Ah, thinking about this while writing makes me happy AND hungry!
Turned to Trip Advisor for recommendations (as we always do) for the newest and most highly ranked restaurants in Orlando. We were not disappointed in the #2 ranked Chatham's Place, on Restaurant Row, near Sandlake.
We arrived for our 8 PM reservation and were warmly greeted by the owner and ushered to our table for two. Well-dressed (Florida resort casual, but a few in coats and ties), well-heeled diners filled the tables. Most seemed to be regulars, given the warm greetings exchanged between them and the waitstaff. The wait staff were superbly turned out in jackets and ties and all wore American Flag lapel pins, which I appreciated. About 7 feet away from our table was a piano at which an older, elegant gentleman sat, played and sang a wonderful assortment of show tunes, Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack, etc. My husband said he thought Tony Soprano would be right at home at the corner table of this intimate, candlelit venue.
Now to the food and wine. Great wine list, decanters at the ready and we appreciated being given the appropriate wine glasses for each varietal. There are a number of good wines at all price points, with good options under $100. We started out with a Syrah and ended with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The menu offers an interesting mix of Italian, French and American cuisine, with Chef specials offered on the Saturday night we dined there. You start with the Chef's Amuse Bouche, which is always a nice way to begin the experience and a nice touch so often overlooked in finer restaurants.
We shared the Beef Carpaccio and Chef's Special Appetizer, which was a gorgeous plate of beautiful little bites. The Tuna Tartare over Guacamole was amazing, it also included a little Salmon Mousse in puff pasty, Brie with honey, Pate, etc. All presented exquisitely, with just enough for two persons to have a bite or two and oh so delicious!
My husband got the Pecan butter Black Grouper, which was wonderful! I got the special, which was a gorgeous lobster ravioli and grilled fish combo. Divine! As a side, we ordered the Quattro Formaggio Cauliflower, which was so good, so light, yet so flavorful, I could have eaten only that and been completely satisfied.
We both ordered the White Chocolate Souffles for dessert and had coffee. The Souffles were served with a dark chocolate cup on the side, filled with fresh mixed berries. We promptly placed those cups into the hot pouf of our souffle, causing them to melt into warm, fluffy deliciousness. Sigh.....
Replete, we sat and listened to the wonderful pianist and I even sang a few tunes with him. Bonnie Raitt, I Can't Make You Love Me and New York State of Mind, a la Barbara Streisand. Then we bade everyone farewell and headed off into the night. We talked about that meal with everyone we met for days. We will most definitely return, as it was the best meal of the trip, bar none!
Do yourself a favor...get a babysitter, dress up and go have a romantic meal with your lover in the candlelight. You will not regret it!
Highlights: Romantic and intimate atmosphere; unpretentious, yet sophisticated; wonderful wait staff; fantastic food and wine; pianist; warm and welcoming owner
Not recommended for small children (we saw none there on the night we dined), those on a low-calorie diet or those saving for a rainy day
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