Earlier this week, we were invited to join several other local bloggers to try out the new incarnation of Tony Roma’s, the new Tony Roma’s Fire Grill & Lounge on Lee Vista by the Orlando Airport.
Not only does it have a new, warmer, decor, but the menu is new, as well, emphasizing comfort foods and dishes grilled over a wood fire grill.
We were prepared to sample the delicious new offerings created by Bob Gallagher, Vice President of Culinary and Purchasing, but we had no idea at how amazing this new menu is.
The evening started with a few drinks while we were waiting for everyone to show up. We tried a Wood Aged Margarita and a Swindler, which was a very tasty mix of apple pie moonshine, Fireball whiskey, and housemade sour, with a cinnamon stick for garnish. It tasted like the filling of an apple pie – so yummy!
Once the group was all there, we started with several appetizers, and first up was a plate of Smoked Wings (with an 8-spice rub and served with chipotle buttermilk sauce for dipping). Patti, our site’s wing expert, proclaimed them among the best she’s ever had. they were spicy, and the sauce was a nice difference from the normal blue cheese dressing, with a little bit of heat that complemented the wings.
Next was Oven-Baked Pizza Dip, which we nicknamed NOMNOMNOMNOM, because it was so delicious that our mouths were too full to talk about it. In the skillet is a combination of buffalo mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, tomato sauce, and spices that you spoon on top of garlic toasted focaccia bread. We all proclaimed this one our favorite and fought over the last bits in the skillet.
A wood box was then set in front of us, and inside were a pile of fried onion rings, with sides of Tony Roma’s BBQ sauce and horseradish aioli to dip the rings in. This “Box O’ Onion” was tasty, and we liked the presentation.
Next was a Chop Salad with Shrimp that included avocado, grape tomatoes, feta cheese, bacon, focaccia croutons, and Vidalia onion dressing.
We were then brought a trio of skillet dishes to sample. The Baked Mac & Cheese was our favorite, with Wisconsin White cheddar and topped with crispy Asiago breadcrumbs. It was creamy but not heavy.
Skillet #2 had brussel sprouts roasted with bacon and pine nuts and drizzled with a dark balsamic glaze. I’m not normally a fan, but this was good. Skillet cornbread, with real corn in it, rounded out the trio, and it was paired with maple butter and jalapeno jam to eat with it.
While we were enjoying all this food, they started bringing out platters of entrees for us to try. First up was a 14oz bone-in KC Strip steak, done medium and served with roasted fingerling potatoes and au jus. Carnivores will love this grass-fed & hormone-free steak. It also came with a side of puffy rolls.
Another entree was a pan-seared Alaskan cod crusted with house made BBQ potato chip breading, and served with a mixed veggie hash and a salad of pearl couscous and red quinoa.
Smoked baby back ribs arrived, as well, served with apple cider slaw and matchstick potatoes. It was slathered in Tony Roma’s BBQ sauce and there was a lot of meat on each rib. Several people switched to coffee around this time, too. Loved the presentation.
We barely had room for dessert, but we sacrificed for you, the reader, and sampled the two that were set in front of us.
The Ricotta Cheesecake was served with a strawberry-blackberry mixture, and it was so good. Light and not too sweet. Definitely enough to share.
Finally, we encountered what the restaurant calls Chocolate Mayhem. We got a large portion to share, but it’s also served as a half portion, as well. It lived up to its name, featuring chocolate cake with carmel bourbon sauce, Kahlua mousse, coffee ice cream, triple chocolate ice cream, choco-espresso beans, and Snickers pieces, just because.
We all had to be rolled out of the restaurant, but we can attest that this new menu is a winner. There wasn’t one dish we tried that we didn’t like, and that’s rare.
Prices are reasonable, too. Most appetizers and sides were between $5 and $12, and our entrees ranged from $18 to $34 (for the steak).
Tony Roma’s: Fire Grill & Lounge is located at 7015 S. Semoran Blvd, just north of the airport entrance. For hours and full menus, visit tonyromas.com. I’ve heard the I-Drive location may be the next to be transformed.
Thanks to Tony Roma’s and Sunshine Baker for a wonderful evening of great food!
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