Rack of lamb (reverse angle)

Rack of lamb






**** (4 stars)

Epice offers a full range of traditional Lebanese food, prepared with a few modern twists and great deftness.

The inside is very hard surfaced, so it can get noisy, but the large patio offers a delightful alternative.

We started with hummus, which was served with both plain pitas and some brilliantly seasoned fried pitas.

Then we shared two entrees:

Sayeda is seasoned fish. The night we were there it was a delicate barramundi. The accompanying rice and grilled zucchini were just okay.

The pistachio crusted rack of lamb was superb: perfecly cooked and seasoned, and accompanied by a delicious black been and rice mixture.

There is a small list of wines, including some nice choices from Lebanon.

Service was friendly.

2902 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 720-6765

Marché Artisan Foods

Croissant French toast


Chocolate croissant

Brunch menu August 2017


Interior, brunch crowd

**** (4 stars)

We stopped here on the way from the airport, and it was worth the detour. They serve a very good brunch.

The Croissant French toast is good, but maybe not quite as good as it looks in all the pictures. Croissants tend to be a bit hard to tear apart, which isn’t necessarily what you want in French toast. But the accompanying maple syrup was great, and I’m glad I ordered the delicious bacon to go with it.

The quiche and the chocolate croissant were two other things we sampled that were good. And the coffee drinks are excellent, with lots of options for preparation, flavors and type of milk.

Be aware that Sunday Brunch is really popular, right up until closing time, so there will be a wait, and it will be noisy.

Marché Artisan Foods
1000 Main St
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 262-1111

Boca Kitchen Bar Market



**** (4 stars)

I used to think this space was cursed, because of the long succession of unsuccessful restaurants that occupied it. But it turns out it wasn’t the space, it was the restaurants that were the problem. Boca is packed every day, and with good reason.

The food and service are both top notch. We had the day’s lunch special, a blackened amberjack sandwich. The amberjack was a thick piece, perfectly cooked. The accompanying mango slaw was a bit sweet for my taste, but with just a little on the sandwich it was perfect.

Rather than fries we asked for the mixed vegetables which had been sauteed and had a delightful smokey flavor.

Boca is one of the best bets for lunch on Park Avenue.

Boca Kitchen Bar Market
358 North Park Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 636-7022

LemonShark Poke Orlando

Custom poke medium


**** (4 stars)

This is a much better use of this space than the prior occupant. Unfortunately, it’s still a bit dark and drab, but the food is better and more interesting.

I spend a lot of time in Chicago, where there are poke places all over town, but this is the first one in this part of Orlando, and so far it is popular. The assembly line process works well for poke, because there are so many potential ingredients. You can get a better bowl of fish and rice up the street at Bonsai Sushi, but there are more variants here, and it is cheaper. You can also get a version on lettuce rather than rice, if you’re really trying to cut carbs.

I tried the ahi tuna, spicy salmon and miso glazed salmon. The tuna was still a bit frozen, but quickly thawed, and seemed fresher than the salmon. The miso glaze turned out to be something squirted on, no actual glaze. The crab salad topping was good; the avocado topping was more like guacamole, but it was okay. There are a lot of sauces to choose from. The iced tea dispenser was either empty or not working.

Service was efficient.

LemonShark Poke Orlando
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd
Ste 102
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 730-5201

Hot N Juicy Crawfish


Crawfish sandwich

1lb crawfish




*** (3 stars)

This place is well-named, as the food was certainly hot and juicy. Not surprisingly, it’s also a mess. You know you’re in for a participatory meal when your table is equipped with bibs, gloves and a bucket!

We shared a pound of crawfish for $14. It comes in a tied plastic bag, swimming in sauce. That’s a reasonable price, but you need to realize that equates to only a few tablespoons of actual crawfish meat. We had the hot n juicy sauce, which was pretty good, but be cautious of the spiciness level. We ordered medium, and it equated to HOT most places.

We also had the cajun fries, which were crisp, hot and well-seasoned.

Our companions had the crawfish po boy sandwiches, which were a lot easier and neater, as the crawfish meat was deep fried.

Service was friendly and helpful.

Hot N Juicy Crawfish
7572 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 370-4655

The Fat Snook

Wet jerk pork ribeye

Mahimahi special

Blue crab

Seafood charcuterie

Amuse bouche





***** (5 stars)

This restaurant is certainly the gem of the space coast. It’s a truly fine dining restaurant in what is a bit of a wasteland.

We started with the seafood charcuterie, which turned out to be our favorite item of the night.  While the octopus terrine wasn’t particularly flavorful, all the other items–salmon rillette, smoked fish pate–and the accompanying salads and relishes were wonderful.

The blue crab was also excellent. The single soft shell crab topped an amazing piece of cornbread.

My wife’s wet jerk pork ribeye was very good, better than the mahi mahi fish special I had.

The space is relatively small, which keeps noise levels reasonable, and it is nicely decorated.

Service was amazing, We were impressed by all the servers’ interactions with their guests; our server, Michelle, was particularly excellent.

The wine list is a bit limited, but there are many excellent choices, and the value is good, particularly for the top end bottles.

The Fat Snook
2464 S Atlantic Ave
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
(321) 784-1190

Johnny’s Fillin’ Station


Bacon cheeseburger



***** (5 stars)

For at least 20 years Johnny’s has been acclaimed for having the best burger in Orlando (they even have the 1998 plaque on the wall to prove it), and it still is. The secret is a thick, meaty patty perfectly cooked to order served on a bun with some substance. And the bun is grilled on the insides to make sure it doesn’t get soggy as you make your way through the burger. The bacon cheeseburger is the way to go. And it comes with all the fixin’s you’d expect of a fillin’ station.

The fries that come with the burger could be better, as they are steak fries rather than something skinnier, but if you order them crispy they will do.

The atmosphere is also unchanged in at least twenty years: quintessential dive bar. It’s a real dive bar that has earned its designation, not some artificially decorated pretender. The junk on the walls is all there for historical reasons.

Service is not what you’d call attentive, but it is pleasant.

Johnny’s Fillin’ Station
2631 S Fern Creek Ave
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 894-6900