Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Win Brunch for Two at Two Chefs Seafood

I am very excited to hear that Two Chefs Seafood & Oyster Bar in downtown Orlando is now serving brunch every Sunday from 11:30-3:00, starting July 12. I have had excellent food on two previous visits there for dinner, where I got to sample high-quality seafood dishes and the chefs' modern take on Southern cuisine (see review below). And Two Chefs is giving away Brunch for Two to two lucky Flavorful Excursions readers! Simply tag whom you would like to bring to brunch on our Facebook page or on Instagram at Flavorful Excursions, and we will randomly select one lucky winner on Friday, July 10, at 3:00 p.m. One entry per person, must live in Central Florida.

Of course, I would also highly recommend visiting the restaurant any day for lunch or dinner. Here is my recent review after my first visit to Two Chefs:

I had the best meal I have had in a long time at the new Two Chefs Seafood & Oyster Bar. I am usually very nervous when trying a brand new restaurant. It typically takes a while for management and staff to work out the kinks, and you really don't know if the food will be good. 

In this case, I had no worries at all. I had already heard that the two chef-owners are Bernard Carmouche, former culinary director for Emeril Lagasse's Florida restaurants and Larry Sinibaldi, former chef of The Palm restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel. Also, my friend Amy Gilbert, pastry chef at Emeril's Tchoup Chop, is a chef and pastry chef at this great restaurant.

Near the 7-Eleven on Colonial Drive, you almost miss Two Chefs, which is a small eatery in a renovated house. There is some parking in the back and on the side streets. The atmosphere is very inviting - not stuffy - with white butcher paper on the tables instead of white linen tablecloths. The atmosphere almost fools you into thinking that you will be getting casual,
everyday food. 

That is certainly not the case here. While there are familiar Southern items on the menu like baked oysters, Shrimp Po'Boy and macaroni and cheese, the chefs have taken a very unique and fresh approach to each app, side and entree. We started with the Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, which was full-flavored. I love the smokiness from the sausage and appreciate the huge chunks of tender chicken in the gumbo. After eating gumbo in New Orleans, it has been so hard to find one I like in Orlando and now I have! Instead of Oysters Rockefeller, the chefs offered a delicious Baked Oysters app, which my husband was a little leery of because it includes Brie cheese fondue, bacon and toasted Panko bread crumbs. He was pleasantly surprised when he realized that the oyster flavor pairs perfectly with both the brie cheese and bacon.

Of course we had to try the Shrimp Po Boy. This is one of our favorite things to get when we go home to South Mississippi. The chefs fly in bread from New Orleans for the Po Boys, so we knew it was going to be great. The plentiful, lightly-breaded shrimp paired perfectly with the mayo, lettuce and lightly toasted bread. We will definitely be back for that sandwich! We also had the Fish Sandwich of the Day, which was red drum. Chefs in New Orleans and Mississippi know how delicious this fish is, but I never see it featured in Orlando restaurants. I was so happy to have it, and it was cooked nearly perfectly. The sandwich was great, but the housemade remoulade sauce was even better. 

We also wanted to try the unique sides. We had the Crispy Pancetta and Jalapeno Mac n Cheese with toasted Panko bread crumbs. We liked the kick from the jalapenos, and the flavor and texture of the pancetta. I think a different cheese would elevate this dish further; the cheese reminded me of macaroni and cheese you make at home, which is likely what the chefs were going for. Our favorite side was the Charred Okra with oven-dried tomatoes, lemon and basil. And this is from someone who doesn't like okra outside of gumbo and the fried okra. I couldn't get enough of this dish! The beautiful, light tomato broth paired perfectly with the firm - not mushy - okra.

Of course, we had to try dessert. It was so hard to choose from Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Cake, Creme Brulee and others, but we settled on the Banana Bread Pudding. We are so glad we did! Each bite was a mouthful of bliss. The pudding doesn't look as moist as it actually is. Once you bite into it, you realize that it is soaked in a delicious whisky anglaise. We loved this decadent, but light dessert!

Where: 743 N. Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Fla.

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