I like to revisit a restaurant, specially a extended-recognized a person like Enzo’s on the Lake, anytime there is a significant adjust. The modern sale of the business by authentic operator Jo Anne Perlini, who opened it in 1980 with her then-husband, Enzo, to Orlando dentist John Khalil is about as significant as changes get.
So it’s time to acquire a further glance. But for this 1 I requested for aid.
The option for two diners to join me on a stop by to Enzo’s was a silent auction product at final month’s Orlando Shakes gala. Ellen Prague was the profitable bidder, but Wintertime Park pair Steve Goldman and Melanie Like stated they preferred in on it, too. So they agreed to match Pragues bid and I made reservations at Enzo’s on the Lake for two nights just one 7 days aside.
(Notice: The primary auction item was donated by Khalil and ScottJosephOrlando.com Goldman not only matched the winning bid ($750) but also agreed to select up the tab for the evening meal.)
Initially up was Prague, who a lot of of you will bear in mind as the operator of The Paper Store on Park Avenue. She introduced together her mate Sharon Hagle, founder of SpaceKids Global and the first man or woman I have ever had dinner with who has been to house. (She and her partner, Marc, flew aboard a business spacecraft a calendar year back and have programs to go again.)
We experienced many courses, starting with Enzo’s well-known antipasti, followed by pastas and entrees of our possess options.
So how is Enzo’s under the new possession? Prague expressed it correctly, paraphrasing, most likely inadvertently, the rapper Pusha T (or maybe it was Biggie Smalls): “If I didn’t know it, I would not know it.”
“While I pass up viewing Jo Anne at the front – and I really do skip observing her – everything else is just the very same, which is to say perfection,” mentioned Prague.
Equally Prague and Hagle have been longtime patrons of Enzo’s and Prague experienced dined there just not long ago. But Hagle claimed, “This is the initial time I have been listed here considering that the transform of ownership, but it is like coming house.”
We might have gone a little bit overboard with the antipasti, having various plates of cheese and salumi peppers, eggplant and artichokes shrimp and gigante beans and sauteed mushrooms and cipollini onions. All of it superb.
And the clean bread and breadsticks. “The bread continue to doesn’t occur with a butter dish, but it is ok,” claimed Prague.
Pursuing her pasta training course of Pappardelle alla Farnese, with mushrooms and arugula – “Exactly as it has been for the past 35 several years,” she declared – Prague had the Dover sole, deftly filleted tableside by our server Susan. “It’s a rare take care of,” she explained of the sole, noting that it’s tough to uncover domestically. “It’s like taking in butter.”
Hagle experienced veal parmesan, which is not on the normal menu, but when she requested if they could make it for her they explained of program. It’s people little aspects, reported Hagle, that preserve Enzo’s unique. The chop was massive, masking a substantial plate, breaded and sauteed, topped with tangy marinara and dollops of mozzarella.
I experienced a 50 percent part of Bucatini alla Enzo, mainly because I just about usually have Bucatini alla Enzo. The thick pasta tossed with prosciutto, peas, bacon, mushrooms and parmesan cheese can make it a beloved.
I adopted with Beef Small Ribs Toscana, the meat tenderly braised in a Chianti ragout and served more than household-made pappardelle noodles.
A 7 days afterwards we were being again for our supper with Goldman and Love, who have been longtime consumers of the cafe. “We’ve been likely to Enzo’s literally considering that it initial opened,” claimed Goldman, “and I’ve been in Italy a lot of periods on company and this is as great as the finest Italian food stuff I have had in Italy.”
We went a tiny less complicated on the antipasti, but significantly, you really should under no circumstances appear below with out obtaining a little something from the array set out at the entrance of the cafe. (You can’t help your self, but you are welcome to go with your server to the exhibit and stage to what you want.)
For his entree, Goldman selected the Linguine e Vongole, mainly because “I always get the linguine with clams and pink sauce,” he mentioned. “It’s as superior as it’s normally been.”
Love chose a distinctive of the working day showcasing lamb chops with a pesto vinaigrette. She explained she loved the lamb and that it was cooked beautifully to purchase. But she didn’t care for the pesto, which she explained was much too sweet. And the polenta that accompanied the lamb was a bit dry and “cakey.”
On this check out, I experienced the Braciole di Maiale alla Griglia, or grilled pork chop. It was a sizeable chop with frenched bone topped with basil butter and accompanied by a great arugula salad and polenta. (I agreed with Melanie about the polenta.)
Goldman stated that he and Love experienced been to the cafe considering that the change and they were glad that most of the personnel remained, which includes the chef, Brandon Parron.
On their past visit, they observed the desserts were being really up to par from prior to. But the tiramisu we shared on this go to was declared mouth watering.
Service was up to the usual specifications, and not just for our desk. Prague mentioned that all through supper she was searching close to at the other tables – textbook restaurant critic technique – and noted that the servers appeared to be as attentive as often.
Enzo’s occupies a composition that was after a residence. Significantly of the ambience is the exact, even though some of the regulars noted that the artwork on the walls had altered. And Khalil has been creating advancements to the landscaping. When I frequented with Prague and Hagle the terrace between the household and the lake experienced been stripped. The next 7 days, new sod and landscaping had been in spot. Khalil has reported that he would like to make improved use of the outdoor space.
Goldman explained that they were being fearful when they uncovered of the modify in possession. “We were really involved that we’d reduce one of the finest places to eat in Central Florida,” he explained. But Prague claimed she thinks the restaurant is in good fingers.
“All he has to do is maintain carrying out what he’s carrying out.”
Enzo’s on the Lake is at 1130 S. U.S. Freeway 17-92, Longwood (map). It is open for lunch on Fridays and dinner Tuesday as a result of Saturday. The cellphone amount is 407-834-9872.