste much of the smokiness from the smoked sea salt - maybe they weren't using that on that particular night, but that is what is listed on the website....

                              I also had the Gatherer salad - again, the combination of flavors and textures was really wonderful and well balanced. I got a little bit of a different taste in each bite.

                              For dinner I had the Ribeye and my husband had the flat iron steak (Steak Frites on the menu, I think). I'm not a Ribeye fan, but it was extremely good, and perfectly cooked. Also, I usually think that bearnaise isn't necessary with a good piece of meat, but I understood the application with the ribeye - the bearnaise gave the ribeye just enough acidity to cut the richness of the beef, which kept it from getting overwhelming- and was a nice, velvety contrast to the mouthfeel of the steak. The tomato tart was extremely good. However, I was left wondering if the tart could have been a bit more crisp on the bottom, as the overall texture was a bit soggy (I couldn't figure out if the base was a dough, or sliced potato...). Still, I have never tasted such a wonderful, sweet concentration of tomato and onion flavors in a dish - it was really something new and I appreciate the offering. The other "side" was a mixture of greens and fingerling potatos - which was underseasoned and pretty easily ignored (which, thankfully, left more room in my stomach for tomato tart).

                              My husband's steak was well seasoned, cooked well and the truffle fries were perfect (of the small taste that he actually let me try).

                              For dessert, we had small chocolate cakes and the chocolate stout mikshake. It was not up to the same par that the rest of the meal had achieved You could tell that the little cakes presumably had come out of the cooler and the buttercream, instead of being fluffy and light, was like eating bland fudge on top of an equally unenchanting bite of cake. The chocolate stout milkshake - although I appreciate what they are trying to do- wasn't good at all. The milkshake had an unpleasantly bitter undertone (reminded me of when someone adds too much vanilla to a milkshake). My husband liked the milkshake, possibly because it wasn't as sweet.

                              The service was excellent, and I really like the atmosphere.

                              Despite the small criticisms, I think this restaurant is wonderful and I am really looking forward to seeing what other interesting food they have to offer!

                              Also, I told a friend about what a great meal I had, and she and her husband happened to come in for lunch during the pig roast. They said that they had a wonderful time (the bar staff was really great) and the roasted pork was phenomenal. My husband and I are looking forward to going next month....

                              1. A nice review from Scott Joseph.. In todays orlando sentinel

                                http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entert...

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: herbert1

                                  Hi all, this is my first post here, after lurking ond receiving great recommendations for months! I hope to become a more active participant in the Orlando discussions as I break out of my dining rut.

                                  My husband and I were so excited to try TRP based on the rave Chowhound reviews. We had dinner there two weekends ago with our two most culinarily adventurous pals.

                                  Hubby and I LOVED ZaBella's and Popolo's and wondered why neither made it. Our experience at The Ravenous Pig may shed a little light: the location must be cursed. It's the only explanation!

                                  First, the service. When I called to make the reservation, I spoke with Lee, the much-lauded Managing Partner. He was very nice and professional when taking my information, and quite accomodating when I called later to change the number in our party from two to four.

                                  We were seated, ordered drinks and bottled water, and spent a few minutes chatting/catching up with our friends. Our waiter came by twice in the first five minutes to take our appetizer orders. We asked him if we could have a few more minutes to look over the menu, yet he seemed a bit perturbed and anxious, as if we were taking too much time. Odd. We finally ordered a round of appetizers - all but one or two of the menu offerings, and told our server we'd be ordering entrees as well.

                                  Shortly thereafter, the bread basket arrived with four tiny gruyere cheese biscuits inside, and a small bowl of smoked sea salt butter. They were delicious, and since our apps were taking a while to come out, we asked for another round. This request was met with a strange apprehension, and our waiter explained that the restaurant only makes enough biscuits for each table, one per guest. Then he said he may be able to bring us some sunflower seed rolls instead. Hooookay. I wonder what happens if someone spills a bread basket on the floor? Guess that means NO BISCUITS FOR YOU! Doesn't that seem strange?

                                  Our apps came out, and we placed our entree orders. Our friend asked the waiter if he could substitute the pureed parsnips side from the scallop dish for the potato side offered with his entree. Again, this request seemed to throw our waiter for a loop. He said he would have to check with the kitchen. Our friend told him that since he really wanted to try the parsnips, he would order the scallops as a second entree, if that's what he had to do. The waiter came back to tell us that the kitchen only makes enough of each side dish to go with each entree, and that no substitutions could be made. So our friend told him to put in an order for the scallops then, too.

                                  Our entrees arrived, and alas, no scallops. So we had to tell the waiter that yes, we wanted those too. Sheesh. During this time, we had to ask repeatedly for drink refills, which gets annoying after the first one or two times. We enjoyed our entrees, got the scallops with the parsnip puree, then placed our orders for dessert and coffee. All the desserts were brought out at different times, with no utensils. Some of them had ice cream/granita rapidly melting into puddles while we waited for spoons, which we had to ask for, by the way. Halfway through dessert, we received our coffee. Our table was still littered with empty water and wine glasses, and we had to ask for them to be cleared away.

                                  That said, the food was phenomenal. For appetizers, we ordered the Foie Gras, Lobster Tacos, Crispy Oysters, Rock Shrimp and Grits, Charcuterie Plate, and Stuffed Dates with Bleu Cheese and Honey. All were delicious. For entrees, hubby and I both ordered the Prime Rib Eye, which was beautifully cooked and served with a wonderful roasted tomato tart and fingerling potatoes. Our friends had the Moules Frites (Mussels) and the aforementioned Seared Scallops with Parsnip Puree and another entree, which I can't remember. For dessert, we sampled the Chocolate Hazelnut Bread Pudding, Brown Butter Pear Tart, and the Pig Tails - crispy Churro-like fried doughnuts, served with a warm chocolate-orange dipping sauce. All wonderful.

                                  I really hope that this restaurant works out its service issues. Service-wise, it wasn't horrible, but not at all what I expected, considering the cost. For four people, our bill came to just over $300. Certainly not chump change. I haven't ruled out a return visit (although my husband and friends have). Disappointing.

                                  1. re: NOLAChick

                                    Got Chow?
                                    Our Bob Mervine Memorial Dinner.

                                    We were so impressed with the reviews the Hounds gave this restaurant, we drove to Orlando to check it out. Literally got into the car after work last Thursday and endured a Dade County rush hour to get there before it closed. The friendly girls at the desk (Megan and Katie) talked us through the directions off I-4 and met us at the door with big smiles. Apparently there are not too many diners who pop by from Miami - who knew? We met Lee the manager and his sidekick Alan who like to dance when Van Halen plays. Try to time your visit to the Van Halen.

                                    We ate in the bar. Started with Brooklyn Lager (yo Brooklyyyyyn!) and the Lobster Tacos. Lightly battered, almost tempura like chunks of lobster meat folded into 3 soft taco shells and presented in a litle stand. Clever and yummy. Since we printed out this post, we worked our way through each of the hound's suggestions from the Tacos to the Lamb Mezze to the Cheesy Biscuits with Onion Soup and on and on!

                                    The lamb plate features a few little skewered lamby meatballs and a ramekin of tapenade (alfonso olives, cucumbers, tomato, purple onion all diced fine) and then a few perfectly grilled lamb ribs. We literally fought over this dish. The stuffed dates wrapped in proscuitto were so good I shamelessly ripped off the entire presentation for Thanksgiving a week later. Dates are split, filled with a tart blue cheese and then roasted wrapped in proscuitto - served with a tiny dish of tupelo honey. The combination of smoky meat, sweet date and tart cheese is just a tiny little party on the tongue. I repeated the dish (both raw and cooked) last week using medjool dates from Delaware Chicken Farm-ers Market and also with a pound of just-ripe figs. Everyone now thinks I am a Top Chef.

                                    Tempted SERIOUSLY by the Tales of Rib-Eye Rapture, we opted to pass on steak (doh!) and ordered the roast duck breast and the lamb entrees. While both were nicely done, a meal of all the starters is definitely the way to go. We closed the place with a pumpkin bread pudding and a brown butter pear tart. The pumpkin bread pudding was just a bowl full of amazing. The tart must have been good too but I simply couldn't pry it out of AB's grip.

                                    All in all, The Ravenous Pig is a bit of a trek for Miamians but definitely worth a visit if you can swing it. Listen for Van Halen and keep an eye out for Lee!

                                    Raise a toast to Bob Mervine and enjoy...

                                    AG

                                    1. re: NOLAChick

                                      NOLAChick

                                      I know TRP reads this board, but I think you should take your issues up directly with Lee the manager. It is true that they have some relatively inexperienced servers that aren't quite up to speed yet. This type of post is exactly what they need to use to get to where they need to be.

                                      As for the biscuit policy and the side substitution policy ( I have never had a problem getting extra biscuits,) if it is actually the case that they have instituted this policy, then it is an atrocious policy.

                                      1. re: herbert1

                                        Hi herbert1,

                                        I see from your earlier posts that you've eaten at TRP several times. When you say you've never had a problem getting extra biscuits, I'm assuming you mean at TRP! I really think we had a weird/lazy waiter. I can't understand why extra biscuits would be a problem anywhere. And the pureed parsnip side was *maybe* 3 tablespoons, tops. Two of my dining companions were engineering/math wizards, and spent the rest of the evening trying to devise an algorithm to calculate the number of biscuits/side dish ration per diner, while minimizing waste. We all had a good laugh despite our annoyance.

                                        Thanks for the suggestion. I may give Lee a call. I'd hate to see such a good place go down the tubes for poor service.

                                        1. re: NOLAChick

                                          Yes NOLAChick I have eaten there probably 7 or 8 times so far. The service was indeed spotty especially at the beginning. I was in tuesday night with a date and we told the server that we were gonna split 3 apps and a ribeye entree. They were exceptionally accomadating. splitting 2 of the courses in the kitchen before delivery and providing extra plates for the other one (one was the french onion soup). The only real thing I noticed servicewise was that they left the wine glasses on the table until we were 3/4 of the way through despite having said at the beginning that we were not drinking wine. It sounds like you have a interesting dining group.

                                  2. So I FINALLY made it in to the RP! Several friends banded together and we enjoyed a lovely evening.

                                    Since we were going to be camped out for the evening, we opted for the Pub side. We started early and stayed late, all were impressed and happy with what they (and the table) ordered. Much sharing and testing, a very fun evening.

                                    From the Bar:
                                    Mojito's - very nice and can be made no sweet, which was awesome.
                                    Berry martini- thumbs up
                                    Beers: Everything that was tried was given the big thumbs up. Great draught selection and not a Bud or Mich Ultra to be found. Well done!!
                                    Wine....(see below)

                                    Gruyere Biscuits

                                    I had heard so much about these, I knew to order them immediately. 3 orders (4 each) got everyone 1 each with a few left over to share. Insane raves, from everyone. Crusty outside, tender, flaky rich and cheesy throughout. A must for any RP visit, a great starter with drinks.

                                    Pub Fare
                                    Boar tasting
                                    Wild Boar Terrine, Palmetto greek garlic sausage, grain mustard, sauerkraut

                                    Thumbs up all the way around, not a scrap left.

                                    Moules Frites
                                    Mussels with beer, orange zest, chili flake and truffle fries.

                                    While I didn't detect the orange zest and the chili flake in the broth (no visible stuff floating around, either) I did see plenty of onions, etc. WONDERFUL mussels (About 1lb) savory and delicious broth. Thin cut, shoestring truffle fries were served in an pint glass on the side. They rocked- period. There just needs to be bread to soak up the delicious broth.

                                    House Made Soft Pretzels
                                    Grain mustard, Taleggio-porter fondue.

                                    I don't know if this was a choice of two or we didn't get the fondue. Our table got 2 orders and the mustard was nice. Yummy pretzels....and I dipped my bites into the mussel broth.

                                    Lobster Tacos
                                    warm water lobster, cilantro, pickled jalapeno, avocado

                                    I had read previously that this was a bland dish. I ordered mine sans avocado since it was already a glutton fest evening. It was delicious!!!! There was a nice portion of lobster, which was coated with a slightly sweetish sauce. The pickled jalapeno provided some tang, I would order this again in a heartbeat. I shared the lobster since some of my friends had not tried warm water lobster and were dedicated Maine lobster fans. They raved about the tenderness and flavor and have now been converted.

                                    Pub Burger
                                    Carmelized onions, buttermilk blue cheese, truffle fries.

                                    Several were ordered, all were cooked perfectly to the specifications of each person. Truffle fries served in the pint glass, again, AWESOME. Nice sized burger.

                                    Gardner (salad)
                                    Hammock hollow baby gem lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, creamy herb dressing, almonds.

                                    Gorgeous salad, nice portion for a meal or with an app as a meal.

                                    Shrimp and grits (starter)
                                    rock shrimp, green tomato chutney, chorizo oil

                                    Larger than a tapas portion, smaller than a meal. Nice amount of shrimp, which are seasoned with the chorizo oil. Creamy grits, big thumbs up from all who sampled.

                                    Quail (starter)
                                    Wilted dandelion salad, bacon-ramp vinaigrette.

                                    Presented beautifully, easy to eat the semi boneless quail. Tender, tasty and a thumbs up.

                                    Agnolotti (pastas)
                                    Braised Pork, pickled ramps, asparagus salad

                                    Nice portion, not sure if the 1/2 or full was ordered. Thumbs up!

                                    Ivory Salmon (Entree)
                                    Zuckermans Farm Asparagus, carrots, haricots verts, lemongrass nage

                                    Beautiful portion of (white!) salmon, lovely fresh veggies that looked amazing. Fish was tender, cooked perfectly. Thumbs up.

                                    I ordered 3 pig tails for the table before they could bring the dessert menu around, as I knew our crowd would pass on dessert but scarf the tails. Good call, not a tail to be found and everyone loved them, fun way to end the meal.

                                    I ordered coffee, which was wonderful and presented in a very cool gadget. Similar to a tea for 1, this was a french press coffee for one. (2 piece covered contraption where the top is a french press pot you separate from the bottom, which is the coffee mug. Pour and enjoy!) The decaf was robust and flavorful and milk can be had instead of creamer, just ask.

                                    We ordered numerous bottles of wine (large crowd). The 2005 Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla was a crowd pleaser. Indicative of wines from Jumilla (Spain) it was a nice, well rounded red with a long finish, nice tannis. We ordered several bottles. The 2004 Jean-Luc Columbo Crozes Hermitage was a more fruit forward wine, but also nice and would pair well with any of the meats.

                                    Lee Kaleel has done a great job of picking a varied wine list with great price points. If you are on the fence on what to order and they offer the wine by the glass, you can taste before committing to the bottle or glass.

                                    We arrived just prior to 6 and the place was packed by 7 PM, at the tables and the pub. A wait after 8PM if you didn't have reservations. We stayed till 10ish and the place was still packed in the pub, the restaurant side had thinned out. Nice that you can order the full menu from the pub side.

                                    Service was wonderful, juggling the crazy amount of food, drinks, wine, plates, glasses and tableware was a feat with our group. Courses were swiftly cleared and a keen eye was kept on beverages and food. Great pacing; I pre ordered the pig tails which were brought out after the last of the plates were cleared.

                                    Now that I've managed to make it over to the RP, I'll be back...frequently.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: winechic

                                      This place sounds great, definitely on my hit list next time I'm headed north - and very responsible of you to go easy by skipping the avocado!

                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                        :)
                                        Yes, I was impressed with my restraint. ;)

                                        Honestly, with the (unfried) corn tortilla, and bed of lettuce under the lobster, I think the avocado might be too buttery and rob a bit of the flavor from the dressed lobster...unless the avocado was tossed with salt, coarse ground pepper, fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro (FL-Cuban style) to kick it up a bit and contrast the dressed tempura lobster tail chunks. IMHO, of course!

                                        The cilantro that was mentioned in the (above posted) Lobster taco description from the menu was a fresh leaflet artfully placed on the center of each taco. The pickled jalapeno's are served in a ramekin on the side, so that you can add them to your preference. (I sliced one side of the jalapeno round slice to form strips to place on the tacos, perfect!) The three soft tacos are presented in a plastic holder that keeps the soft tacos upright and the filling in the tacos. Well done! This starter will be a regular for me. A+

                                        Good to hear that RP is on your list, Winter Park is a quaint metro Orlando nook with great options to eat and drink, but RP is certainly taking the dining up a notch. Be sure to consider reservations if you are coming Thurs-Weekend or on a Pig Roast Saturday.

                                        Cheers!

                                    2. This post makes me wish I still lived in Orlando. Anyone know if there's anything similar in the South FL area?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: recroomjess

                                        If there was...we wouldn't be driving to Orlando to go there!!!....On weekends it's just 90 minutes of so from home in Ft. Pierce......It's a wonderful place....Not end-all....but very, very good and unique!!...Can't wait to visit there again as we had a very positive experience....I told my wife...next time we'll go up there for lunch....and then go back for dinner....and then go home....So we can try as many things as possible.....

                                        EMac

                                        1. re: LargeLife

                                          My wife and I finally got to go there last night (having a toddler really doesn't make it easy to eat out) and I must say it is still rocking and the food was absolutely delicious. I can't remember our server's name, but it would appear that any early-on service issues have been addressed. The ribeyes were amazing, but the star of the show was the bone marrow starter. Everyone at the table was hesitant, but we all went for it and it was amazing. Keep up the good work Lee and crew.