Primo Restaurant – Orlando, FL

I had the pleasure of dining tonight at Primo Restaurant at the J W Marriott at the Grande Lakes Resort in Orlando, FL. I know what you might be thinking: a Marriott restaurant? Big deal. But, first remember that the J W Marriott is the flagship of the chain, and they are definitely more upscale.
This restaurant is co-owned by Chef Melissa Kelly, a James Beard winner who graduated first in her class at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, and apprenticed at several forward thinking restaurants, like Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Her style is locavore, and she grows her own veggies wherever possible, cures meats, makes all pasta in-house, and is obviously committed to quality.
The food shows the result!
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I started with an Amuse Bouche of Grouper Crostini. The breads are all housemade, carved from a large decorative bread station, proudly and out in full view, and served with a real good olive oil. My first course was Oyster Fritters, which maintained a fresh oyster taste with a lucious batter and a great aoili, garnished with fresh herbs. Melt in my mouth good.

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My next course was pork Saltimbocca, in a traditional sauce, over spinach. I subbed in gnocchi for the usual garlic mashed potatoes. This rivaled the best I'd remembered eating in Brooklyn or Little Italy in NY.

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The dessert choices were dazzling, including S'mores Two Ways, and Budino, but lately I've come to believe that any really good restaurant that makes its own donuts is compelling me to try them. These giant Zeppole were rich and satisfying. Just dusted with sugar – no fancy sauce needed.

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I’m staying here a week, so I have a feeling I might try this place again pretty soon!

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