We celebrated my husband's 64th birthday at Emeril's Tchoup Chop at Royal Pacific Resort. Three years ago we had celebrated his 61st birthday at Emeril's at City Walk, and as fabulous as that meal was it pales in comparison to our experience this year.
We were seated at a prime table in front of the enormous exhibition kitchen on comfortable low back banquettes. The restaurant has beautiful stylish decor with a galaxy of colors and a glorious bar. Everything is open and expansive with great views.
Our waiter, Arby, was cordial, attentive, and professional. Because it was a special occasion, they started each of us off with a small divided plate, with a small square of golden beet with goat cheese and a small slice of rare tuna in a frothy root vegetable purée with white corn. Next, they brought out a large basket of crisp shrimp chips, with a Thai peanut sauce. The shrimp chips are light as air and are made with dehydrated shrimp, potato rice flour, and seasoned with togarashi, a Japanese spice blend.
We chose a 2013 Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand which was crisp and very food friendly. We shared three small plates of robata: Japanese eggplant on a bed of pickled cabbage with chili mint sauce, white and green grilled asparagus with ponzu, and shishito peppers with lime.
Our entrees included a magnificent cedar paper wrapped salmon with a guava barbecue glaze and edamame, okra, and corn succotash, the wolf fish special with quinoa, bok choy, roasted tomatoes, and roasted mango, and a 14 oz. rip eye surf and turf, with grilled scallops and shrimp. I start to salivate just thinking about how good the food was, and our college student son was determined to eat every single bite of his steak because he said he had no idea when he would ever eat the good a steak again. (At $52 for his entree, I'm sure he was right!)
Diminutive Chef Duffy came out to meet us and brought my husband a fabulous dessert platter with three desserts: a fruit and brandy tart, a banana cream pie with dark chocolate shavings, and small flakey pastry bites with whipped cheesecake in the middle that we dipped in an mango-Liliko sauce. It was a dessert platter to die for.
If you can only afford one splurge meal in Orlando, Emeril's Tchoup Chop is the place to have it. I can't understand why it is not in the top five - because it should be!
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