Out and About: Trying the Summer Menu at the New Marlow’s Tavern in Waterford Lakes

Earlier this week, I joined my fellow Orlando bloggers at Marlow’s Tavern in Waterford Lakes to try them out. This location is the brand’s third in the Orlando area, and it has been open only a week.

Marlow's Tavern in Waterford Lakes

We were seated on the covered outdoor patio, which was kept cool by overhead fans with misting capabilities. Offered a choice of drinks to sample, my friend Joan chose the Grapefruit Ricky, a crisp tangy drink made with Smirnoff Vodka, fresh grapefruit and lime, and St. Germaine. She really enjoyed it.

I tried for the white Sangria, but since they were out, I went with General Manager Michael Russo’s recommondation and tried the Blueberry Buck. Made with Blueberry vodka, fresh lime, simple syrup, ginger beer and topped with shaved nutmeg, I found the drink sweet and crisp, but not cloying. A nice summer drink.

The menu at Marlow’s Tavern features classic American Tavern fare, updated and with a twist. It is usually changed up three times a year. We sampled three appetizers, and three entrees from the summer menu.

Aspagus Fries were the first to arrive at our table. I have to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the vegetable, but these were really good! They took thin asparagus, lightly battered them, and then fried them, serving them with a tarragon/citrus aioli. At $6 a serving, I’d order one just for myself.

JT’s Kettle Chips arrived in a Jenga-like tower on the plate. Crispy housemade potato chips were covered in Gorgonzola cheese, bacon, roma tomato, and scallions. It was good, but not being a fan of blue cheeses, I think my table mates enjoyed this one far more than I did.

The Shrimp and Crab Nacho Plate came out next, made with tortilla chips covered in rock shrimp, crab, pepper jack cheese, and fresh jalapeno. Having seafood allergies, I couldn’t even try this one, but there were lots of yummy noises from the others. Joan said she’d come to Marlow’s Tavern just to have this dish again.

We then progressed to the entrees. Shrimp and Grits were next, served with a twist. Normally I see this Southern dish with the shrimp sitting on top of a bowl of creamy grits. Marlow’s Tavern switches up the dish by adding cheese to the grits and then deep frying them into little rectangle cakes. They and the shrimp are then placed on a base of spinach sitting in a roast tomato beurre blanc (a roasted tomato and butter sauce). Every one was enjoying the dish, and I thought I’d have to sit this one out, too, but then they brought me an individual dish minus the shrimp. Thanks Marlow’s! I have to tell you those grits cakes in the sauce were so yummy. Russo says this is one of their most popular dishes on the menu.

We then sampled the Tavern Burger and fries, a staple at the restaurant. It was a simple dish, but you could taste it was fresh hamburger, and not frozen.

Looking at the menu, they have several varieties on the burger, including a House-Made Black Bean Veggie burger for the non-carnivores. One of the other bloggers ordered it, and it camed topped with pickled carrots and cucumbers on a whole wheat bun. She said it was really good.

Our final dish was the Grilled Chicken Stack featuring two pieces of grilled Prestige Farms chicken on a bed of squash carbonara. I’d never had squash used as spaghetti before (yeah, yeah, I know) but again, not a fan of the veggie usually, I really enjoyed it. This is a good healthy dish to order if looking for something light.

What I am a huge fan of is Creme Brulee, and Marlow’s Tavern delivered for the evening’s finish. We had individual portions of the classic, made with Madagascar vanilla beans and with a top crisped perfectly. It was a total party in my mouth.

The inside of Marlow’s Tavern is comfortable with large leather booths, and dark wood accents. Russo told us the restaurant opens daily at 11:30am, but doesn’t have a set closing time. They are open late, but the exact time will be determined by the amount of customers they have. “If there are still people coming in, we’ll serve them,” said Russo.

That bodes well for patrons of the movie theater across the parking lot.

Overall, this is one of the best dining experiences I’ve had recently. There was nothing I hated or that wasn’t done right – kudos to Chef de Cuisine Matthew Tolson and his staff. In fact, most of the dishes I would order again. Prices are very reasonable: $6-$13 for appetizers; $9.50-$20 for entrees. They have a full bar, including a decent menu of craft beers. The staff was also very pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu.

Two thumbs up from me.

Marlow’s Tavern Waterford Lakes is located in east Orlando at 547 N. Alafaya Trail at the Waterford Lakes Town Center. They are across from the Regal Theater. There is a daily happy hour from 4pm to 7pm with $3 Domestic Drafts $4 Glasses of Select Wines $4 Premium Wells. They also have Girls Night Out Wednesdays from 5pm to close featuring $5 martini and appetizer specials. Live entertainment on the patio Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at 7pm.

I’m also told they will be hosting a Summer Celebration July 13-19, 2015. More info as I get it.

For more information, including other Orlando locations (I-Drive & Winter Park), visit marlowstavern.com.

Disclosure: I was invited to sample the menu for review purposes. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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