Lunch at Nova – 1409 North Orange Avenue Orlando.
When deciding on a place to take lunch we revert to a series of restaurant attributes that so far have never let us down. This selection process revolves around the 3 P’S, namely Premises – Product and Price Point. Using this process against any restaurant should make your choice of where to lunch a lot easier.
After being impressed with the Dinner items from a new menu that Nova launched a couple of weeks ago, we decided to try the Lunch selections as created by Executive Chef Val Domingo.
So how did it stack up? Let’s take the first “P” Premises. Located in the increasing popular Ivanhoe Village area and straight off North Orange Avenue, the location is ideally situated between Winter park and Metro Orlando and easily accessible from both areas. In addition, they have free parking adjacent to the restaurant, so no long walks to a parking garage or juggling for that on street space. The restaurant itself has a semi industrial feel with white brick walls and wooden floors, giving off a clean and bright ambience throughout. The covered outdoor patio is great for cooler days and has stunning sunsets later in the evening.
On to the second “P” Product, Executive Chef Val Domingo has taken great care with the creation of all the menus with an accent on the particular dining occasion and using fresh local produce with sustainable provenance. The lunch menu is focused on providing great menu options that can be delivered with speed but without any sacrifice of either quality or loss of his unique Chef creations and spins on classic dishes.
Here are some great examples we tried:
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Panini – A perfect blend of Cheddar, Havarti and Smoked Gouda cheese, with vine ripe tomatoes, basil aioli, on Ciabatta bread. A great Panini, with amazing cheese combination served with standout sweet potato waffle fries.
Watercress Salad – Strawberries, goat cheese, golden tomatoes, honey and balsamic vinaigrette. A simple salad with a very complex taste structure, sweet strawberries combine with the peppery watercress all balanced with honey and balsamic. Add Chicken, Salmon or Tuna for a larger meal.
Roasted Chicken Flatbread – Sage and bacon jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, arugula and smoked Gouda cheese. As flat-breads go this one was “The Bomb”.
Fish & Chips – Boston Cod filet, zesty tartar sauce, coleslaw served with house-made salt and vinegar chips. A traditional “Gastro Pub” dish given a great Chef Val twist, check out those quirky house-made salt and vinegar chips. Outstanding.
They also have a great burger, crab cake club, plus many more delicious options.
Now for the final “P” Price Point, with the Panini coming in at $12 including waffle fries, the Flatbread at $12 and the Watercress Salad at $8 (add Chicken +$6, Salmon +$8 or Tuna +$10) and Fish & Chips at $14 it really hits the spot in terms of affordability. Unless you opt for signature dining there should be a reasonable cap of food pricing, especially at lunchtime and Nova really creates the right balance here. (Check with restaurant to confirm actual pricing )
There are obviously more decisions you can make when selecting a restaurant, not least of which is service, and on this level Nova provides a casual but attentive service that makes friends and regulars of first time diners and warmly welcomes back the growing number of diners who caught on early to the impressive offer that Nova have created.
On most days, you can spot Chef Val walking the tables and speaking with guests, so take the opportunity of speaking to him, he is quite open to sharing his menu ideas and may even give you the recipe to try out yourself. Val Domingo and Mark Stillman have really done their homework with this restaurant and it delivers on every level, a testament to their dedication and professionalism.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check Nova out soon, we are sure they will make regular out of you too!