Roll Out The Red Carpet, Luke’s Kitchen And Bar Is Fit For A King
Roll out the red carpet, Luke’s Kitchen and Bar in Maitland is your spot for a very special dining experience. Luke’s Kitchen and Bar was gracious enough to invite us for a food review recently and, wow! What an amazing experience. The moment you step foot into Luke’s, you feel special. The interior is upscale, chic, and dimly lit with a popular lineup of songs taking over the airwaves. The smells of divine cuisine waft through the corridors, bouncing from room to room, while the faint chatter of patrons playfully dances to the tune of the in-house music selection. It’s safe to say that this was one of the best experiences we’ve had during our years of restaurant visits across Central Florida.
Good food is good food. Being a foodie, critic, or takeout junkie teaches you that you really cannot judge a book by its cover. You can find delicious food in the most unlikely of places. On the contrary, occasionally you visit a hyped restaurant and leave hungry with unsatisfied taste buds. Luke’s Kitchen and Bar has it all. Ambiance, class, and cuisine. Not food; cuisine. What Luke’s is doing is far beyond what you or we would classify as “food”. The hospitality is top-notch and you’d be hard-pressed to find better service in the area. We were truly spoiled and want to thank Luke’s for their generosity and hospitality. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the amazing dishes we were lucky enough to try at Luke’s Kitchen and Bar.
Hospitality And Menu At Luke’s Kitchen And Bar
The hospitality at Luke’s is given at the most meticulous level. The staff does an impeccable job of explaining each dish in the most scrupulous detail. The menu is eclectic and highlights some extremely creative dishes from the unrivaled culinary powerhouse. With a borderline chaotic menu, Luke’s is serving up wild creations that will leave you coming back for more. Chef Ricky Ferrao really knows what he’s doing. Dishes follow the detailed culinary outline of incorporating acidity, sweetness, nutty flavors, and earthy flavors along with various textures that all work in harmony with one another.
The Wedge Salad
The Wedge Salad was our first course at Luke’s. This salad is a hearty fusion of flavors. Packed with sunflower seeds that add an additional crunch and texture, Asher blue cheese that adds a softer flavor when mixed with the dressing, peppers, onions, and olives. High-quality, clean, veggies take this salad up a notch. The Wedge Salad will leave you feeling refreshed and recharged on a hot day. Also, this is not a dainty little salad. You could easily master your lunch hour with a quick salad from Luke’s and remain satisfied for the rest of your work day.
Veggie Flatbread From The Pizza Oven
The Veggie Flatbread sits on a base of homemade sourdough. It is oak-fired with spinach, artichoke, roasted corn, and arugula. This flatbread comes out piping hot, perfectly charred, and crispy; with a hint of smoky flavor from the fire that shines through in the bread and adds to the experience. The addition of corn, which some people may find a bit odd, adds a sweetness that pairs well with everything else that this flatbread has to offer. For anyone who believes that you cannot add corn to a flatbread or a pizza, this is the argument to suggest that you may be wrong. We’ve never experienced a flatbread or a pizza that is still just as good the next day. Luke’s also opened their new patio area recently. The patio area sports a new wood-fired pizza oven, plenty of seating, and retractable screens to keep you cool and your food free of annoying insects.
Rock Shrimp With Kaffir Lime
Oh wow! It’s really easy to prepare shrimp incorrectly. Many “seafood” restaurants, in Florida of all places, tend to overcook their shrimp. However, that is not the case at Luke’s. We have never had such perfectly executed and succulent shrimp before. The flavor combination from the head chef is exquisite. The texture of coconut and crispy rice with the flavor from the kaffir lime all pair extremely well with seafood, specifically rock shrimp. Served with sourdough toast points to soak up any additional sauce, this is one dish that we had to force ourselves to put down. You’ll get some extra smokey flavor from the toast points which again is a well-orchestrated waltz between flavors. We will be visiting Luke’s again just for this.
Chairman’s Reserve Pork Chop
This is the big one! The Chairman’s Reserve pork chop is definitely meant for dinner. It is sous vide for four hours and then thrown on the grill for a char and some smoky flavor. It is then sat on a bed of sweet corn purée and is topped with a plum salad and drizzled with cherry jus. The pork is so incredibly tender and packed with flavor; at one point we had to close our eyes and simply enjoy. The corn purée and sweet notes from the cherry jus and the plum salad are unbelievable when tasted together with the savory and charred flavors from the pork. Add some almonds to the salad for crunch and believe us folks, you’ve got a winner.
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Andouille Sausage Crusted Red Fish
Memories of the Deep South are brought to this decadent redfish dish which includes a seared and crispy andouille sausage crust, jupiter rice, and gumbo. This is a substantially creative take with roots that reside in the origins of soul food. The culmination of the ingredients in this dish are at such a high level that we’re not sure you could find a better seafood dish in the area. This is unheard of. The andouille sausage alone is packed with immense flavor. The redfish is tender and prepared perfectly. The jupiter rice is locally sourced and is prepared flawlessly as well. Mix in some of the best gumbo we’ve ever had and you’re on your way to culinary bliss. This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the best dishes we’ve ever experienced anywhere; period. With all the Michelin stars flying around Central Florida lately, Luke’s may not have to wait very long for their own if they continue to serve up dishes of this caliber.
In addition, we were served Shishito peppers as a side. These Shishito peppers are paired with stone fruit and make for an interesting dish that is surprisingly tasty. This is a great pairing for the redfish. Keep in mind, 1 in 20 Shishito peppers may be spicy so it’s a bit of fun to share with your party. We would definitely recommend trying them as a side or as an appetizer.
Blueberry Upside-down Cake
Last but not least we were served the blueberry upside-down cake with homemade Madagascar vanilla soft-serve ice cream. Made with Florida blueberries and paired with a side of homemade cream fraiche, this is a decadent but not overly sweet dessert. The soft serve vanilla ice cream is made with Madagascar vanilla and then topped with dehydrated chocolate cake bits. The blueberry upside-down cake is also served with a poppyseed wafer that adds a toasty element to the naturally sweet cake. For people that don’t have a huge sweet tooth, this dessert was a dream. We would highly recommend completing your meal with this dessert. Good news, it’s even big enough to share.
Our trip to Luke’s Kitchen and Bar was truly a blessing. This is one date night idea that you will not want to pass up. Surprise your significant other with a trip to Luke’s as soon as possible. You’ll be glad you did. Just tell them Park Ave Magazine sent you.
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