There’s always one night during the conference when there’s no venue tours, the exhibit hall closes by 7 and we have the evening to ourselves. So we’re always looking for something fun and delicious to do for dinner.
Over the past couple of years we have become good friends with Jeff, Tom and Ed from Perlick, a company that provides refrigeration systems (wine coolers, keg fridges, suite fridges, etc). They’ve kind of become honorary members of CD4L, our college division group. Not because they have any specific tie to us, but just because they’re really fun! Jeff couldn’t come to the conference this year, so it was just Ed and Tom.
We decided to go to Spencer’s For Steaks & Chops for dinner. It’s right in the hotel, and is one of the top restaurants in Orlando and one of the top steakhouses in the country. The main dining room is all dark paneling, white tablecloths, and lots of wine glasses on the table. We were seated in a private room, which eventually proved to be a very smart idea. This was a beautiful space that seated 12, with large windows to outside and a full glass wall full of wine bottles. Even though we only ended up with a group of 7, I was glad they didn’t move us to a table in the main dining room. That would have been kind of boring. The below picture is from the website.
Our waiter, Scott, was fantastic. He immediately could sense that we were there to enjoy each other’s company and the food, and never made any attempt to rush our choices. He anticipated our needs very well, made excellent suggestions on each course of our meal, and was extremely knowledgeable.
Earlier in the day Krista and I had seen a sign for The Holy Land Experience theme park on our way back from our trip to U of Central Florida. We had no idea there was any kind of religious theme park anywhere. We joked about it, but when I looked it up online we were surprised at the size and scope of the park. When we were discussing it that evening at dinner, Scott told us that the owners of the park eat at Spencer’s frequently. If you’ve ever turned on Trinity Broadcasting Network (by accident or on purpose) you’ve seen them:
So anyways, on to the food and drinks. Ed and Tom ordered wine, but we figured we should order cocktails while we waited for the wine. Krista ordered a French 75. (champagne, Cointreau, gin, lemon juice) We all thought she was making it up. Scott also said he had never heard of it, but he went to the bar and appeared a few minutes later with the drink. I love a waiter who takes on a challenge full force.
With the bread came butter on a Himalayan salt block. I had never, ever heard of that before, but it was really cool, and definitely a conversation piece.
Apparently you can cook on it, but it takes a long time to get hot and the food can slip off the block pretty easily. But it’s a very cool way to impart salt to your food without going overboard.
Before we even ordered dinner, Scott came and discreetly closed the door to our private room. I knew we were kind of loud, but we were having a great time, and the restaurant only had a couple of tables full, so we really didn’t think about it. Not sure if we were disturbing the other guests or if he just pre-empted it, but it worked. I like that Scott just came and shut the door, and didn’t try to keep us quiet. I’m honestly not even sure how well that would have worked.
We all decided to skip the appetizers and go full force into the food. I went with the Spencer’s steak, the 14-oz boneless ribeye. I thought about the bone-in for a minute, but decided that might be a little too much. I added the crab & béarnaise sauce on top, at the suggestion of Scott.
My steak was phenomenal, but huge! It was perfectly cooked, and had so much flavor. I know the ribeye is probably the fattiest cut of meat, but that’s why I like it…the fat imparts tons of flavor to the final dish. I will say that the béarnaise sauce was too heavy for my tastes, and I ended up taking off most of it. I should have asked for it on the side. Actually, I should have done the Cabernet sauce, because Blair said it was amazing. And it looked more my style. But oh well, live and learn.
Like all of the high-end steakhouses, Spencer’s menu is all a la carte. Scott suggested that we get 3-4 sides to share because they are big. But since we’d had quite a bit to drink, we were deciding with our eyes instead of our stomachs. So we got 2 orders of the loaded hash browns, truffled creamed corn, asparagus, creamed spinach and fries. Yes, we went way overboard. I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures. Maybe because they’re all just basic sides. But they were all absolutely delicious. The hash browns were highly recommended, and we weren’t disappointed.
I can’t remember the exact part of the meal that this happened, but Ed got a little aggressive with his wine glass
Scott said this happens all the time, and not to worry about it.
As if we hadn’t been gluttonous enough already, for some reason we felt the need to get dessert. I honestly didn’t even know that anyone had ordered anything until they arrived on the table.
I have to say, the desserts were the least favorite part of the meal. They were a lot of fluff and not enough substance for my taste. Of the 3, the Apricot Chamomile was the best.
Will I go back? Well, it’s definitely a special occasion restaurant. But next time I’m in Orlando and am looking to celebrate that occasion, I certainly will.