A Review of K Restaurant and Wine Bar in Orlando, FL
A few months ago, I attended a media preview for the United Way 2015 Chef’s Gala and got to sample some gnocchi, pork ragu, house made ricotta cheese, and fried basil, prepared by local chef and restauranteur Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Wine Bar. Because of the quality and flavor of this dish, I picked K Restaurant for my Mother’s Day dinner, which took place about a week before Mother’s Day. I decided to skip taking photographs at the restaurant because I didn’t want to disturb the enjoyment of the meal for myself or for others.
Arriving at K Restaurant in the College Park Neighborhood
K Restaurant is located in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood, on a quiet street surrounded by old houses, shops, and trees. The outside of K Restaurant is modest yet welcoming in appearance. Once you park in the gravel lot, you can peek behind the restaurant to find a charming vegetable garden strung with lights.
The Look of K Restaurant
Outside the front door was a large wrap-around porch for outdoor dining. The restaurant building appeared to be a renovated home, presumably built quite a few decades ago, which gave it a cozy residential charm. The hostess appeared at the podium mere moments after we walked through the door. She greeted us and led us to our table in a small room toward the back. There was another room located to the front of the restaurant with additional seating. The restaurant décor was pleasant but not overly fancy. I liked the less formal style, because it kept the room from feeling too stiff.
The Service at K Restaurant
Our waiter was just the right level of friendly: neither too distant nor overbearing. His overview of the menu was actually helpful and didn’t sound pretentious or condescending. He (and the other floor staff) were very good at knowing when to appear to refill drinks or clear plates, and when not to intrude. Like the décor, the tone of the service helped you relax and enjoy the meal without worrying about which fork to use.
What We Chose from the K Restaurant Menu
We started out with one of the signature appetizers, the fried green tomato stack with crab salad. The use of whole grain mustard in the crab salad reminded me (in a good way) of my mother’s Southern-style chicken salad. I can see why the stack is a signature item. It’s an appealing combination of crunchy and soft, hot and cold, savory and slightly sweet. All of these aspects are well harmonized, plus the flavors are familiar enough not to intimidate your average diner. Would I order it again? Sure! I’d also like to try one of the more adventurous first courses as well.
The lobster mac & cheese had large pieces of lobster, cherry tomatoes, and a wonderful cheese sauce that trailed long strands of melted cheese each time you lifted your fork from the bowl. The fresh cherry tomatoes balanced out the richness of the cheese and added contrasting notes of sweetness and acidity. However you might imagine the ideal lobster mac & cheese, this dish would have lived up to your expectations. I’d certainly order this again.
The Wagyu beef tri-tips were cooked sous-vide, rendering them very tender. The red wine sauce was a good complement, and the taste of truffles was prominent. The only drawback was that the saltiness of the beef teetered on the edge of overwhelming the other flavors. I’d be curious to try this again to see if the Wagyu tri-tips are always that salty, or if this was an unusual occurrence.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very hard on desserts. I bake from scratch at home almost every other day, and I’d rather skip dessert than eat a mediocre one. Thankfully, the sweets at K Restaurant are in good hands. I took a risk in bypassing a crowd favorite (French toast bread pudding) in favor of a rum cake with cinnamon ice cream. Unlike most restaurant desserts, it wasn’t tooth-achingly sweet, and it showed as much of a sense of flavor as the main courses. The addition of mango, pineapple, and granola added the perfect taste and texture accent alongside the cake and ice cream. I would happily come back, order the entire dessert menu, and call it dinner.
Who Should Go to K Restaurant?
Go to K Restaurant if you enjoy gourmet food served in a setting that is upscale yet homey. K Restaurant is romantic enough for a date night, yet laid back enough for lunch or dinner with family and friends. The prices are reasonable considering the high quality of cuisine. I’m already looking forward to my next visit. Here’s hoping that I can fit in a few more desserts next time!