Last week I had the pleasure of attending a blogger dinner at the new Tony Roma’s restaurant concept “fire grill & lounge” at Lee Vista in Orlando. This is the first-of-it’s-kind restaurant remodel for the Tony Roma’s brand and it is located adjacent to the Orlando International Airport.
I have to admit…I hadn’t darkened the door of a Tony Roma’s in ages! In fact, this location may have been the last location I visited when I lived near downtown Orlando in 1997.
From what I’ve read online, Tony Roma’s has catered to more of a senior crowd and this concept switch up is an attempt to bring a more younger crowd into the restaurant.
The restaurant definitely had a lighter, airier and more hip vibe.
Our dinner was served in the lounge area.
The new menu is broken down into Snacks, Table Shares, Sharable Sides, “Smoked, Grilled and Such”, On Bread and “Greens & Soup”. Everything on the new menu is sourced locally so you locavores get out there and support the community.
I started my meal with one of the new signature cocktails (we were offered two options) The Swindler ($9) Apple Pie Shine, Fireball Whiskey, Pressed Lemon & Lime and Cinnamon.
This drink was just OK. I appreciate the fact that the bar is using fresh squeezed fruit juices instead of that ole bottled stuff but this cocktail was a bit too tart for me. I kept taking sips looking for the Apple Pie Shine but it was overwhelmed by the acid of the fruit juice. Like I said, we were only offered two options ( the other was a Wood Aged Margarita), and I am not too big on high acid drinks so this could have just been a matter of personal preference. Given the choice I would have gone for one of the local Craft Beers on tap like the I-4 IPA or a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. Check out the beer selection on the menu…this will be a draw to bring me back here for sure.
The team was kind enough to bring me out a 14oz Sam Adams Boston Lager Draught ($5) with a side of husband photobomb.
The Snacks Menu has some really interesting choices. I can’t wait to come back and try the “Pretzel Braid with Sam Adams Cheese Fondue” and the “Pigs & Peppers”. Our table was brought a round of the Smokehouse Wings ($8) Eight Spice Rub and Chipotle Buttermilk Sauce. These were excellent! The dipping sauce didn’t have too much heat and the wings were nice and juicy.
We got to try three selections from the Table Shares section of the menu.
The Box of Onions ($7) BBQ Sauce and Horseradish Aioli. These were really tasty and the portion size was good for the price. The onion rings were thin and the breading was light.
We also sampled the Skillet Cornbread ($5) Maple Butter and Jalapeno Jam. Dude! Get this for the jalapeno jam alone!
By far the most popular item was the Oven Baked Pizza Dip ($12) Buffalo Mozzerella, Pepperoni, Sausage and Garlic Foccacia Bread. This dip was served in a warm cast iron skillet. It was ooey and gooey and all the best parts of a pizza times twenty.
Greens & Soup
Our table was brought a Chop Salad ($8) Avocado, Grape Tomatoes, Feta Cheese, Bacon, Foccacia Crouton and Vidalia Onion Dressing. The salad came with the optional Crispy Shrimp ($3) and I have been avoiding shrimp recently so I did not get to sample this offering…but it looked pretty.
Smoked, Grilled & Such
Next came the heavy hitters. Bring on the “meat sweats”! Tony Roma’s is famous for ribs and they are still holding it down in that department.
Smoked Baby Back Ribs ($18 rack or $25 Chef Cut) Apple Cider Slaw and Matchstick Potatoes. Nothing but good things to say about these ribs and I am a huge proponent of thin fries. Bonus that there was a mix of regular and sweet potato fries. And the slaw was out-of-bounds!
We were also treated to the 14oz Bone-In KC Strip ($34) Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Horseradish au Jus. The steak was a perfect medium rare and required no jus.
And on a lighter note, Pan Seared Alaskan Cod (6oz $15, 9oz $18) Eight Vegetable Hash, Pearl Couscous & Red Quinoa, Lemon Basil Pesto. This dish was average.
We were given two accompaniments with our meats. I didn’t try one of them and was underwhelmed with the other.
Baked Mac & Cheese ($6) …which I did not sample.
…and Roasted Brussel Sprouts ($6) with Bacon & Pine Nuts. Normally I love brussel sprouts and put balsamic reduction on anything and it becomes a thing of beauty, however these veggies were too underdone for my liking…
It was also about this time that a bread basket made it’s way to our table. I was getting stuffed by this point in the meal and wanted to save room for dessert.
Two desserts topped off our evening.
The Ricotta Cheesecake ($6). I don’t normally like cheesecake but this was really good. I only had one bite cause I was waiting for the chocolate overload…
And this, my friends, is the Chocolate Mayhem (small $8, large $15) It was all manner of chocolate mousse, cakes, caramel, sauce, candy bars and Ben & Jerry’s ice creams! This is something you won’t regret ordering.
At the conclusion of the meal Chef Bob Gallagher came out to wish us farewell.
As of this writing the Lee Vista location is the only location that has been revamped into a Fire Grill & Lounge. The company is looking to revamp a few of the other Orlando locations as well. The Tony Roma’s Fire Grill & Lounge is located at 7015 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando, FL 32822. Hours of operation are Monday – Thursday 11am – 11pm, Friday – Saturday 11am – Midnight and Sunday Noon – 9pm.
Happy Hour is Monday – Friday 4pm – 7pm with (All Single Liquor Mixers – $1 Off; Wine – 9 oz pour for the price of 6.5 oz pour; Beer – $3 Craft Draughts, 14 oz | $5 Craft Draughts, 20 oz; Bar Food starting at $4)
Special thanks to Tony Roma’s for the complementary dinner and drinks as well as the gift certificates to return for another meal. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.