The best part about having a job that requires occasional travel is that you get to try new places to eat in different areas. I make a big show out of it, too. I scour the web for what’s around the area where I will be staying with good reviews and a menu that piques my interest. My trip to Orlando for a conference was no different.
The main challenge of dining in Orlando is that it’s a very “touristy” city, with the theme parks and all. So, lots of the restaurants cater to tourists or don’t really bother making great food because they don’t expect return customers anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like I overpaid for my meals during weekends in Orlando. I was hesitant to even consider eating at any restaurants in Disney Springs, the themed outdoor mall that was formerly Downtown Disney. But, my hotel was only a few minutes away and I am lazy about driving in unfamiliar cities. I found Chef Art Smith’s restaurant, Homecomin’, on the list of restaurants in Disney Springs and knew that I had to go there. I mean, Southern food by the guy that was formerly Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef!? Who would say no to that?
I was able to snag a seat at the bar by hovering by some bar patrons that were settling their tab. It’s worth pointing out that the restaurant was jam packed in the early evening on a Sunday, and I assume it only gets worse as the evening wears on. The bar serves the same menu as the dining area, and I opted for an appetizer. The Thigh High Chicken Biscuits sounded like a winner to me. The chicken is brined for 24 hours before it is fried, drizzled with hot honey, and sandwiched between two halves of a cheddar biscuit. The sandwiches also had butter pickles, which I picked off. The chicken had a crisp, flavorful crust that yielded with little trouble to reveal impeccably juicy meat underneath. The hot honey added a subtle sweetness and a touch of heat. The biscuits were of the drop variety, but they were tender and flaky. Did I mention that they have sweet tea? Do you really need anything else besides a glass of sweet tea and some fried chicken after a flight? I didn’t think so.
The service was also great. I sat at the bar, which often lends itself to getting ignored in favor of patrons that are drinking heavily. Instead, each bartender checked on me several times and made sure that I had everything that I needed. They were also very knowledgeable on the menu, which is GREAT when you’re that annoying diner that asks a million questions about menu items.
I strongly recommend reservations, or be prepared to wait a while.
For more information about Homecomin’, please visit the web site at http://www.homecominkitchen.com/