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A Wake-Up Call

The Boheme shows that hotel restaurants are much more than just glitz.

The Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando prides itself on bringing together high-class and eclectic works of art for its in-house galleries. This artful theme extends to The Boheme restaurant, located steps from the piano lounge that is complete with an Imperial Grand Bösendorfer piano; one of only a handful in the world. This is where guests can enjoy a few drinks at the bar area before dinner as well as some of Central Florida’s hottest jazz musicians on the weekends. Inside the dining space, lush red velvet banquettes, white tablecloths and sheer draperies create a unique environment paired with a Florida-inspired menu that sets a romantic and sultry vibe.

My recent trip with my wife took place on an early Friday evening and the piano lounge was lively as always. Once we made our way to the table, our server Roberto quickly greeted us and detailed the menu’s highlights as well as the nightly specials. 

As we digested the information from our knowledgeable server, we ordered a couple specialty cocktails to get things started. I wisely chose the White Oak Aged Manhattan ($17), which uses Basil Hayden bourbon that has been barrel- aged for 30 days before being blended with Carpano Vermouth, blood orange liqueur and chocolate bitters. The familiar flavors were given a bit of intrigue thanks to the unique ingredients, making this libation one to remember. My wife ordered a flight of rosé ($13), which showcased three varying styles of the wine, each one crisp and serving as an elegant palate pleaser.

As the restaurant began to fill up, we noticed Roberto had been stretched a bit thin, bouncing from table to table. No matter, his level of exceptional service did not skip a beat as this maestro of multitasking was as cool and crisp as the rosé.

We ordered the Escargots De Bourgogne ($13), baked in garlicky parsley butter and served with a baguette. This popular French delicacy of cooked snails isn’t something you see on many menus these days, so we jumped at the chance to rekindle an old flame. The escargots were tender and the garlic butter was equally as pleasing, practically calling out to be sopped up by the baguette.

The huge pile of Calamari ($16) came topped with jalapeños, pequillo peppers, capote capers, Meyer lemon, oregano and a Moroccan harissa sauce, creating a flavor profile unlike any other I have experienced. The combination of ingredients was eye opening and even though the squid could have used a bit more time in the fryer, we showed no restraint in demolishing the plate. I would come back just for this dish—it was that good.

The Boheme is known for their 28-day aged steaks and their signature coffee rub, but I decided to go with the Colorado Lamb T-Bone ($34). I have never seen this on a menu and I was still on a high from the calamari, and since this also had Moroccan-spiced influence, I thought why not let the culinary wanderlust continue. The two lamb T-bones were small but mighty, and plenty of spices packed into their tiny frames. The tomato and green olive salad proved to be a worthy companion for the lamb and the marbled potatoes smoothed out the whole dish.

My wife had the Beef Tenderloin Au Poivre ($37) and the dish came with a Dijon mustard sauce that was undeniably addictive. The delicate sauce was more than just a small co-star on this plate that was rounded out with rainbow carrots and a truffle cauliflower mash.

As our evening was winding down, Roberto inquired if we would be interested in a digestif or perhaps some dessert. I had already set my sights on the Nutella Lava Cake ($11) and he suggested we have it “à la mode.” It paired nicely both with coffee and a 20-year port. I was not overly wowed though by the dessert, as it was simply lava cake with a smear of Nutella on the bottom. It would have been interesting to see the Nutella as the lava flow instead. Still, a great dessert and I must once again mention Roberto for his unbelievably attentive and professional service. He has set the bar for the rest of Orlando’s fine dining landscape.

The Boheme is more than just a restaurant tucked into a hotel; it is one of the area’s true gems. From the well-prepared, quality food to the high level of service and attention to detail, it’s a dining experience that any gourmand would appreciate. And who knows, you may just want to get a room for the weekend so you can stick around for their dynamite Sunday brunch as well.

The Boheme
325 S. Orange Ave. | Orlando
(407) 581-4700

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s September 2018 issue.

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