Sunday, April 17, 2016

A taste of the tropics on Orlando's International Drive: Tommy Bahama Restaurant's new offerings

There's nothing more taxing than a Central Florida native like myself forcing himself to endure the tacky tourist onslaught that is Orlando's International Drive area. But there's nothing more relaxing than a visit to the area's Tommy Bahama Restaurant. The chilled, casual Caribbean elegance is an oasis among the cacophony of I-Drive. It's one of my favorite restaurants in Orlando to relax, enjoy a cocktail, soak up some sun on the patio and enjoy a fantastic meal. It's the whole package for relaxing.

Executive Chef Matthew Oakley recently introduced several new additions to the Tommy Bahama Orlando menu, and I was invited out to my little slice of tropical paradise to get a taste. You know I couldn't say no.

Let's start the meal with two new appetizers: new plantain crusted Fried Green Tomatoes ($11) were a tropical spin on a southern classic. The thick cut tomatoes had a very nice crunchy crust and the jalapeno cilantro aioli was rich and spicy.

The Filet Mignon Flatbread ($15) appetizer was a definite treat topped with bacon, garlic aioli, honey roasted onions, Gruyere and crispy shiitake mushroom slices.

A refreshing salad course featuring a Grapefruit and Jicama Salad ($8)$27.50) was next, and it was wonderful with red cabbage, macadamia nuts and a mojito vinaigrette.

Before I forget, let me mention the cocktails at Tommy Bahama - they're awesome. A fruity, tropical drink is great anywhere, anytime, but sitting on the sunny patio, they really hit the spot. The two new drinks I tried were the Pineapple Paradisio (Bacardi Pineapple, St-Germain Elder flower, Creme de Banana, Scratch Sour and Pineapple) and a Hibiscus Lime Cooler (Ketel One, Cointreau,Pineapple, Hibiscus Syrup and Lime).

For the main course, I sampled an awesome shrimp filled pasta dish and an Italian sea bass plate. Both were delicious.

The Roasted Prawn Pappardelle Pasta ($27.50) was served in a lemon Parmesan broth with a citrus gremolata and fresh herbs. The Pan Seared Whole Branzion ($32) was seared with brown butter and served with a Jicama Hash. The presentation was fantastic on this dish, but it tasted even better.

To top all this offer, the new Brown Butter Blondie ($9.50) dessert was simply wonderful -- rich, buttery and not too sweet. Served with vanilla bean ice cream, the brownie/blondie was topped with Hawaiian sea salt caramel, white chocolate mouse and toasted macadamia nuts.

These new menu additions are for a limited time, but sometimes the best of the best end up on the menu permanently. So get out there to taste, and let Tommy Bahama know which dishes you liked best. I, myself, liked them all.

New menu items: 5 tropical breezes out of 5

Note: I dined compliments of Tommy Bahama

Tommy Bahama Restaurant
Pointe Orlando
9101 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

Tommy Bahama's Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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