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!
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.
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.
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.
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...
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!
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.