While on my trip to Orlando last week, I got invited to participate in an impromptu tasting by my Instagram friend Chef Matt Oakley from Tommy Bahama. It was an honor and I was so excited to meet Chef Matt and taste his food since I began following him on Instagram.
I was immediately shown the “Aloha” spirit when I walked through the doors and was greeted warmly by the hostess who proceeded to ask if I was Denise. With a big smile, I answered yes and then was asked to follow her to a table that had been set up for me.
The Pineapple Paradisio, made with Bacardi Pineapple and St. Germain Elderflower was waiting for me on my table when I arrived. As I progressed through the tasting, two other cocktails were presented. The Coconut Cloud, made with Ron Matusalem Platino, Stoli Vanil, Cruzan Coconut and Cream of Coconut and the Mai Tai, made with Flor de Caña 4 Year, Orgeat, Orange Curaçao, Lemon, Lime, Pineapple and a Dark Rum Float. Although I am not familiar with several of the above mentioned ingredients, that didn’t stop me one bit from enjoying them immensely! (Don’t worry, not all three cocktails were consumed to their entirety during my tasting)
After meeting Chef Matt and chatting with him for a bit, he told me that Tommy Bahama and their restaurants serving Island fare have been around since 1993; the first one opened in Naples, FL. Today they can be found spreading the Island cheer all around the globe. This Tommy Bahama happened to be the company’s Research & Development for their restaurants and Chef Matt works closely with their corporate chef to create some of the menu items. (The pork belly and the Peanut Butter Pie below are two of his own creations).
Coconut Shrimp..Tiger Shrimp coated in light beer batter with shredded coconut, accompanied by a Mango Chutney and Island Slaw composing of cabbage, red onion, cilantro, jicama and dressed with a lime vinaigrette. I am in love with this “world famous” appetizer dish and could eat it all day long. But today, I had to resist and just have the one-biter presented to me so I could move on…
Ahi Tuna Taco..Crispy Wonton Taco Shell, Yellowfin Tuna dressed in a mix of Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Cilantro, Capers, Ginger, Garlic and a hint of Chipotle Pepper. Topped with Red Bell Pepper, Scallions and a Wasabi Lime Avocado Cream Sauce. Every component of this dish came together to create the perfect bite. It was well thought out and executed. Oh yeah and so cute too! You can find these under their Appetizer section. Chef Matt shared with me that Tommy Bahama is big on sourcing their fish from those who practice sustainability. Today’s tuna that I was served was line caught from Costa Rica. All of their fish is fresh and they never serve anything more than 3 days old. Gotta like that!
Macadamia Nut Crusted Goat Cheese…Laura Chenel Chevre coated in toasted Wailea Valley Plantation Macadamia Nuts warmed in Clarified Butter and served with a Papaya Mango Chutney and Soy Glaze paired with Lavash Flatbread. The combination of Macadamia nuts, clarified butter and goat cheese was amazing and the sweetness from the mango salsa truly made my tastebuds get up and do the Happy Dance. This is an awesome appetizer dish!
Pork Belly..Duroc Pork Belly braised in Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar. Seared then served on a Brioche Toast, topped with Pickled Vegetables, accompanied by a Sriracha Aioli. I LOVED LOVED this dish. The pork belly was lean, which is a welcome change to the usual fatty pieces served these days. The combination of flavors from the sweet sauce used in the braising of the pork belly to the pickled vegetables placed on top, to the slight heat from the sriracha aioli on the finish, all had their part in creating a really tasty, balanced dish. You’ll be able to find the pork belly in sliders only during their IT (Island Time) Happy Hour, each day from 4-6pm.
Yellowfin Tuna Salad.. Brown Chile Crusted Tuna, Kale, Roasted Corn, Quinoa, Toasted Almonds, Avocado, Island Slaw, Field Greens and dressed with a Soy Sesame Vinaigrette. The tuna had a lovely sear on it and was a wonderful accompaniament to this creative version of a field greens salad.
Kona Crusted Ribeye..Ribeye Deckle seasoned with a Kona Coffee Rub, the seared in cast iron. Served on a Cauliflower Chive Mash Croquette with White Miso Butter and accompanied by a Horseradish Aioli. Just when I think I’ve had the best bite of the day, Chef Matt goes and screws things up for me by presenting this little beauty. This here is just heaven on a plate. The rib eye was cooked absolutely to perfection and melted like butter in my mouth. I loved his cauliflower mash croquette creation and the horseradish aioli. You can find this Kona Crusted Ribeye entrée on their lunch and dinner menus.
And finally…the Peanut Butter Pie..Whipped Peanut Butter, Salted Pretzel Crust, Callebaut Chocolate Ganache, Red Hawaiian Sea Salt and White Chocolate Mousse Whipped Cream. Oh my!!! Chef Matt really hit all the right notes on this one that is for sure. Loved the sweet and salty and creamy and crunchy contrasts that came together in harmony in a single bite.
I wish that Tommy Bahama would open a restaurant closer to where I live in Boca Raton, as the closest one to us here in South Florida is in Jupiter. But in the meantime, with future travel plans in the works to Orlando, you can count on my making plenty of stops back here to this one in Pointe Orlando to visit my pal Chef Matt.
CURRENT PROMOTION: All Tommy Bahama retail locations with restaurants have implemented a 20% off retail purchases with proof of a sales receipt at the restaurant, valid on the same day. So eat, shop & save all you Tommy Bahama fans. You’re welcome!
IT = Island Time, Tommy Bahama’s version of Happy Hour. Available EVERY DAY between 4-6pm where you can belly up to the bar and partake in great bites and cocktails such as:
House Wines $5
Signature wines $7
Selected beer $4
Well Drinks $4
Classic Cocktails $6
Ahi Tuna $7
Blackened Fish Tacos $6
Angus Burger Sliders $6
Macadamia Goat Cheese $5
Jerk Chicken Lollipops $5
Pulled Pork Quesadillas $5
I want to thank my friends at Tommy Bahama in Orlando for hosting me during my recent trip to Orlando. It was my very first time eating at a Tommy Bahama and I can’t wait to come back again. To visit this location:
Pointe Orlando 9101 International Dr Orlando, FL 32819
RESTAURANT HOURS & PHONE
321.281.5888 Open: 11:30 AM daily Happy Hour: 4-6 PM daily
STORE HOURS & PHONE
321.281.5886 11 AM – 10 PM Mon-Sat 12 PM – 8 PM Sun