Universal Orlando tonight showed off its newest CityWalk restaurant, Bigfire American Fare, in a media preview event.
Replacing the former Emeril's Orlando, Bigfire aims to recreate the rustic, wood-fired fare of a campfire cookout... in more comfortable restaurant setting, of course.
Keeping with Universal's recent hospitality design aesthetic, the look is modern throughout, though built upon wood and painted brick, with tartan on team members' attire to lend some suggestion of a cozy mountain retreat. On the menu, food-fired meats and vegetables dominate, though they are presented with a contemporary take, as Universal Orlando's Executive Chef Steven Jayson explains while talking us through the menu.
As a media preview, we were served tasting samples of several items on the menu, so I can't draw any conclusions about value, as we know neither the true portion sizes nor their prices.
My favorites from the menu sampled tonight included the Campire Chili, Lamb Sliders, Baby Beets and Goat Cheese Salad, the Brook Trout, and Colorado Lamb Chops. Top sides were the delicious roasted Brussels sprouts and the Pork Belly Mac & Cheese. The chili was pure comfort food, but the other items offered welcomed flavors not typically found within theme park resorts. I'm a sucker for tarragon and I love trout, so that was an easy hit for me. But the lamb was spectacular, rich without being gamey, and well-paired with its sauces, in both the chop and on the slider.
Clockwise from top left are a filet mignon with grilled carrot, Brussels sprouts and Shishito pepper; Campfire Chili, Smoked Trout dip, and the Bison and Lamb sliders; Brook Trout with Tarragon sauce and smashed potato; and the Colorado lamb chop, with minted Bordelaise and roasted peppers.
While the focus here lies on fire-grilled meat and vegetables, the salad with roasted golden beets was exceptional, proving that herbivores can enjoy the benefits of open-fire cooking, too. I hope that the value play here allows fans to support items such as Bigfire's lamb and trout (and those beets!), as I would hate to have lost Emeril's for yet another menu of the same beef, chicken, and potatoes served at countless other restaurants. There's great potential here, but both Universal and its fans will have to agree to pursue it.Tweet
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