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How to win friends and influence people? Bring them to The Drake

“You don’t win friends with salad,” the saying goes.

But the salads at The Drake are possible to win chef/homeowners Heberto and Rona Segura as many friends as their hand-cut frites, about which I’ve waxed poetic — arguably to the purpose of prosaic — for years. And so, again to the greens. For now.

Most of what you’ll discover in these beautiful seasonal bowls was grown in and across the metropolis. 4Roots Farm. Everoak. Others. And they’ve been a pleasant departure for this 2021 Best Food Truck winner in the Sentinel’s Foodie Awards, which lastly has the room to play in an area that the tiny Duck & Drake Kitchen trailer, even with the supernaturally expert cooks in its kitchen, couldn’t handle.

Duck & Drake Kitchen is killing it in College Park

The truck remains to be cozy, by the way in which, serving the all time wine bar mop-up meals from its everlasting parking spot exterior of Digress Wine in College Park. Balancing time between that and The Drake (an idea Segura told me they’d been planning for back in 2021) has been difficult — like so many different operators, they’ve struggled with staffing — however rewarding.

“It’s going fantastic over here!” he advised me of their new downtown enclave with its winding form and heat, up to date really feel. “Everyone’s loving the space, the menu options have been well received. People in this neighborhood have told us they’ve been looking for something unique, and we feel like we’ve been filling the niche.”

And increasing the culinary footprint.

Longtime Duck & Drake followers will acknowledge a lot — terrines, charcuterie, Wagyu sliders, these fries — however right here, the repertoire expands.

Comforting Prime Beef meatballs ($15) steeped in earthy mushroom confit and a wealthy foie gras emulsion, heady with spices — cardamom, anise. It’s a Segura-level departure from the anticipated red-sauce providing, served with calmly grilled slices of the spectacular house-baked sourdough you’ll discover elsewhere on the menu.

On the opposite finish of the app spectrum, brilliant Gulf Coast cobia ($19), merely cured with citrus-scented salt, rests in a lightweight and pretty mignonette that’s a tomato-y tackle leche de tigre. Locally grown rainbow radishes and fennel spherical out the contemporary catch, whereas Segura’s Caribbean roots present up within the type of skinny, crisp plantain chips.

Shareable is the order of the home, although my lunch companion would have stored the Broken Egg to himself if given the selection. This one’s on each lunch and dinner menus ($18) and if I’ve to offer you a don’t miss, this one’s it.

The prize on your fries: Up your ketchup game with fun artisan versions

Get your pics when the factor hits the desk — a composed plate that includes crisp, scorching papas bravas in a stunning pool of Calabrian chili brava sauce and a pile of thin-sliced Lady Edison ham from North Carolina. Topped with a superbly fried duck egg, it’s a composition that begs to be destroyed. Mix it!

“That’s exactly what we want you to do,” says Segura. “Stir it up!”

Get a few of every factor, the ham, the yolk the sauce. The aioli will talk on religious ranges along with your garlic-loving soul, I promise.

These are heavier choices, admittedly, which is why these salads are so thrilling.

Available now, the Spring Fling salad (a steal for $12, in case you ask me) sits on a basis of pea-studded quinoa that’s piled excessive with stunning greens and bits of broccolini, child heirloom tomatoes and thin-sliced radish. Pickled cherries amid the grains are borderline hedonistic on this combine, a luscious kiss of candy acidity to counter the richness of a chickpea-based inexperienced goddess dressing. It’s acquired stability. Texture. Everything.

The downtown location, says Segura, sees the lunch crowd searching for lighter choices earlier than they head again to work, “but we’re definitely going to push the envelope.”

I received’t discuss up the winter salad an excessive amount of, but it surely introduced the identical recreation. Caramelized pepitas had been a standout characteristic. And whereas my lunch pal absconded with 95 p.c of our leftovers, I packed the final little bit of the Spring salad right into a field. Unbelievably, it was pretty much as good, perhaps higher, the following day.

You received’t have the identical possibility with the chocolate budino ($12). This decadent, double chocolate cream is among the many new gems from Rona Segura’s mighty treasure chest of pastry prowess.

Lightly spiced, accented with a dollop of buttery-perfect scorching espresso caramel, it’s a spoonable mocha. Sumptuous. Sexy.

“Rona has her ways,” her husband tells me. “She’s very passionate about what she does.”

It reveals up within the bread, too, additionally Rona’s realm. Pizza crust. Bruschetta-like slices. The ciabattino on which the toasted mortadella panino ($18), a lunchtime goodie, is served. Alongside the wealthy meat and mozz combo, one other tiny salad, lemony and brilliant, cuts the fats like an murderer’s stiletto.

Soon, says Segura, Sunday suppers will permit diners to get pleasure from 4 programs of snug, cozy, family-style eating for one worth (“between $50-65 per person, depending on ingredients and dishes,” he tells me). I’d decide in for positive. Be looking out for a killer Industry Night, as nicely.

“We’re kicking around ideas, but we’re really excited,” he tells me. “Our goal has always been to do something a little different, and we feel like with how great Orlando’s culinary scene is going, it deserves a hospitality night that’s on that level, too.”

I’d have an interest to see what can high the $6 Happy Hour pricing on town’s greatest frites (often $10). Enduringly crisp with a creamy middle, these double-fried delights are, in a phrase, good.

If the salad right here wins friends, the fries are highly effective sufficient to influence individuals. Mostly to eat extra fries — however amid the decadent and superbly executed choices right here, it’s a potent assertion.

Find me on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter or Instagram @amydroo or on the OSFoodie Instagram account @orlando.foodie. Email: [email protected], For extra foodie enjoyable, be a part of the Let’s Eat, Orlando Facebook group.

If you go

The Drake Kitchen + Bar: 361 N. Rosalind Ave. in Orlando, 407-776-3333; thedrakeorl.com

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