I have always been a fan of Emeril Lagasse. Back when the Food Network was first launched, I remember watching his early cooking shows as he began to rise to celebrity chef superstar status. And having had the pleasure of visiting a couple of his restaurants in New Orleans and Las Vegas, we chose Emeril’s Orlando for our first dinner on our Florida trip. Located in Universal Studios Orlando, it was in a convenient location between the airport and our resort.
Right away when we walked through the doors we were impressed with the restaurant atmosphere. The main floor was this huge and bright open space with exposed brick and a classy but industrial feel. A spiral staircase leads up to a second floor dining area where we would be seated in the ‘wine room’ for the evening – how appropriate!
The menu at Emeril’s Orlando is fairly extensive (as is the wine list) and covers the full gamut from steak, chops and poultry, to wood-oven pizzas and fish and shellfish dishes. I also want to mention how cool the “children’s” menu is at Emeril’s. Having a daughter with pretty sophisticated tastes, we were happy to see items like Petite Filet Mignon with Natural Reduction Sauce and All-Natural Organic Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. A nice departure from the usual burger and fries you tend to see on kids menus.
On this day, we just had to start out with an item that helped put Emeril Lagasse on the map – the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo. We love Cajun and Creole food, and a good gumbo is hard to beat. This dish was excellent. Super thick and rich broth and healthy servings of chicken, sausage and rice. There was just the right amount of smoky spice in the gumbo – super tasty and satisfying.
For our main courses, our daughter went with the chicken (loved it) and my wife had the Andouille Crusted Redfish with Pattipan Squash, Shoestring Potatoes and Creole Meunière Sauce. I was also in a fish or seafood kind of mood and went with the Seared Snapper, Creole Boiled New Potatoes, Sweet Corn-Herb Relish, Roasted Peppers and Crab-Citrus Vinaigrette. You can really judge the quality and skill of a kitchen by the fish they serve. Freshness is a must and it just can’t be over-cooked. I’m happy to say that both fish dishes were perfect – melt in your mouth tender. I especially loved the crab-citrus vinaigrette. It really made a nice dish extraordinary.
Overall, we had a great meal at Emeril’s Orlando. The staff were very friendly and attentive and were more than happy to answer our questions about the menu and wine selections. Well worth checking out, whether you are visiting Universal Studios or just planning a nice dinner out on the town. Highly recommended! For now, back to the cage.