Waiters at your table, dressed in black ties and coats, stand ready to offer great, classic service that is welcoming yet also unobtrusive. An atmosphere that is luxurious, with deep reds along the walls and in the chairs, a grand chandelier hanging in the middle of the copper dome, the decor is all a throw back to the Italian Renaissance of Venice. Dishes ranging from diver scallops to filet mignon and Chilean Seabass to the Grand marnier souffle are all on the menu at The Venetian Room.
The Venetian Room, located inside the Caribe Royale convention resort hotel, off of World Center Drive near Disney World, is a place probably best reserved for special occasions or events like a romantic evening or anniversary night out, or if you are just feeling like a boss.
The very definition of fine dining is embodied in The Venetian Room; One of the few “Old World” style restaurants in Orlando, a place where the service is impeccable, the setting is intimate, luxurious and lush, and the food is of the highest quality along with a correspondingly fine price tag.
The Venetian Room is also an AAA Four Diamond Award winner and a recipient of a Silver Spoon award by Orlando Home and Leisure and the Orlando Magazine Annual Dining Awards for Best Restaurant and Best Service, and also a winner of “Most Romantic Restaurant” from the Orlando Sentinel’s Annual Foodie Awards.
Trained in Europe and North Africa, The Venetian Room’s Chef Khallid Benghallem worked in restaurants in France, Corsica and Morocco. He began his culinary career at the prestigious Ecole Hoteliere de Rabat in Morocco, where he was the 1992 Student of the Year and eventually went on to work at Disney’s Marrakech at Epcot and Emeril’s. He brings his talent and expertise to bring to the life the dishes at The Venetian Room.
I dined with my friends William and Don recently at the Venetian Room, where we experienced great food and great company.
We started with the Diver Scallops ($18), tender, luscious pan seared scallops on top of a porcini asparagus risotto with mushroom broth and adorned with crisps of pancetta, a type of salt cured Italian bacon. The salty, crunchy pancetta crisps paired with the contrasting, soft texture of the pan seared scallops and risotto all went together beautifully on the palate.
Another popular starter at the table was the Gnocchi Stroganoff ($19), made with sun-dried tomato potato gnocchi dumplings served with gorgonzola crusted petit filet of beef and topped with a Cognac Pearl Onion Cream Sauce and Truffle Shavings. This deliciously prepared dish was probably enough to satisfy a diner in itself. The gorgonzola petit filet and the soft gnocchi all were divine.
For my entree I chose the Duck L’Orange ($37), a blood orange glazed Hudson Valley Duck breast and Citrus confit duck leg served with a sweet potato pumpkin custard tartlet and a ruby port wine Bing cherry reduction. The duck was cooked perfectly and had that wonderful hint of citrus and port wine to it. Enjoy it as soon as it reaches the table as duck can cool and congeal quickly.
My friend, Don, enjoyed his Wagyu beef dish with diver scallops, white asparagus and quail egg, a special of the evening.
William chose the Chilean Sea Bass ($39), a Citrus Crab Meat Crusted Sea Bass with Okinawa Sweet Potato Puree, Steamed Bok Choy, and a Duet of Caviar.
One of the experiences that I still can’t stop dreaming and craving is the Grand Marnier souffle ($13) at The Venetian Room for dessert. This is one of the few times in my life that I can truly say that this dish left an imprint on me. The souffle – you have to order it early in the meal as it takes about 20 minutes to prepare – arrives for dessert like a small powdered mountain of soft, puffy eggy cake. The dish is finished with table side service, topped off by our gracious waiter with the sweet crème anglaise. The dessert and experience was pure heaven, the souffle was soft and airy, sweet and utterly delicious. A very fine way to end the meal.
Just for the souffle alone I would return to The Venetian Room again and again in order to relive that divine experience. I believe I would if my budget allowed for such indulgences every day, but sadly like most of us we probably have to put this place on that special occasions list. Definitely put The Venetian Room on your list of must-try’s especially if you have a desire to splurge a little bit. Treat yourself!
Diver Scallops – Seared Scallops, Porcini Asparagus Risotto, Mushroom Broth, Pancetta Crisp – 18
Lump Crab Cake – A Pan Fried Lump Crab Cake with a Pommerey Creamy Mustard Sauce, topped with a Black Sesame Savoy Cabbage Slaw – 19
Gnocchi Stroganoff – Gorgonzola Crusted Petit Filet of Beef, Sun Dried Tomato Potato Gnocchi, Cognac Pearl Onion Cream Sauce, Truffle Shavings – 19
House-made gelato amuse bouche in an ice flower petal
Wagyu with diver scallops and quail egg
Duck L’Orange – Blood Orange Glazed Hudson Valley Duck Breast and Citrus Confit Leg, Sweet Potato Pumpkin Custard Tartlet, Ruby Port Wine Bing Cherry Reduction – 37
Grand Marnier Souffle
Creme Anglaise poured table side on the Chocolate Souffle