Slate on West Sand Lake Road in the Dr. Phillips section of Orlando is just a few doors down from one of our favorite spots in O-Town, Pharmacy. We’ve passed it several times and on a recent Saturday night, we decided to stop in.
The restaurant bills itself as modern American with a seasonal menu in a casual setting with hand-crafted cocktails and a sommelier curated wine list.
That’s a mouthful.
We arrived around 8:30 pm and parked in the large parking lot that the restaurant shares with a supermarket. Valet is also available. Inside, there is a large bar area, an open kitchen, and an open-air dining room.
There were a few tables taken and another couple beside us at the bar, where we set up shop for the evening.
The bartender welcomed us, gave us menus and we chatted a bit about drinks. Their cocktail menu features Florida brewed beers at $6 and cocktails between $10 – $12, very reasonable. My husband ordered a wine and I went with the Benzonhurst Manhattan (Ron Zacapa 23, Dolin Rouge, Angostura bitters) which turned out to be very good.
As the aroma from the wood-burning oven filled the dining room, the dinner menu was presented. Calamari, Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies, Deviled Eggs, along with flatbreads made up the appetizer section and a few seasonal salads with local greens are offered.
We went with the (3) Slate Meatballs (beef, pork, marinara, mozzarella, Parmesan, arugula pesto, rosemary bread crumbs – $13) which were about the size of a golf ball, were firm and topped with cheese and pesto.
Personally, I could have done without the pesto and let the cheese and marina work their own magic, but overall, the balls weren’t bad.
We decided to order the Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Thai vinaigrette, basil, mint – $7) from the “sides” section as a starter. The vinaigrette added a little tang and the sprouts had a bit of a char from the wood oven which added some nice flavor.
When it comes to mains, the menu changes seasonally, but there’s always a variety of seafood, beef, pork, chicken, and pasta. My husband went with the half-rack of BBQ ribs (French fries, slaw – $18 for a half, $30 for a whole rack). We weren’t sure if the ribs sat out under the heat lamp for a little too long, or what, but the sauce that was poured on top was there a bit too long and was very thick, like a ketchup. The ribs themselves were dry.
I went with the Hearth Roasted Snapper (cornmeal spoonbread, zucchini noodles, lemongrass, rosemary bread crumbs – $32). The portion was a bit on the small size, the breadcrumbs that topped the fish were a little too plentiful. I was hoping there would be a bit of that wood oven smoky flavor to carry over, but it didn’t, so the dish was a little on the bland side.
Throughout the meal, we enjoyed a few other cocktails that the bartender recommended to us. While the food itself fell a little short, the cocktails were the star of the evening. I’m not ruling Slate out just yet. The cocktails alone are worth a repeat visit and there’s enough on the menu worth a second chance.
All in all, service was good. The bartender recommended some top-notch drinks, walked us through the menu, explained the concept of the restaurant and made us feel welcome as newcomers. Being that it wasn’t busy at all this particular evening, there wasn’t much of a “vibe” going on, but with the restaurant’s layout, it could be a fun spot when busy.
Besides dinner, Slate Orlando, offers lunch, weekend brunch happy hour Monday 4 pm-close and Tuesday – Sunday 4 – 6:30 pm with discounted apps and drinks.