Red wah? You’ve never heard of this place? Well, it’s not surprising. This restaurant is more of a road side shack in Lake County. You know, the county west of Orange County, Florida. There is civilization west of Orlando, you know. The great folks of Lake County may totally disagree with labeling this place as a shack.
I’ll rephrase my label and explain. Here are rough directions: Take Highway 50 (Colonial Dr.), west, past Clermont, pass US 27, keep going towards Groveland. Houses get sparse, population gets thin and animals graze lazily. Make a left on FL. 33, going south and the restaurant is about 2 miles on the left. There are large open land, spotted houses and farms. This is open Florida farm country. Driving up to this place, the first impression is a shack. But upon entering, it looks more like a hunting lodge. The long counter is flanked by two separate large rooms with large tables. Stuffed animals adorn the walls along with plaques from various food competitions. The atmosphere is family casual. After all this is farm country. A couple of farm hands may occupy one table while the next would have a family, while the next would be people seeking game meat, like me.
The menu here is fairly straight forward. Soups, salads, burgers, main courses and desserts. So why am I here? Game! They have Elk, Buffalo, Alligator, Frogs, Quail, Venison…..and road kill. Their menu says road kill and there is a sign above the counter that says Road Kill Cafe. Joke was on me. There really is no road kill. Silly willy! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not everything is served all day long. However, if asked nicely I’m sure they will accommodate. We dug in.
Beef and Barley Soup – was hearty with fresh crunchy vegetables. The consistency was spot on not too watery, not too thick. Seasoning was just right.
Crispy Gator Tail – Breading on the meat was generous allowing the meat to shine. However, it was not crispy as it’s namesake. Although, I rather liked it this way. I don’t care much for crispy batter where the meat is unidentifiable. Gator was tender and supple. No that is not a live gator head.
Buffalo Fried Frog Legs – soft tender meat that fell right off the bone. No gaminess. Since this is the only preparation, I had to settle for it. It would have been nice to have another option rather than Buffalo sauce which I felt drowned the meat flavor.
Country Fried Steak Plate -steak pulverized unidentifiable meat hidden under too much batter, drowned in gravy. Where is the steak? Left me a little wanting.
Hunter’s Platter – Truth be told, this is what I came for. Grilled venison chops were cooked to perfection. The meat was tender, succulent and flavorful, not gamey at all. Boar sausage was slightly gamey, flavorful and well seasoned. Roasted quail was tender and a delight to tear off the tiny bones. All of these meat could have done without the dousing of gravy. Saltiness of the gravy covered any kind of distinct meat flavors. Next time I am ordering gravy on the side.
I thoroughly enjoyed this place, it’s atmosphere, it’s feel and most of all it’s food. Service was attentive and joyful. There is something to be said about service in Lake County, everyone is always so nice, genuine and pleasant. If Circa 1940s decor is not your thing, look pass that and taste the food. This is true Florida country cuisine at it’s finest. There are several things on this menu that will make me drive out to the Florida back roads again. You should too.