The Rusty Spoon

The Rusty Spoon

Aug 07

Logo for the Rusty Spoon

After much wishing and hoping (and a bit of drooling over the menu posted online), Laura and I finally made it to The Rusty Spoon, located in the ground floor of the 55 West building on Church Street. Owned and operated by the same good folks who make the delectable gourmet burgers at Pine Twenty2, The Rusty Spoon classifies itself as a “gastropub,” a new-ish term for a restaurant that serves high-end beer and food. To me, it’s just a good restaurant, no category needed.

The menu is full of terms like “crudites,” “carpaccio,” and “confit,” which is great if you watch Iron Chef as often as Laura and I, but mostly it just makes the food seem fancy, which it certainly is. Almost invariably at least one ingredient in each dish comes from the Central Florida area, though some come from as far away as Georgia (and surely others are just standard and nationally-distributed). The atmosphere is fairly casual, catering to the club-goers and Amway Center visitors alike, with large photos of animals, food, and farms printed on canvas hanging on tall, industrial-type walls; exposed (CFL) light bulbs hanging from the rafters; and napkins held by the expertly bent handles of spoons.

But enough about all this “ambience,” what about the food? As is our usual custom these days, Laura and I opted to try a collection of small plates, rather than entrees. Between the two of us we had:

  • Fancy greens salad with a whole roasted Georgia peach stuffed with orange blossom mascarpone and drizzled with a house-made red wine vinaigrette
  • Lake meadow eggs stuffed with tapenade, herbs and roasted tomatoes (think really fancy deviled eggs)
  • Roasted farmers market vegetables (zucchini, squash, tomatoes, spinach and lots of garlic)
  • Macaroni and cheese with a crushed cornflake topping
  • Grilled caesar salad with house-made dressing (not the creamy kind)

The peach salad was absolutely to die for, and it made me wonder why on Earth we have never whipped mascarpone cheese with honey. Overall, the dish was quite sweet, but that was a huge benefit for the two of us. Likewise, the stuffed eggs were incredibly delicious, though not sweet; we swore after our first taste that we would never make “pedestrian” deviled eggs again!

The roasted vegetables were good, cooked well and extremely flavorful, but the chef had a really heavy hand with the garlic, too much in my opinion.

I thought at first that the mac & cheese was heavenly, but the more I ate, the more I realized my initial reaction was due to the fact that I hardly ever get real butter, real cream and real cheese at home. By the end of the dish, I decided it was good, but nothing to write home about. Cornflake topping, however, was a wonderful addition.

The grilled caesar was quite large and fresh, with house-made croutons – always a hit with us – although the dressing was a bit bland and unexpected. Typically, we look for a creamy caesar dressing that carries a hint of anchovy (or more, depending on the chef), but this particular caesar had a more authentic dressing that was more like a vinaigrette.

Overall, our experience was really great, and we’ll definitely be going back to sample another round of dishes at The Rusty Spoon. Laura and I paid $58 for our six small plates, a glass of wine and a draft beer. If you go on the weekend, you may be treated (as we were) to some live music, and you can also get your parking ticket from the Plaza parking garage validated, so that you only pay $2.50 (instead of the usual $10). What a steal!

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