We had a surprisingly good and pleasant early Sunday afternoon brunch here the other day. My friend Tommy and I went out for lunch to the Colonial Town Park area in Lake Mary and decided to try The Vineyard Wine Company--I had a menu we'd picked up there previously and it all looked so good. I'll certainly go back for dinner some day.
The atmosphere at The Vinyard Wine Company is very nice, lots of dark wood around the bar with lighter stone and beige colors elsewhere, and wrought iron on the front and the door, giving it a grand, spectacular, and rich look.
We arrived during "brunch" time on a Sunday when they have a special brunch menu with a limited lunch menu (also served on Saturdays).
It was not very busy when we were there, around 1:30 PM, though a large party of about a dozen well dressed patrons was just beginning their meal when we arrived, and several other tables were occupied.
Our waitress promptly arrived and provided some guidance and answers to our question. We had never eaten here before so took some time to study the menu. Eventually for drinks, we settled on a Hibiscus Mimosa (for me) and a Bellini for Tommy. Wow, both were very good. Mine had an edible hibiscus flower in the bottom of it. I ate it and it was wonderful, very sweet, and obviously had been sugared in a simple syrup. Wonderful taste though.
In reading the regular menu at home, I'd noticed a shrimp appetizer that sounded wonderful. We asked our waitress if it was avaible and she said she would check but thought they'd be able to do it if they had the ingredients. We were in luck, they could make it. So we started with that, the Rocket Shrimp. Oh my, was that good. The medium sized shrimp were lightly breaded and fried and tossed in a creamy sweet chili sauce and drizzled with sriracha and sesame seeds. They were served on a bed of crispy rice noodle that were themselves on a bed of field greens. The shrimp were well cooked, though could have used maybe 30 less seconds of cooking. Still, they were nicely cooked and not rubbery, but just short of perfection. But the taste of this appetizer was spot-on, I'd call it excellent, bordering on outstanding. Wow. We ate every bit of this appetizer and even cleaned up the rice noodles for the chili sauce they sopped up. An excellent dish and a great start to our meal.
I started my meal with a salad. It was a very nice salad. The best part of it was the homemade champagne viniagrette dressing--it was wonderful with a perfect balance of sweet and sour and the creamy smoothness of the oil. Wow. The lettuce was fresh and dry, and it was served with tomato, cucumber, and red onion slices. Above all, I enjoyed the freshness of the salad. It was a nice counterpoint to the spiciness of the Rocket Shrimp, though that did cause me to pursue a second mimosa, this time Pomegranate--also very good.
For my main course, I ordered the Tuscan Quesadillas. A flour tortilla was stuffed with a mixture of tender chicken, cheddar cheese, sundried tomato pesto, and marinated artichoke hearts. It was cut and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction, and served with some sour cream, a bit of fresh greens, and a garnish of curly-julienned carrots and red and yellow beets. Everything was very tasty indeed, including the carrot/beet garnish. The quesadillas were excellent and the marinated artichoke hearts (along with the sublety of the sundried tomato pesto) gave it a very rich and interesting flavor. This was a very good dish and I loved it. And it looked very good too.
For his main course, Tommy ordered the Black Angus Burger, a half pound hand-crafted burger seasoned with the chef's blend of seasonings and spices, served on a nice roll with lettuce and tomato and onion on the side. It was topped with a thick slice of provolone cheese and accompanied by "slinky chips." Slinky Chips are thick cut chips cut with a device that cuts around and around, thus giving large fries which form interesting shapes when fried. They are then tossed with a white truffle oil. They have an amazingly good flavor and are crispy and hearty. The burger itself was excellent, nice and tender and juicy. Tommy pronounced one of the best he'd ever had, second only to the Burger a Morgan's Burger Bistro in Sanford. So it was an excellent choice.
We had an excellent meal here. The service was excellent as was the food and the atmosphere. They were accomodating to our special request (the Rocket Shrimp) and everything served was fresh and very, very good. I would love to come back some night for dinner, the menu looks really good. The inside is warm and inviting. They also have a wine and gift shop next door and quite a wine cellar as well. I guess one should expect that with a place named "The Vineyard Wine Company." I enjoyed my experience here and definitely will be back again another time.