Last month on a visit home to Florida, I had the pleasure of tasting through the then recent offering of brunch at Orlando's Osprey Tavern. The brainchild of Chef Joseph Burnett, the Baldwin Park restaurant puts presentation at the forefront. From the interior's decor, to the plating, each aspect of The Osprey Tavern appeases the eyes and the taste buds. It's clear to see why this spot was recently named Orlando's Best New Restaurant.
Our meal started off with the restaurant's version of bread service. Osprey trades the linen-lined basket for a trolley where pastries like Everything Bagel buns, and seasonal selections like the Strawberry-Rhubarb Hand Pies arrive tableside for guests' viewing pleasure. The Pastry Trolley is hard to resist, so go ahead and get yourself four baked bites of your choice for $15.
Chef Burnett's background in graphic design is apparent in the plating of Osprey's food. Large white plates are the backdrop to bright colors and texture, and Chef's placement heightens even the simplest of ingredients. Example, the fresh Fruit Salad starter: melon, citrus, berries, peaches and a poppy seed crumble for crunch are served with a palate-cleansing cantaloupe sorbet, a nice beginning to the rest of the meal.
Our next dish was the Delta Asparagus. This seasonal vegetable is harvested by hand in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the world's best and most famous asparagus region. Paired with ramps, shaved parm and poached Florida rock shrimp brined in a blend of citrus, salt and sugar, this starter screams Spring and touts texture, acidity, color and freshness.
I'm not sure if it's the move to the Big Apple but if smoked salmon is on a breakfast/brunch menu, I'm having it. Osprey's Smoked Salmon Toast is topped with chive spread, cured-in-house salmon, hazelnuts, and roasted red AND golden beets-- one of my favorite vegetables. Also present are the familiar flavors of dill and lemon, which blended nicely with this dishes' otherwise unexpected flavors. I've dubbed this my go-to salmon and lox bagel's fancy cousin.
We concluded the meal with the Saffron Tagliatelle made with braised lamb shoulder, vierge--a French sauce made with olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomato and chopped basil--and minted yogurt. This pasta was definitely a surprise to see on a brunch menu, but it definitely did not disappoint. The flavor of lamb was balanced with piquancy from the vierge, the cooling tang of the yogurt and the crunch from the vegetables and micro greens. A standout dish that's plate-licking worthy and satisfying from beginning to end.
Florida friends, make your way over to The Osprey Tavern for a dining experience like no other. Thank you, Osprey Tavern for hosting me; I'll definitely be stopping by again on visit.
The Osprey Tavern
4899 New Broad Street, Orlando, FL 32814