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Let's Sample the Food and Drinks at the Grand Opening of Universal Orlando's NBC Sports Grill & Brew

October 23, 2015, 9:53 AM · Located near the Universal Studios Florida entrance at Universal CityWalk, the just-opened NBC Sports Grill & Brew aims to deliver high-quality food and sports in a sophisticated atmosphere. And with more than 100 different beers, more than 75 different menu items, close to 100 TV screens, and an iconic 120 foot-wide outdoor video screen, NBC Sports Grill & Brew does just that.

NBC Sports Grill & Brew exterior

We were invited to the restaurant's grand opening celebration last night, where we were able to sample the menu. With its dark warm colors, tons of TVs, and genuinely friendly staff the restaurant is inviting for every sports fan. Although not having individual TVs at each table, with the amount of TVs in this place, you’re bound to watch your favorite games. If you have a hard time seeing, just ask your server for some help.

NBC Sports Grill and Brew interior

The restaurant has a variety of delicious appetizers. First and foremost — their Chicken Wings ($11.99), a staple of all sport bars. The eight Wings are fire-grilled, not breaded or fried, and served with mild, medium or hot buffalo sauce, or lemon mojo. Although not exactly your Wacky Wing Wednesday price, I highly suggest them for any wing lover because they taste terrific.

Chicken Wings

Speaking of another sport bar staple... the Wisconsin Cheese Curds ($9.99) are a must for the cheese lovers. (Just don’t get your cholesterol checked until a week later.) A potentially reasonable alternative are the Deviled Eggs ($6.99) with paprika, chipotle, applewood smoked bacon. I could eat a handful of these eggs. The paprika gives it enough flavor without being spicy, and the crispy bacon adds a nice crunch.

Chicken Nachos

The Chicken Nachos ($12.99) are a great deal and perfect for the whole table to share. The nachos have pulled chicken, jalapeño queso, beans, pico de gallo, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and fresh jalapeños. Although the Crispy Rueben Rolls ($7.99) seem appetizing for some, stay away because it is wrapped in too much dough.

Ahi Tuna Crunch

The salads are big and filling. They are the best deals that will leave you satisfied along with the burgers. The Ahi Tuna Crunch ($15.99) is served with sushi grade tuna (partially raw inside), mixed baby greens, Asian slaw, crispy wontons, daikon sprouts, cashews, shiitake mushrooms, with soy vinaigrette dressing.


The Wisconsin Burger ($14.99) is served with Wisconsin cheddar, thick sliced bacon, butter Bibb lettuce, and oven-roasted tomato, on a toasted brioche bun. The natural beef burger is by far my favorite burger and can be served with French fries or tater tots (as with all burgers).

Grand Slam Burger

The featured burger was the Grand Slam Burger ($20 - above). The Burger has two half-pound beef patties, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, butter Bibb lettuce, tomato, crispy Tabasco onions, and barbecue ranch, on a toasted brioche bun. The burger is big enough for two people to share and could be considered a good deal for that reason alone. I must also mention that I was surprised how great the Lamb Burger ($15.99) was. It’s served with grilled red onions, feta cheese, Tziki sauce, and arugula, on toasted brioche bun. However, I would not give this a try unless you like lamb, especially ground lamb.

For vegetarians, the restaurant offers a Quinioa and Edamame burger ($13.99). It’s served with avocado, oven roasted tomatoes, greens, and roast pepper aioli, on a toasted multi-grain bun. There also ia the Grilled Vegetable Pasta ($13.99) with fresh grilled vegetables, roasted tomatoes, and artichokes, tossed with penne, garlic, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.

For pescatarians, the restaurant goes through a lot of fish. They have a grilled grouper sandwich ($14.99), grilled grouper as an entrée, served with Yukon gold potatoes ($28.99), Cedar Plank North Atlantic Salmon ($21.99), and Fish (Cod) Tacos ($17.99). All their grouper is fresh-caught and absolutely delicious.

One of the best deals for an entrée is the Truffle Mac & Cheese ($14.99). The Mac & Cheese comes with fusilli pasta, grilled chicken, bacon, forest mushrooms, three cheese, truffle oil, and toasted herb bread crumbs. It’s very satisfying. For those who want something different, the Bang-Bang Chicken ($14.99) is a good alternative. The Bang-Bang Chicken is prepared in Thai curry, with peanut, chile, coconut, and sautéed vegetables, and served with jasmine rice. I didn’t care that the chicken was breaded, but the curry was sweet and light.

One of my favorite dishes was the Smokehouse Beef Brisket ($19.99). The Brisket is slow roasted and smoked for 18 hours and served with their signature barbecue sauce, French fries, coleslaw, and corn bread. The Brisket does not need the barbeque sauce and could be eaten entirely alone. You could also ask for au jus or horseradish sauce. The corn bread was great as well.

The restaurant also serves a variety of steaks. The NY Strip ($39.99) was lean and cooked to a perfect medium rare. However, for $39.99, I’d rather go to a steakhouse and possibly order a petit filet. Many people raved about the Midwest Ribs ($24.99 for a full rack, or $16.99 for half), but I found them to be just okay. The ribs were a little too dry, and I am not a fan of their barbeque sauce because it has too much tomato and sweetness. The Combo ($23.99) has a half rack of ribs, Smokehouse Angus Beef Brisket, barbecue pulled pork, French fries, kettle grilled corn, and corn bread. It's a good deal for a lot of food.

The Combo

Their desserts are impressive. The Jumbo Banana Cake ($19.95) is a 7-layer cake with alternating layers of rich banana cake, fresh whole bananas, banana flavored cream and caramel, topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. The wedge of the Banana Cake conservatively serves 4 people. My favorite was the Strawberry Cheesecake ($7.95) served New York style with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Desserts

Lastly and my favorite, the drinks. What would NBC Sports Grill & Brew without the brews? The restaurant boasts 38 different drafts and 67 different bottles of beer. Their special brand of beer, “862” (named after the building’s project number) is brewed by the Florida Beer Company, who are also responsible for the Harry Potter and Duff beers. The 862 offers a IPA and a seasonal beer, each for $7.50. I am not a fan of hoppy beers, but this particular IPA made me a fan. The IPA is brewed with 4 different hops and has floral, citrus, grapefruit and pine aromas. It did have a hoppy taste, but it was well refined and no after taste. As far the seasonal, it’s brown ale with nutty overtones — a delicious beer that reminds me of the Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale, which is also great. However, my overall favorite was the Florida Beer Company Lager, which was gold in color with a sweet and slightly malty taste.

Beers

The restaurant also has its own Firkin barrel contained ale ($9.00). The beer was unavailable, but described to be a small batch of ale that is almost entirely brewed inside the barrel itself. The ale is brewed from hops and locally grown ingredients. It's something I am eager to go back and try.

Other draft beers range from $7 to around $9. Bottles range from $5.50 to $11, so you might as well stick with a draft. Fusion mixes are available for $8-$9. I highly suggest the Chocolate Razzle ($9) with Young's Double Chocolate layered over Lindeman’s Raspberry Framboise, sweet and delicious. Cocktails range from $10 to $12. Wines range from $7 to $12 a glass, $24-$99 a bottle. The Cakebread Chardonnay bottle is one of the better deals as it’s only 2x more expensive than in the store. If for some reason you want the Champagne, don’t bother.

Although I am sad to see the NASCAR Sports Grill (and NBA City) go, NBC Sports Grill & Brew is really the place to be in Universal’s CityWalk for sporting entertainment. This is a place where you can dine on quality food with a good drink in hand, all in a place where your family and friends can appreciate. Finally, a sports bar that everyone can enjoy.

Parking: Regular parking $20. Free to Florida residents after 6pm, with proof of residence. Free for all from 10pm to 2am. Discounts: Passholder discount may be available in the future. Reservations: At the moment, must be made in person.

Replies (6)

October 23, 2015 at 10:28 AM · Nice review. I saw the restaurant when I was at CitiWalk last week and it is very impressive from the outside, especially the huge screen. They were doing a soft open but we were with another couple that wanted to eat at another CitiWalk restaurant, so we didn't get to try it out. But, we'll be there in the spring and the menu looks interesting enough to give it a try. It's certainly a large improvement over the eyesore NASCAR had become during it's last couple of years.
October 23, 2015 at 11:33 AM · This menu sounds awfully large to maintain over the long haul. Hopefully they're able to maintain consistency and quality on dishes that may not prove as popular. It seems like they're trying to compete with Cheesecake Factory.

I HATE when restaurants market "truffle" mac and cheese but don't actually contain truffle shavings or slices (unless you made an error in your description - the price is not consistent with using real truffles though). Drizzling truffle oil on something does not make truffle the leading ingredient, particularly when they put "forest mushrooms" in the dish posing as truffles. There's nothing wrong with calling it Mushroom Mac and Cheese or Pasta con funghi.

Sorry, $12 for 8 wings is CRAZY, no matter how good they taste (food cost on that is probably less than $2)...They need to rethink the price or offer frequent promos on those wings if they ever expect people to order them.

October 23, 2015 at 11:36 AM · Wow I like it better then NBA city and NASCAR grill already
October 23, 2015 at 12:08 PM · Hi Jeff;
As usual your articles are a good heads up on menus & atmosphere. Everyone has their preferences and can get a good idea from your article whether or not to try a place out. Your pretty thorough. Good review.
October 23, 2015 at 2:01 PM · So the Grand Slam is basically the Clogger from Krusty Burger with 8 oz. patties instead of 6 oz. patties, right?

I feel like I am seeing a lot of dishes here that have shown up in similar or identical form at other Universal Orlando restaurants (Krusty Burger, Mythos, Confisco Grille, even The Three Broomsticks). So it's not exactly like Universal is introducing a huge new menu here. Of course, unless Universal is prepping this all in some central kitchen (which it's not), it's still up to the NBCSGB kitchen to execute all this every evening.

October 24, 2015 at 3:57 PM · Thanks Rob! Agreed, NASCAR was an eyesore just sitting right there before the UO entrance.

Yeah Russell, it's just truffle oil. If they had specials on the wings, I would definitely order them again.

Pretty much Robert, a seemingly good business tactic. I do believe that they use different beef as the two burgers have a different taste and texture. I could go for either right now...

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