Last week I had the opportunity (along with my friend Andrea) to dine at the Omni at Championsgate. I’d been to the resort before, but hadn’t had a chance to check out any of their restaurants so I was looking forward to it. We were able to try out their Ingredient of the Month promotion at David’s Club. According to their executive chef Robert Ash, the ingredient of the month promotion started as a way to showcase local products from around Florida each month. For October the ingredient of the month was mangoes and it is available at David’s Club and Trevi’s.
The Ingredient of the Month (IOTM) menu included 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and a dessert. Each item included mangoes in some way. We were lucky enough to be able to try all of the items on the menu. At first I was a little worried about that much food, but everything was so fresh and light that we left feeling good and not overstuffed.
The restaurant paired a wine with the appetizers and a wine with the entrees, so our meal started out with a wonderful Eroica Riesling. I love Riesling and really enjoyed this one. When I found out it was from Chateau Ste. Michelle I knew why – I love their wines! “Eroica delivers a unique combination of mandarin orange aromas characteristic of Washington state Rieslings, melded with the mineral, spiced apple and slate notes with lively, crisp acidity associated with German Riesling.”
Each of the courses was brought out to the table by their Executive Chef Robert Ash. He described each course to us and answered any questions that we might have about the dish. The first appetizer we tried was a Mango and Lump Crab salad with avocado, arugula, crispy quinoa, and a mango vinaigrette dressing. What a great start to the meal! The salad was light and definitely reminded you of Florida. The crab was fresh and the crispy quinoa was an unexpected surprise. It really gave the salad some texture and made you think of bacon bits. Id never thought of toasting quinoa before and now I want to try it at home.
Our second appetizer was Pulled pork sliders with crispy onions, chipotle cabbage slaw, cotija cheese, and a mango bbq sauce. I have to say that these were some of the best pulled pork sliders I have ever had. It comes with 2 but we easily could have eaten two each without a problem. I’m not usually a fan of slaw on pork sandwiches, but I think they may have converted me. The slaw brought a crispness to the sandwich that really enhanced the flavor.
Before the entrees came out we were treated to our second wine of the night – a Maryhill Viognier. This wine was “delightfully easygoing, offering notes of honeydew, macadamia and warm, grilled pear.” Even though I enjoyed the Eroica Riesling, I think the Viognier was my favorite from the evening. I’m not a huge wine connoisseur, so I’ll just say that it was really yummy and leave it at that.
Our first entree was Grilled Mayport Shrimp served over potato-bacon hash, with roasted peppers, and a Winter Park whiskey mango glaze. Holy cow this was amazing! The potato-bacon hash was so flavorful, the shrimp was fresh, and the Winter Park whiskey mango sauce was killer! I’d like to put that sauce on just about everything I eat. Hey Chef Ash, I think you need to bottle this stuff and sell it. We made a point of telling Chef Ash how much we loved the sauce and even suggested that it would be a great dessert topping (more of that later).
The second entree was Roasted Florida Wahoo served over chorizo dirty rice and garlic spinach, with mango lime chutney and shellfish broth. Talk about an amazing presentation! The fish was light and flavorful and the the chorizo dirty rice gave the dish a little extra kick. I’m usually not a huge fan of cooked spinach but this garlic spinach would convert even the pickiest of eaters. At the end of the dish we were both talking about how we wish it would have included more garlic spinach.
As if the 2 wines, 2 appetizers, and 2 entrees hadn’t been impressive enough, Chef Ash brought us out an amazing dessert – Warm Mango Fritters with caramel, raspberry, and passion fruit dipping sauces. And since we’d made such a fuss over the Winter Park whiskey mango sauce he included that as well. I know that places are deep frying everything these days, but mango is the way to go. Deep fried mango covered in powdered sugar and then dipped in Winter Park whiskey mango sauce? Yes please!
In addition to the amazing food, the staff and service was great. Our waitress was always there to refill our glasses, clear away plates, and make the table look like two piggies hadn’t been eating at it. Chef Ash took his time to explain all the dishes to us and really made us feel welcome. He told us that the IOTM for November was stone crabs and it made us immediately think about how to fit another IOTM outing on our holiday schedules.
I want to give a huge thank you to Omni at Championsgate, Executive Chef Robert Ash, and their amazing staff for a wonderful evening. We will definitely be back in the future to try out more Ingredient of the Month menus.
**Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary meal for myself and a guest in exchange for a review. As always, always opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.