Being a staunch advocate of Eat Local – Be Local – I couldn’t be more pleased about the opening of the new Southern restaurant Soco by the culinary brilliant – Executive Chef Greg Richie. Renowned as the man who fronted Orlando restaurants for celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Roy Yamaguchi, graduate of the acclaimed Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, Executive Chef/Partner Greg Richie returns to his Southern roots with a contemporary interpretation of one of America’s classic cuisines at Soco Thornton Park.
From seriously sinful Slow-Roasted Barbecue-Glazed Pork Belly Biscuits to Potato Chip Crusted Chocolate Cake, Chef Richie has transformed downtown Orlando as one of the hottest spots in Central Florida. Huge shout-out to the distinguished Mr. Scott Joseph for hosting/sharing a feast for all our senses.
Armed with an extensive selection of “By The Bottle” beers catches the eye alongside a list of handcrafted cocktails, also designed by Chef Richie, including Honey Rye Sour, White Julep and Grown-Up Cherry Cola. One can’t help but admire Chef Richie’s attention to detail and focus on making Soco an all-encompassing delightful dining experience.
Did I mention the Bar Plates? Crispy Macaroni Croquettes with heirloom tomato sauce; House-Blend Angus Beef Burger, aged white cheddar, red onion-bacon marmalade, house-made smoked ketchup and pickles on a brioche bun served with crispy onion rings and Meatloaf-Stuffed Bell Pepper Poppers with pimento mornay.
Like me if you enjoy variety, the ‘Small Plates’ section has some scrumptious treats for you. The star of the evening incontestably were the Soco-Style “Chicken and Dumplings”, carved chicken breast, lobster dumpling, local mushrooms, edamame and soy butter. Melting in your mouth, perfectly cooked dumpling sitting in a bed of silky butter sauce – this dish is beyond perfection!!
We also got to sample Hand-Made Canaveral “Shrimp and Grits” Ravioli, Crab-Stuffed Deviled Duck Eggs, and Cassoulet of Duck Confit and Boiled Peanuts.
Chef Richie demonstrates his culinary talents exquisitely with the “Main” and “Feature” dishes – Lake Meadow Naturals Korean-Style Fried Chicken, pickled radishes, sweet and spicy dipping sauce; Grilled Meatloaf on Lobster Mashed Potatoes, three-meat blend, crispy onion rings, smoked vidalia and andouille sausage gravy; Chicken Fried New York Strip with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, white truffle pepper gravy.
A dish exclusively catered for Vegetarians – Chicken-Fried” Cauliflower Steak, asparagus, artichoke, garlic mashed potatoes and vine ripe tomato gravy – AMA-zing!
Seafood lovers are in for a treat – Hot Smoked Florida Cobia with butter milk potato cake, black eyed tomato salsa, Pecan Crusted Carolina Fluke with Carolina gold rice, Canaveral shrimp hush puppies, and Cast Iron Seared Artic Char with red mule grits, swiss chards, oyster mushrooms, smoked ham broth. Are you drooling yet?
The taste of the South reigns with home-style dessert offerings of Bourbon Banana Pudding, vanilla wafer waffle, caramelized banana; House-Made “Moon Pie”, RC® Cola vanilla float; and Warm Apple and Oatmeal Spice Cake, coconut, pink peppercorn whiskey syrup, and Bourbon Banana Pudding with vanilla wafer waffle, caramelized banana, toasted meringue. Foodies who relish the savory-sweet play in desserts can savor each bite of the Potato Chip Crusted Chocolate Cake.
The hip ambiance, beautiful people suavely dressed, sunny patio, ideal location, and deliciously decadent food earns Soco as THE ‘Hot Spot’. Drop in for brunch after a refreshing stroll around the Park or make reservations for a romantic night out. Whether it is a celebration or “just because” – there are plenty of reasons for Soco to adorn your MUST-dining list and earn the accolades of being your TO-GO neighborhood hangout.