Teak Neighborhood Grill first got on my foodie radar when they won the Event’s for Change Chili Cook-off held in Baldwin Park earlier this year. I had also participated in the cook-off in the Amateur category hence didn’t get a chance to venture out of the booth to taste any chilis. Being obsessed with chili myself, I had check Teak out personally.
One Wednesday evening my husband and I drove to Metro West to dine at Teak. The reason I mention Wednesday is because the restaurant was jam-packed that day. Even restaurants in the Disney/Universal area are hardly half occupied especially in the middle of the week. To see a neighborhood joint hustling and bustling with such vibrant energy speaks for itself.
Having a corner lot must be the inspiration behind Teak’s expansive patio and second bar. Yes, I did say second. The don’t have one but two bars. And the one outside was surrounded with huge screen TVs and large seating; an ideal Mecca for sports lovers, especially now that football season is around the corner.
Armed with an extensive list of craft beers and fully stocked bars, there is something for everyone to have a rocking time here at Teak.
Nervously I awaited the award wining chili, and it did not disappoint. The chili was hands down a ‘perfect’ classic chili. One bite is all it took to appreciate why it won the chili cook-off.
For a neighborhood joint, they have an expansive burger menu ranging from the classic American to Asian influences and even a burger challenge for the brave hearts. As I have a weakness for an egg in any sandwich, I opted for the Brazilian.
First of all, YES finally I got a burger which was cooked exactly as I ordered – medium rare. Thank you!! After that, everything was simply a bonus. The half pound certified Angus beef cooked to a perfect vibrant pink, over easy egg sneaking into the juicy patty, sliced black forest ham, crispy potato strings and provolone on top, and the ranch dressing on the toasted brioche bun all came together to form a magnificent blend of flavors and textures.
Okay, what’s next? Daily Specials mentioned fresh house made pasta. Wait a minute is this a local sports bar or a fancy bistro in Paris/NYC? How many restaurants in Orlando including fine dining offers house made pasta? Slow simmered Angus beef, spicy Italian ground sausage tossed with fresh linguine and ricotta. Nicely done!!
Totally impressed with the quality and flavors, especially with the burgers, I couldn’t wait to get back with my family since we all our avid burger lovers. By chance it happened to be my son’s birthday that week, so we decided to return the same week to share our discovery. Not to mention Teak’s Brazilian was still stalking my dreams…
Thank fully this time we returned with my entire family. Which meant that we could taste more dishes. This time around we ordered Teak’s chips and dip, house made Crab and spinach dip and bruschetta flat bread to start with. My mother is a vegetarian and even though you could easily label Teak as a Burger bar there is enough variety for vegetarians too.
The house made crab and spinach dip was exceptional. Delicate yet flavorful, it has to be one of the best ‘spinach’ dips in town. The salsa had a well rounded kick. The flat bread was thin, fresh, and well seasoned. There are no shocking bells and whistles, just high-quality ingredients. That I believe is the secret weapon of Chefs Brian & Jonathan.
We were here for the ‘burgers’ so after careful deliberation we chose to share the Asian Invasion and PB & J Burger. Intriguing combinations but the true test lies in taste. Not only were we here for the second time, it also happened to be a Saturday. The day when I least expect anything but chaos in the kitchen. Second time in a row our burgers were cooked to PERFECTION. Yes, they won me over as a life long patron.
The Asian Invasion might have the purists screaming here but it worked. Come on people, get with the times. Sweet Thai chili sauce, siracha mayo, wasabi dressing topped with a scallion pancake – to us it shouted Asian flavors done right. Spicy, sweet, savory – it was umami in a bun.
I am saving the best for the last. An Orgasmic adult version of a PB & J – yes, it was that good. Almond & peanut butter, orange marmalade, crispy potato strings & provolone; this one got devoured the fastest. For me personally it was dessert and main course all in all. It was truly decadent!
Apparently the chef’s overheard the buzz about my son’s birthday. They personally brought in their chocolate a la mode cake and a plate of their new creation – spiced cannolis. How thoughtful!!
Super friendly service, inventive dishes that are well prepared, expansive liquor bar, fresh and local high quality ingredients serving classic cuisine kicked up a notch with the Chefs playful personalities & (CIA graduate), what’s there not to love about Teak? It is simply good food done right.
Did I mention the gianormous portions and reasonable prices? It’s not rocket science people. This is a fabulous joint. My only stipulation being, it’s too far from my home to be considered ‘neighborhood’ joint. If I could come back and eat one new flavor of burger every day, I would. Well, in a way it is a blessing, otherwise I might find myself hanging out at Teak way too often for my waist line. Wink, wink!
Something to think about: Orlando is a decent size city, which is why I don’t understand why chain restaurants are more successful here and have predominance over the restaurant market? There are so many chains in Orlando that it’s easy for great neighborhood places to fly under the radar. Now only if we had more young chefs & owners like Brian and Jonathan, Orlando could proudly join the ranks with the likes of foodie cities like Miami, Chicago, Charleston, etc…
Don’t take my word for it, stop in yourself to check out why I fell in love with Teak and what in my humble opinion: is the best burger in town. Check out Teak’s Daily Specials. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.