Saturated heavily with bar and club driven concepts, it seems like there really isn’t any good dining options worth it’s salt in Downtown Orlando. The Rusty Spoon surprises and changes that notion. Acclaimed Chef Kathleen Blake strives to deliver fresh, organic, locally sourced produce. This chef driven restaurant has definitely settled into it’s own and well worth the trouble of dealing with parking and club boppers. This is a great addition to Downtown Orlando restaurant scene.
Set under the famed 55 West building (is it still empty?), the restaurant commands a prime location on famous Church Street. Unfortunately for Orlando, we don’t really have many destination streets. But, Church Street seems to take that crown. There are a few sidewalk tables and a huge interior.
Being a historic building, the ceiling soars to infinity dotted with hanging pendant bulbs of varying lengths. Black ceiling with exposed ductwork and beams contribute to the allure that there really is no limit. The huge bar grounds the space which is semi divided into sections. Although it seems like a big open space, the designer managed to cluster tables into apparent sections suggesting privacy. Black and white wall scenes of farms and animals suggest the source of food, very organic. Within all the earthy and neutral tones there accents a terracotta colored wall that enters the kitchen.
The menu suggest locally sourced fresh produce from Palmetto Creek Farms, Waterkist Farm, Lake Meadow Naturals, Deep Creek Ranch, and Wild Ocean Seafood Market with seasonal items. Daily creations allow to really use the freshest of ingredients. The online menu showcases staples, while the daily inhouse menu adds scrumptious offerings. Catchy menu sections of First Plates, Leafy Greens, Handhelds, Sustenance and Sweet Finishes puts a spin on traditional names. Sadly, Sustenance is not offered at lunch. I wonder how the Downtown suit and ties manages with just Handhelds. Neither was a wine list offered. There must be someone in those office buildings who toss back a good glass of wine at lunch.
Charred Local Squid & Octopus – local rocket, shaved fennel, pomegranate seeds & oil cured olives. A marvelous helping of saltiness that opens the appetite. Generous seasoning makes this a bold starter.
The “55” – 1/2 lb of Grass-Fed Beef Stuffed with Bacon & Gruyere, Smothered with Onions, Rusty Aioli & Housemade Pickles on a Soft Roll. Aptly named for the tower it sits under. This tower is a gut fuller that does not leave room for anything else. The earthy texture of grass fed beef does ring a tall order.
Slow Braised Lamb – Jamison Farm Lamb, sweet onion & golden raisin jam with House Made Ricotta Salata on Toasted Moroccan Bread. Gamey lamb hints ring true to the real nature of lamb. The onion and raisin jam is a wonderfully delicious addition. Although, I may have the jam bottled and smeared on anything I eat in the future. Whatever slight nod to ancient Morocco with the bread transcends to the ancient land with this heavenly jam.
Given that it was lunch, service might have been a little on the casual side. Or maybe that is the vibe of the restaurant. Either way, the food makes up for any lacking. I can hardly wait for my next venture into Downtown territory to try the Sustenance menu. The Rusty Spoon is definitely serving up heaping spoonfuls.