Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ (5818 Conroy Rd., 407/295-1212, 10 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun., main courses from $5) is a locally-based chain that serves decent smoked-meat meals along with things like sausage sandwiches and fried catfish, which is all well and good. However, the main reason to darken the door of this restaurant is its fried corn on the cob; the buttery, crispy treat is as near a perfect accompaniment to a pile of brisket as yet created.
Orlando is home to Darden International, the parent company of casual dining behemoths like Olive Garden and Red Lobster. So the opening of a new Darden concept restaurant in the area wasn’t much of a surprise. Both the concept and the quality of
Seasons 52 (7700 W. Sand Lake Rd., 407/354-5212, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Sat., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun., main courses from $16) were unexpected of the company behind the “never-ending pasta bowl.”
Every item on the Seasons 52 menu clocks in at 475 calories or less, but it’s far from an ascetic dining experience. The emphasis is on seasonal dishes, hence the “Seasons” of the name, and a menu that’s tweaked for freshness on a weekly basis, hence the “52.” The result is an exquisite and upscale dining experience that’s actually about the food rather than about indulgence.
Although the menu regularly changes, there’s always an abundance of fish and seafood dishes as well as tasty and filling entrée-sized salads. Even steak and poultry manage to squeeze their way onto the calorie-restricted menu, and the rich and perfectly portioned desserts are served in shot glass-sized containers.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition