Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Dining Touchdown: David's Club at Omni Orlando ChampionsGate Resort Review

Surrounded by 36 lush holes of golf, and behind those enormous gates off I-4 in Davenport, sits the Omni Orlando Resort. I've driven by hundreds of times on the way to Tampa but I've never had the chance to enter the gates of the exclusive golf resort. Until now.

I was recently invited to sample the "ingredient of the month" at David's Club inside the Omni Resort and I dined on a college football packed Saturday night. There might not be a better place in the Orlando area to grab a great meal, relax with drinks and friends, play some pool, and, of course, sit back in comfy leather chairs and enjoy the game on the giant televisions around the restaurant and lounge area.

The featured ingredient for September was snapper, and Executive Chef Robert Ash informed me that he sources his snapper from waters surrounding Florida and pays particular attention to sourcing other menu ingredients locally as well. It's obvious to Chef Ash that freshness matters, and it was obvious from the first bite to the last that the menu revolves around freshness and seasonal ingredients.

I started my snapper tour with a Snapper Ceviche ($11). The snapper was firm, flaky and tender like only a lime marinate can "cook" fish. The fish was tossed with jalapeno, tomato, cilantro and lime caviar. The juicy vessels added a punch to the dish that I really liked.

Next on the featured menu I sampled the Smoked Snapper ($13) in a lime crema with capers, chives, red peppers, fresh cilantro and crispy brioche toast for dipping. Another great snapper dish and perfect dip for football.

Traditionalists, this is your dish. You don't see this kind of cooking everywhere these days but I really appreciated the thought and care that went into the Snapper en Papillote ($25) featuring Lane Snapper, carrots, potatoes, chayote and lavender cooked in a white wine butter sauce inside a parchment bag. A delicate piece of fish deserves the elegant flavors and an intricate preparation of this dish. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

My favorite snapper dish of the night had to be the Blackened Snapper ($27). To be honest, I love anything blackened, but especially a nice piece of fish. This Lane Snapper was a nice piece of fish and atop a black bean spread, topped with a peach salsa and served with delicious corn arepas, this was the snappiest snapper of the evening.

Dessert was snapper free but amazing in its own right. The Peaches N Crème ($8) was a delight. What a way to end the evening: grilled peaches served in a single-barrel bourbon anglaise and topped with spiced pecans. Lightly sweet from the carmelization on the grill, the peach taste and aroma was amped from the heat and cooled by the rich sauce. I loved it.

After dinner, my guest and I enjoyed a game of pool and sat a while in nice, comfy leather seats to watch some college football. The atmosphere was tasteful and clubby, but the patrons were casually dressed, if not a little rowdy from the college rivalries on screen. Service was attentive and professional. I liked the entire experience: great food, nice atmosphere (but not pretentious), fun crowd, reasonable prices and excellent service.

The featured flavor for October is Mango. Check in every month to see what exciting flavor Chef Ash has cooked up.

If you're willing to make the drive out, or are staying in the Disney area, I recommend David's Club at the Omni Orlando ChampionsGate for college football night, or any night.

4 ½ Touchdowns out of 5

David's Club
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate
1500 Masters Blvd.
Championsgate, FL 33896

Note: I dined compliments of David's Club.

David's Club on Urbanspoon

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