Salt & The Cellar By Akira Back

Where Clouds End Non-alcoholic espresso and citrus drink
Where Clouds End Non-alcoholic espresso and citrus drink
Tuna Tartare
Tuna Tartare
Wagyu Tacos
Wagyu Tacos
Togarashi Fries
Togarashi Fries
Lobster tail
Lobster tail
Chef presents a course
Chef presents a course
Interior
Interior
Tuna Pizza
Tuna Pizza
Salt presentation
Salt presentation
"Cigar"
"Cigar"
Kimchi Brussels sprouts
Kimchi Brussels sprouts
Yuzu
Yuzu
Chocolate
Chocolate
New York Strip
New York Strip
Seafood assortment
Seafood assortment

***** (5 stars)

It's about time that Orlando had another true fine dining restaurant! Amid a sea of steakhouses, Salt & The Cellar stands out as one of the few truly great restaurants in Central Florida.

With just the right touch of Japanese and Asian flair, and a lot of creativity in presentation, Salt & The Cellar surprises with almost every dish. The menu is designed to be shared, which invites one to try almost everything, and our party of three took up the challenge.

We started with an off-menu seafood assortment that surpassed any seafood tower I've encountered, with generous portions of lobster and crab, and the most delightfully flavored little clams.

Then we progressed through an assortment of starters: an impressive tableside preparation of tuna tartare mixed tableside like some elaborate guacamole; wagyu tacos with just the right amount of spicy kick; a delicately plated tuna pizza (this was the only item of the meal we didn't care for, it having been overwhelmed with truffle oil).

Then it was on to a generous portion of delicious New York strip, already sliced for easy eating with chopsticks, and served with our choice of three salts (the smoky and coffee-flavored salts are standouts).

Sides accompanying the steak included kimchi Brussels sprouts (which were delicious, but more about toasted garlic than kimchi, I thought) and Togarashi fries (wonderfully seasoned, although the paper cone they were served in couldn't keep them hot).

Three desserts were on offer, and all three were delightful. The most unique was the "Cigar" which was passion fruit ice cream in a dark chocolate wrapper with coffee-flavored "ashes". Even the cigar band was edible!

One surprising aspect of the restaurant (and the whole hotel, for that matter) is that it offers no alcohol. Of course, you are welcome to bring your own wines, and we were delighted to find that the glassware and wine service were top-notch.

There are also a half dozen "mocktails" on offer. The espresso and citrus "Where Clouds End" was a particular stunner, served in a bell jar full of hickory smoke.

Service was Michelin level. Our main server, Randi, was an enthusiastic delight.

Best of all, I no longer need to be embarrassed when people ask me where to go for fine dining in Orlando. This is the place.

Salt & The Cellar By Akira Back
3001 Sherberth Rd
Kissimmee, FL 34747

https://www.yelp.com/biz/salt-and-the-cellar-by-akira-back-kissimmee

Seared

Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Lady finger appetizer special
Lady finger appetizer special
Rib Eye
Rib Eye
Salmon
Salmon

***** (5 stars)

Excellent food is topped by truly great service at this fine dining but not stuffy restaurant right off historic Route 66.

The real standout here was a special appetizer using ladyfingers(!), feta, apples, and bacon. It sounds weird but it was fantastic and unique.

Meals include a soup or salad. The gaspacho was nice and spicy, and the Caesar salad was classic, but with the dressing on the side. The salmon and ribeye were both very good.

The wine list is great, and really concentrates on the complex chewy reds that we love.

Our server's wine knowledge was truly impressive, and he offered us a ton of great tips for visiting the area.

Seared
119 San Pasquale Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87104

https://www.yelp.com/biz/seared-albuquerque

Four Flamingos

Ribeye Pinchos
Ribeye Pinchos
Jerk Cauliflower
Jerk Cauliflower
Seafood Smorgasbord!
Seafood Smorgasbord!
View
View
Interior
Interior

***** (5 stars)

This reincarnation of the old Hemingway's spot is very good. Because of the Richard Blaise branding, I was expecting more molecular gastronomy, but it's pretty focused on fresh seafood.

We selected the Seafood Smorgasbord as our starter, and it proved to be so extensive that it was really a meal for two, including nearly every appetizer on the menu: Tuna tostada, scallop ceviche, stone crab claws, shrimp cocktail, ham croquettes, shrimp toast, and a dozen oysters! Highlights were the scallops and the tuna and, surprisingly, the croquettes. We weren't fans of the shrimp toast; although perfectly crisped, it was a bit sweet, and lacked any shrimp flavor. At $128 this was fairly priced, and a really complete dinner for two.

After that, all we could manage were a couple more small plates. Ribeye Pichos were two small skewers of flavorful beef, tasty but maybe not worth $23. Jerk coated cauliflower, also available in an entree size portion, was excellent.

The Boulevardier is an amazing cocktail. It's also nice that they have a wine of the day poured from magnum. Ours was Chateau LaGrange.

I've been going to this place for 38 years, since it first opened as Hemingway's, and our server, Michael, has been there just as long! So some things haven't changed. Now if they would just bring back the Key Wester salad as a tribute to the old days, it would be perfect.

Four Flamingos
1 Grand Cypress Blvd
Orlando, FL 32836

https://www.yelp.com/biz/four-flamingos-orlando-2

Celebration Town Tavern

Exterior
Exterior
Bar
Bar
Spicy tuna dip
Spicy tuna dip
Potato Skins
Potato Skins
Wings
Wings
Maine Lobster Roll
Maine Lobster Roll

*** (3 stars)

This is a combination sports bar and seafood place, focusing on mostly fried seafood dishes the way you might get them in Boston, or the way people think you might get them in Boston. There's nothing great about the place except the decor, which is pretty good, and the nice location on Celebration's waterfront. But there's nothing terrible about it either. The best thing we had was the lobster roll, which had a reasonable amount of lobster in it, although it was priced accordingly. The sports bar food was less good. The potato skins and chicken wings were just OK. Spicy tuna dip was a poor choice. It was basically really liquid tuna sandwich filling, and not spicy at all. There is a lovely outside area dedicated to dining with dogs, so if you're a dog watcher, it's a great place to visit lots of canine friends.

Celebration Town Tavern
721 Front St
Celebration, FL 34747

https://www.yelp.com/biz/celebration-town-tavern-celebration

Memories of Peru Pollos a la Brasa

Interior
Interior
Pisco Sour and Chicha Morada
Pisco Sour and Chicha Morada
Causa de Camarones
Causa de Camarones
Ceviche de Pescado y Camarones
Ceviche de Pescado y Camarones
Mariscos saltado
Mariscos saltado

***** (5 stars)

This is my favorite Peruvian restaurant in Orlando. Everything is very authentic. They have the best ceviche I've had anywhere but Lima. The causas are also excellent.

As of this writing if you check in on Yelp they offer a free Chicha Morada, a delicious fruity non-alcoholic drink (based on purple corn, interestingly) with a touch of cinnamon and clove.

The pisco sours are also excellent.

Memories of Peru Pollos a la Brasa
5700 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819

https://www.yelp.com/biz/memories-of-peru-pollos-a-la-brasa-orlando-11

Gallaghers Steakhouse

Fries extra crispy
Fries extra crispy

***** (5 stars)

It's delightful to visit a traditional steakhouse that isn't part of a chain, and that maintains the aura and service that was a fixture of grand steakhouses before they became ubiquitous franchises.

Everything about Gallagher's is what I'm looking for, from the cozy booths to the subdued lighting, the sparkling central bar, and the professional yet friendly service.

We went after theater, and although the place was hopping, currently curtailed hours meant the kitchen was closing, so we limited our experience to a spectacular chilled seafood platter, some carpaccio, and some wonderfully crisp fries. Everything was terrific.

Prices are reasonable for NYC, and it was appreciated that there was a selection of half bottles of wine so we could each have our favorite.

We'll definitely make this a regular stop during visits to the theater.

Gallaghers Steakhouse
228 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019

https://www.yelp.com/biz/gallaghers-steakhouse-new-york

Boteco do Manolo

Interior
Interior
Exterior
Exterior
Churrasco Misto A Dom Manolo - Mixed Grill
Churrasco Misto A Dom Manolo – Mixed Grill
Lunch Menu
Lunch Menu

**** (4 stars)

Traditional Brazilian food, done well, in a nice place with table service and a full bar.

The emphasis is on meats of all kinds, and the VERY extensive menu does a good job of picturing everything. The prices seem high at first, but even the half portion is more than enough for two people. There is also a lunch menu.

Hard surfaces, so it can get noisy.

Boteco do Manolo
7653 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819

https://www.yelp.com/biz/boteco-do-manolo-orlando

The Kitchen at Abeja

Amuse bouche
Amuse bouche
Interior
Interior
Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche
Crab
Crab
Menu 8/6/2021
Menu 8/6/2021
King Salmon
King Salmon
Halibut
Halibut
Tenderloin
Tenderloin
Pre-Dessert Sorbet
Pre-Dessert Sorbet
Blood Orange and Earl Grey
Blood Orange and Earl Grey
Parking - Restaurant is to the left of this photo
Parking – Restaurant is to the left of this photo

***** (5 stars)

This restaurant just opened in July of 2021, and it's a bit hard to find until they add signage. It's not in the Inn at Abeja, but next to the winery. So when you go up the driveway and park you need to walk to the back and right.

For a restaurant so newly opened, they are doing a lot of things right, and I'm pretty sure this is the most upscale dining experience in Walla Walla. The dining room is under the experienced direction of Tom Uberuaga. Winemakers Dan Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler also visited our table.

The tasting menu was created by Elodie Li, a young chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Seattle, and with Michelin experience in France. She also made a point of visiting diners' tables.

Highlights of the tasting menu included a wonderfully complex Amuse Bouche of cherry tomatoes, and a stunning dessert with flavors of blood orange and Earl Grey. Chef Li notes she isn't a pastry chef, but she certainly could be!

We also enjoyed the Tenderloin course, especially the oyster mushrooms in Cabernet jus.

As one would expect of a brand new restaurant, there were a few missteps, but nothing major. The dining room was much too bright, but Tom indicated dimmers were already being installed. It is also a bit noisy, but that may be addressed with some softer floor treatments. Service needs a little polish, and some dishes would have been better served on warm plates, but overall everything was quite good.

A wine pairing of Abeja wines is available and fairly priced, although a broader range of wines might find better matches with the food.

Over all I would say this is a must -stop restaurant for all foodies visiting Walla Walla.

The Kitchen at Abeja
2014 Mill Creek Rd
Walla Walla, WA 99362

https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-kitchen-at-abeja-walla-walla

La Granja

Interior
Interior

***** (5 stars)

This place far exceeded my expectations for a counter serve restaurant. I had the mixed ceviche, and it was wholly authentic, and almost as good as the best I've had in Lima, Peru. My companion had the quarter chick, which was a great lunch time deal.

The only downside of this location is that the strip mall needs a parking lot twice as big!

La Granja
3120 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32811

https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-granja-orlando-2

Honolulu Fish Company

***** (5 stars)

We ordered an assortment of sashimi shipped to Orlando Florida. The package was shipped by Fedex, and although delayed one day the fish arrived ice cold and ready to eat. Kanpachi is usually my favorite, but this was just okay, perhaps because I'm still learning how to slice sashimi! But the salmon and tuna were both superb, as good as I've had from any restaurant. We'll definitely order from them again.

Honolulu Fish Company
824 Gulick Ave
Honolulu, HI 96819

https://www.yelp.com/biz/honolulu-fish-company-honolulu