TR Fire Grill – 1035 North Orlando Ave Winter Park Florida.
If you conducted a review of the top ten food trends for 2016, I would bet that locally sourced meats and seafood, along with locally grown produce would score well into the top five. So no surprise that Romacorp, the parent company of Tony Roma’s, has decided on this food model for its newest restaurant concept, TR Fire Grill.
Originally launched in 2013 on Semoran Boulevard, TR Fire Grill has been relocated to a new home as part of the Ravaudage development at Lee Road and U.S. Highway 1792 in Winter Park, joining brands such as Zona Fresca and Millers Ale House in this developing area.
Our review of TR Fire Grill is compiled over many dining occasions and pulls together a composite view of what you can expect when dining here.
The Ravaudage area is still under construction and the surrounding district has been given a new lease of life with the new Whole Foods location and numerous other developments awaiting completion, however TR Fire Grill has been a stand out success since its recent opening at this location.
The strip mall like façade, as happens so many times in central Florida, belies the interior excellence, and Romacorp have worked hard to create an eclectic modern restaurant with a mixture of industrial and individual fittings. The theater kitchen dominates the restaurant and creates both atmosphere and visual interest to large open space. Seating is a mixture of booth and free standing ideally situated in between the kitchen and bar servery, a more private area is available to the rear of the restaurant (road side) but you may feel you are missing out on the undeniable “Buzz” the main restaurant creates.
This is not your usual chain restaurant design.
TR Fire Grill comments that its menu is inspired by the seasons, using fresh ingredients from Florida farms and suppliers, to ensure the most robust flavor, and proudly lists the suppliers they use. The menu is split into Snacks, Table Shares and Main Plates, Dinner / Lunch Specials, Greens & Soups, Burgers & Sandwiches in addition a “Happy Hour” menu is available. Traditionally American in its roots, the menu puts a modern twist on dishes, and draws influences from across various styles and countries.
I found the stand out dishes to be:
Box of Onions – Accompanied by Horseradish Aioli – Literally a box of onion rings with a light coating of batter, more than enough to share, but you won’t want to !
Oven Baked Pizza dip – Buffalo mozzarella, Provolone cheese, pepperoni, sausage, garlic focaccia bread – Pizza in a dish, great balance of flavors, insanely good, I’m pretty sure there is not one person on the planet that will not fall in love with this dish.
Half Pound American Burger – (Short rib, brisket and chuck) White American cheese, caramelized onions, tomato, greens, signature burger sauce, matchstick potatoes, pickles – As soon as you start to intelligently mix different cuts of meat when creating your burger, especially with brisket, I can tell you are serious about burgers. This mix is perfect and cooked medium rare produced a crusty outside and juicy interior bursting with flavor. Only negative, as with most of the meals, the fries could have done with being slightly thicker (Personal preference).
Smoked Meat Balls – Leek & onion beef gravy, Manchego cheese- Meat Balls are rapidly becoming part of many new menus not just those of Italian in origin, the smoked element to these just takes them to another level.
Swamp Head Fish & Chips – Beer battered Atlantic cod, tartar sauce, greens, tomato, matchstick potatoes, and pickles– Larger than normal fillets of Cod (a good thing) delicately battered. The first time I had this dish the batter was very sweet but on subsequent visits has been spot on.
Most Disappointing dishes, I tried:
Cherry Wood Smoked Duck Tacos – Apple citrus slaw, cranberry-cherry salsa, grilled pitas – Had to inspect the meal very hard to find the Duck! With the salad portion served in a Mason jar, I can’t imagine this will last in future menu changes.
Prime Rib Egg Rolls – Caramelized onions, white Wisconsin Cheddar, pickled vegetables, horseradish aioli – Nice presentation, but the rolls needed more filling and were very chewy, not crispy, perhaps the dough is too thick.
Food presentation was good with a mixture of appropriate plates, bowls, skillets, boards and containers (apart from the Mason jar).
In terms of service, at all visits, there was evidence of extensive training from the front of house host to the servers and bar staff, a bit robotic at times and dessert menu proffered half way through the entrée, but very pleasant, polite and attentive. Stand out service was given on a lunch visit when I asked if it was possible have the Poutine from the “Happy Hour” menu at least an hour before it was due to begin. “No problem” was the reply to my request and made my day (you will find I am a Poutine addict).
Beers on tap include brews from Sam Adams Boston Lager, Stump Knocker pale ale, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and Six point Sweet action. Good value wines I tried and enjoyed were, Almos by Catena an Argentinian Malbec from the Mendoza region and a great go to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Brancott from the Marlborough estate.
I found the pricing to be average for the area but delivered good value for money, with a “Happy Hour” option offering “Bites” including Taco’s, Poutine, a Steak sandwich and more, all reasonable priced.
Insider tips for TR Fire Grill
No need to worry about parking, there is very large car park to the rear of the restaurant, with an entrance off Lee road.
Highway 1792 is a VERY busy road you may want to think twice before choosing to sit outside.
They have a “Chefs Counter” seating where you can watch your food being prepared and interact with the Chefs.
The restaurant hosts a number of events, keep a close eye on their web page.
Weekend brunch is served.
Look out for the Chef’s hand-made in-house condiments and sauces.
I am sure I will be returning soon, the “Chefs Counter” experience intrigues me and I will attempt to find out more and report back.