The city of Orlando offers a lot of options for dining you just can’t find on Disney property many of which are worth a trip out of the Disney bubble. As part of our new series “Off-D Eats” we’ll be exploring nearby (and some not so nearby) dining options. We’re inaugurating this series with one of Orlando’s best steakhouses. Its location is a bit unconventional but the food could go up against any Orlando location.
Stefano’s Italian Chophouse is the restaurant of Chef Stefano Tedeschi and his wife Mary. Although it’s located in what is essentially a strip mall, the atmosphere inside in pleasant and perfect for groups large or small, even special occasions.
I was attending as part of an invited group of local foodies as part of an Orlando My Way Dines event. We were provided a sampling of items from the menu ending with the restaurant’s signature dish – the tomahawk chop steak. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
You may have seen Chef Stefano hosting a cooking demonstration at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival (one of the few local chefs invited to demo a dish). He has a larger than life personality and has been on TV on both local and national shows. He’s also a perfectionist who believes that if you’re going to do it, do it right. This comes through in his passion and his food.
We began with appetizers of House-Made Sausage (just the right amount of spice and a delicious sauce) and Fried Zucchini (thinly sliced, light and flavorful) with remoulade. The Zucchini was a surprise and was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.
Up next was a small dish of Penne a la Vodka. The vodka sauce was just over the line of spicy, which is how I like. Frankly, I would have been fine just devouring a whole bowl of this stuff, but there was a lot more ahead that evening.
Up next large platters of Crab Stuffed Halibut was delivered to the table. The capers in the sauce were a nice touch, and the whole dish worked well together with the crab and the halibut complimenting each other wonderfully. I could have eaten a lot more of the fish too.
Also served was veal in spicy tomato sauce and chicken Milanese.
Finally, we reach the main course of the evening — the much-prized tomahawk cut. Chef Stefano carved it table side into tender morsels, perfectly seasoned and delicious with or without sauces. It’s a chophouse, so if it couldn’t do a Porter House right, it wouldn’t even be worth writing about. No worries there. This cut and the presentation was out of the world.
The final act was a trio of desserts that were as equally outstanding as the entrees. A chocolate cake with, traditional cannoli, and a coconut cake cake that converted me from a skeptic to a believer.
At the end of the night we sat with Chef Stefano, drank Grappa and Limoncello, and talked about his life, career, family. He’s happy to have found a place in Dr. Phillips that he can present his passion for food to others.
Those who know about Stefano’s Grill know what a find it is. Those who have yet to discover it will leave with a new passion for Stefano’s food. So if you’re in town and want a great meal, consider the short drive to Dr. Phillips and visit Stefano’s Grill.
Stefano’s Grill is located at 7512 Dr Phillips Blvd in Orlando (in the Marketplace at Dr Phillips). For directions or more information, visit stefanosgrill.com.
Disclaimer: I am employed by the same company that owns Orlando My Way. Additionally, I was invited guest to this dinner. However, all opinions here are my own.