For the record, I am one gal who will travel any lengths and be completely comfortable in any type of ambiance in my quest for good food; be it a Michelin Star rated restaurant or a hole in the wall without even the bare necessities.
Exceptional cooking is the only criteria that will bring me back to revisit a restaurant.
In my experience, I have come to realize that it is better to wait a couple of months before paying a visit to a new restaurant, at least in Orlando. It gives them sufficient time to iron out the kinks, etc. to be successful in their endeavors.
Based on a fellow foodie’s recommendation, I decided to make an exception for KingFish Bistro (it opened literally a few weeks ago). Now I generally speaking choose not to eat in Italian restaurants in the US unless they come highly recommended. Somehow, everything seems pale in comparison to the variety of amazing foods I was fortunate to taste on my numerous travels across Italy.
KingFish Bistro sits on the corner of Edgewater Drive and Princeton Street; a prime location in College Park. The restaurant is decorated with the bare minimums and offers casual café style seating.
At first glance the menu reveals a variety of Italian dishes which are uncommon in casual restaurants particularly in Orlando, including Calzones, and my personal favorite Risotto. They even carry quite a few beers on tap.
With the help of our sweet waitress, we ordered a bit of everything; Lasagna Graziela, King Special Risotto, Pollo de Carlo, and Pizza al Salmon.
Risotto is my ultimate comfort food and through multiple practice sessions and endurance I have taught myself to make a fairly decent one. Ideally, a good risotto should display a rich and creamy texture and should be cooked al-dente. The King Special risotto on the other hand had more of everything but the main ingredient – Arborio rice. And the pesto was washed down by the entire cooking process. Little did I know that the risotto was perhaps the better of the dishes coming out of the KingFish Bistro’s kitchen?
The Lasagna reminded me of the bright marinara sauce I had encountered in local suburban restaurants in Milano. However, unlike Milano, the sauce was deeply unseasoned and lacked in any kind of flavor. Dousing half the bottle of black pepper also didn’t lift the dish. It was simply put, blah. Apologies, since I really don’t have adequate words to express how mundane the lasagna was.
I was both nervous and excited about the pizza, since the kitchen boasted a pizza oven. Smoked salmon and goat cheese pizza, unusual pairing, but why not? The slice itself was light and not greasy. However, the cheese and the heaps of smoked salmon, simply didn’t marry well. It seemed to lack in something?
The Pollo de carlo sounded promising; chicken, garlic, spinach, and artichokes tossed in a creamy gorgonzola sauce. The best part of the dish was the creamy gorgonzola sauce. Wait a second though, as per my recollection, this dish was listed under Chicken, and not Pasta. So what happened here? What am I missing?
Reasonable pricing in today’s economy is well received; nevertheless if it comprises on flavor, then the point is moot. True, the carbohydrate loaded portions were generous, but where the ingredients were in abundance – the most essential ingredient: flavor, was completely amiss from each of the dishes I tasted. Now if creaminess means loads of cheese and cream; then sure, this might be the right place for you. I for one can still taste the light and flavorful pastas made with simple, fresh, and few ingredients in Italy.
The only thing reminiscent with Italian cooking at Kingfish Bistro was my one aberration to an evening in the streets of Roma; where the food was the worst I encountered in Italy. One experience I certainly did not wish to recreate any time soon. Alas! It was just that bad.
Now if I wanted to dine on sub-standard American-Italian fare, I would much rather pay a visit to Olive Garden. At least there I would have comfortable seating and the food more or less would taste as anticipated.