I am a regular poster on the South message board, particularly on topics related to Charlotte and BBQ, so please don't read this as a shill. A significant percentage of my postings are negative reviews although I am a less active poster than I once was.
In any event, we were looking for a place to take our daughter for a birthday celebratory dinner and were having a difficult time with our decision so we decided to try Machon at the Orlando Culinary Academy. The restaurant is staffed entirely by students at the cooking school. Tony Adams, who runs the program, has worked in the kitchens at Charley Trotters, Daniel and the Magnolia Grill in Durham, among other places, so our expectations were high.
In summary, we were thrilled with the choice and enjoyed an inventive and superb meal.
Among the highlights:
The mushroom sampler was a huge hit, particularly the duxelles crostini - the rich buttery flavor of the creme fraiche that was spread on top of the bread proved took the flavors of the mushrooms to new heights.
The fresh oysters were as delicately flavored as any I have ever eaten. I must admit that I usually clobber my oysters with horseradish and hot cocktail sauce. Since there were three, I tried one with the cocktail sauce and one with the lemon granite (which was like a lemon scented broth). For the decisive oyster my fork headed straight to the granite, much to my surprise.
Our favorite entree was the lamb shank on top of a bed of orzo in a rich creamy sauce that reminded me of grits. And I'm not talking about the Quaker instant grits but old fashioned stone milled grits that have been cooked for an hour with cream that is refreshed each time the liquid cooks off. What a satisfying cooler weather dish. The lamb shank was so enormous I was reminded of Fred Flintstone eating those dinosaur shanks in the old cartoon series.
We were absulutely full but bravely headed into the desert course where the lemon tart with the homemade marshmallows was the highlight. A spritely combination of sweet and tart flavors that I always find so intriguing.
Machon is not really a chowish place but is a reasonably priced restaurant for serious foodies. Anybody who is seriously interested in food should make Machon a priority when visiting the theme parks at Disney. To miss it would be a real shame.