Orlando Steakhouse on an expense account
I am coming down from Boston toOrlando and need a steakhouse reccomendation. I have read a bunch of the previous posts on Orlando Steakhouses but frankly, the geography has me confused. Here's what I am looking for facts you need: reasonable to short drive from Ginn Reunion Resort (where we are staying); cost is no problem; despite it being a business dinner, the group is small and fairly adventurous; looking for something unique, ie: no Morton's, no Cap Grille, no Ruth's Chris, we have that up here. If there is must eat at place that fits the description above but is not a steak house per se, please feel free to steer me in that direction. Thanks everyone in advance.
I'm telling you, an adventurous steak eater would be remiss not to try Choo Choo Churros in South Orlando.
I go every time I even PASS by Orlando, including Friday night on my way from South Florida to High Springs.
It's a small, quaint place in a predominately immigrant part of town. The decor is very rustic, but quaint, with dim lighting and wooden tables both indoors and under a covered patio outside. The owners are Argentinian, and make all most everything that can be made from scratch: even the house mayonnaise is homemade. They are huge into wine there, so you will find many great bottles of South American stuff, and the wine racks fill the dining room.
They make the most delicious homemade empanadas filled with beef, chicken or an Argentinian style cream corn. They serve everything with fantastic chimichurri which is a bit different from other styles I've had, and a bowl of spicy, pureed peppers. Even the salads are amazing, which as simple, rustic bowls of just lettuce onion and tomato with a very high grade red wine vinegar and olive oil.
The real draw is the parrillada. You can get a giant churrasco steak, about 1.5 inches thick of Angus beef, cooked perfectly. My fav is the classico. You get churrasco, handmade chorizo sausage, beef short ribs, handmade morcilla -- the most delicious blood sausage you'll ever taste, filled with garlic and spices -- and lemon-grilled sweetbreads. The sweetbreads are to die for.
So there's something there for the adventurous (sweetbreads, morcilla) and great steaks for all. The name is odd, yes, but it originates from when the owners just ran a small churro stand by the train tracks. They still make the churros too - a postre of dulce de leche or guava churros and a beautiful cafe con leche is about the best end to a meal I can think of. Their churros are simply the best.
Forget the big name places, forget the odd location and the odd name. Anyone looking for steak in Orlando would be committing a crime to their own pallet to not visit Choo Choo Churros.
Choo Choo Churros
5810 Lake Underhill Rd, Orlando, FL 32807
I was salivating, but i'll have to wait....
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday: 5-10 p.m.
Saturday: 2-11 p.m.
Sunday: 2-10 p.m.
Cuisine: Latin American, South American, Chicken, and Steaks Meals Served: Lunch and Dinner Price Range: $$ ($9-$15) Reservations: Not Required Dress Code: Jeans and T-shirt Alcohol: Beer and Wine Smoking: No Restaurant Style: Bakery and Bistro Audience: All Ages
Shula's Steakhouse serves the 'Shula Cut' which they claim is 'better than prime'. Of the specific number of catagories to be considered "prime" Shula's exceeds prime in most of them but on a couple of counts (sorry I don't remember specifics) they are just below. Their beef is from their own ranch. The steak is great, have not been impressed with the lobster,
I have had real service isues at Shula's but they have a new manager who "promises" that things have changed.
Perhaps Charley's is worth a try ... it is a chain (but a So. FL chain only, I believe).
I love The Palm at the Hard Rock, but it is one of those chains.
I disagre that Tchoup Chop would be a good choice for steak (my opinion) but it's a great restaurant otherwise.
Del Frisco's was ranked by the Orlando Sentinel critic as the best this year, for what that's worth.
Just to clarify I did not recommend Tchoup Chop as a steak house but it is one of the more unique restaurants in the area with excellent food and service. The OP asked for other suggestions if they were unique in some way. In that regard Tchoup Chop qualifies quite nicely.
Steakhouses in Orlando don't tend to be for adventurous eaters. But for a lively environment, you might want to try Vine's Grille & Wine Bar on Sand Lake Road. The steaks are great, the menu is diverse, the wine list is good and there's often live jazz. vinesgrille.com
Yes Forte has excellent food. Give us a report on Forte and Reunion Resort (I own there) when you get back please. I see the next post mentions Primo. Primo has an excellent dry aged New York Strip as their only steak on the menu, but if you contact the restaurant ahead of time they can order in pretty much type of steak you want if you ask them nicely... Primo is easy to get to from Reunion, just take the 417 to John Young Parkway and take a left and it is in the big hotel a couple of miles down on the left.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. We ended up going to DelFrisco's. Overall I would give it a B+ and was very happy with the reccomendations. I had the Ceasar Salad which really was dissapointing. It was no better than something from Panera Bread. Luck for me I have a short memory with stuff liket hat b/c the bone in Rib Eye was very good. Cooked perfectly, well flavored, well spiced - I am sure someone here knows exaclty what it was but kind of like a Lawry's with a little kick?? Sides were Spinach with Cheese - awesome and I have never seen it done like that and the sliced potatoes. Overall very good meal and the group was happy. I originally thought it was part of the Del Frisco's chain whcih is in Dallas and NY, etc. but I don't think so.
I know it's not food realted but - played the Palmer course at Ginn, as a group we agreed it was a a littel overdesigned but a very fun playable course. Not too tough (which is a positive considering we had two 19 handicaps and a junior golfer) - so everyone had a lot of fun. Had some snacks from the pool area, Kobe burger and salad. Burger was a little thin and had that pre-made pattie feel so I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again.
You're pretty far from everything, all the way out there. However, since you have a small, adventurous group and want something unique, I highly recommend Texas de Brazil, an all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style rodizio restaurant, where tuxedo-clad "gauchos" deliver endless, high-quality grilled meats directly to your table. You get various cuts of steak as well as chicken, pork, sausages, and more, plus an extravagant salad bar full of luxurious cheeses and other gourmet items.
The restaurant is on International Drive, in the touristy area of Orlando close to Universal Studios. If you get on I-4 at Exit 58 and take it east, you should get there in less than half an hour. Here is the official website (which plays music more suitable for a fashion show): http://www.texasdebrazil.com/ . It also can give you driving directions.
The whole thing is a very decadent dining experience. It costs about $45 per person, not including drinks or tip, and if you sign up for their e-mail list, they will even send you valuable coupons. I don't know if you have anything like this in Boston, so I highly recommend it.
If you want to go to a more traditional steakhouse, I think Del Frisco's blows away Ruth's Chris and the other higher-end chains, but it is a lot further away from you, right off I-4 on Lee Road in Winter Park: http://www.delfriscosorlando.com/
re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Brazillian steakhouse is a great suggestion! The ones we have here in Boston tend to be not appropriate for business dinner (but can be tasty). It reminds me of Fogo de Chao (sp?) which I went to in Chicago which was pretty good and definetly different. Shula's is probably the closest (albeit lacking in the "adventurous" category); Del Frisco's sounds like the group choice but it is 64 miles round trip... Also, someone (not on this board) mentioned Charley's? Any thoughts on that?