One of my favorite places to go that has not disappointed yet is Big Fin Seafood Kitchen. They have a vast selection of fresh seafood, and although you shouldn’t get a steak at a seafood restaurant, they make perfectly seasoned and cooked meat. I would even say they have a better steak than some of the local steak restaurants.
This meal was specifically for a friend’s birthday and Magical Dining. We arrived at the shopping/dining complex on the far end of Restaurant Row in Orlando and chose to self-park, although they offer complimentary valet. I’m not a fan of valet parking because I don’t want someone else driving my car, and I also am pretty capable of parking my own vehicle. If I get to the point that I can’t park and retrieve my own car, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be driving at that point.
Prior to us getting there, I was called to confirm the reservation, and at that time, all seemed fine. As it turned out, I needed to push the reservation to a half hour later, and it was not an issue. We got to the hostess stand and were seated within a minute of arrival. Mo, our first waiter for the night, took our drink order and informed us we would have another waiter assisting him. We were given our set of menus, the Magical Dining, standard, and alcohol. Although I did not drive, I was not impressed with the beer selection, so I opted for my usual of Arnold Palmer (Bay Hill was less than two miles from where we were seated, so I thought it more appropriate than usual). My friend got her typical Pepsi, and we were served our drinks and the water within a few minutes.
Matt, our other waiter, arrived and took our order after we had some time to debate what we wanted. My friend was questioning the addition of the lobster for an additional fee only because she wanted to have the lobster with another lobster. I reminded her that we had the same meal last year and she then agreed to stick with it. When ordering for Magical Dining, it is customary to order the entire meal at once.
We placed our orders with both of us getting the filet, hers rare and mine medium-rare, and the additional lobster tail add-on. Matt mentioned her request was a good choice but didn’t say anything about mine, which had me concerned. I pointed this out, and he said it was okay as long as it was not over medium. I warned him about other friends that would be dining there Sunday. One of them is a fan of well-cooked meat. We all were disgusted by that.
As one of the options for appetizer was “Soup of the Day,” I had to ask because I love New England clam chowder. We had just discussed my allergy (See FAQs). I think Matt brought it up first. Unfortunately, the du jour was Manhattan clam chowder, which is made with a tomato base, so that was out. I ordered the oysters. As we discussed, a plate of two complimentary oysters was delivered to the table. They looked good, but I am always apprehensive. Matt said it was okay, but said he would make sure. My friend ordered the Ceasar.
When it came to the dessert, we were both curious about the Ooey Gooey, their signature dessert. The problems with this dessert are that it has a daily change. Every time I have been there, it sounded delicious, and on the occasions that I ordered it, it was. This day’s was blueberry. Usually, it is chocolate or vanilla, and it is a giant cookie or brownie almost like a molten lava cake. I have no idea what they meant by blueberry, but as my friend and I were not blueberry fans, we got alternatives. She ordered the key lime pie, and I the apple pie bread pudding.
After placing the order in back, Matt came back and verified I could eat the oysters that came out. My friend doesn’t eat them, so they were both mine. Soaking in lemon butter and garlic and topped with a mound of cheese, they had no oyster flavor, which is precisely what I wanted. I am not a fan of oysters, and this is the only place I eat them. Basically, they are a means of transport for something with more flavor. The first one was not as coated, but it didn’t matter as the second one was overflowing with cheese. They were gone in seconds, and I was feeling a little better, as I did not eat earlier in the day in anticipation of this meal.
Our appetizers arrived, and the salad was a salad. The oysters came with crackers, Old Bay, and two different hot sauces for me. As I had six oysters, I put the different hot sauces on each half over Old Bay. There was a definitive difference in the sauces, and I preferred Tabasco over Cholula. Last year was the first time I actually tried Cholula because they have tomatoes on their packaging, but there isn’t any in the product. It is a decent hot sauce and pretty thick compared to Tabasco, but I’ll take Tabasco over it any day.
After we finished and the plates were cleared, we had a bit of a gap to talk, and then the entrees arrived. The steaks were a nice size and cooked perfectly. Simply seasoned with pepper and salt, it tasted as it should. It was complemented by the sweet flavor of the lobster. I decided to dip the steak in the clarified butter since it was on the plate and it made it that much better. So very bad for the heart though. This was accompanied by asparagus on a bed of mashed potatoes. Overall, this was a typical pairing with traditional accompaniments for surf and turf. The thing is, it was done correctly. Neither the steak nor the lobster was dried out. There was flavor without it being overpowering. AND, it was filling. Maybe too much, as I questioned whether we should do doggie bags.
There was another gap after the meal, and then the desserts came out. My friend is not really a Key lime fan, so she took a few bites of her dessert and took the rest home to treat someone else. On the other hand, I had cinnamon (not like a fireball, but the real stuff) powered apple pie bread pudding. That was a mistake. Not because it was terrible, quite the contrary. I couldn’t stop eating it, and I had already overeaten. The apples were cooked but not mushy. The bread was toasted but not crusty. The sauce drenched the bread, but it was not soggy. Aesthetically, I was not fond of it being laid out like french toast at an expensive brunch, but concerning flavor, it was tops. I would not hesitate to get it again, and probably over a chocolate Ooey Gooey.
As always, I say I will be back here, and I intend to return. I love this place. The service is still, and so is the food.