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TR Fire Grill has emerged from its incubation stage in southeast Orlando and found a new home in Winter Park.
Joining the quick-serve Zona Fresca and neighborhood tavern Miller's Ale House, TR Fire Grill brings an upscale-casual option to dining in the growing Ravaudage complex.
For those who missed the location on south Semoran Boulevard, TR Fire Grill is a Tony Roma's concept aimed at millennials and other diners who want artisanal fare with a local farm-to-table approach.
The restaurant strives to use produce from farms within a 200-mile radius and lists them on the menu and a chalkboard near the open kitchen. The effort is definitely applauded even with a few elements clearly harvested from Homestead, more than 250 miles away. And kudos for using great growers within the target range such as J&J Family Farms in Loxahatchee, Premier Citrus near Fort Pierce and Wishnatzki Farms in Plant City.
An oddly sprawling layout contributed to the cold vibe at the dress-rehearsal version of TR Fire Grill near Orlando International Airport. The new incarnation, with a thoughtful arrangement of communal and regular tables as well as swell seating at the bar, has a warm feel. A "chefs table" — about 5 stools overlooking the kitchen — is good for interacting with the culinary team.
Start with the smokehouse wings ($10), four large pieces liberally coated with an eight-spice rub and served with chipotle buttermilk sauce. The rub had notes of smoked paprika, cayenne and cumin. The bacon and eggs ($7) starter was a thick slice of mustard-glazed bacon paired with three jalapeno deviled eggs sprinkled with barbecue potato-chip dust. The bacon tempered the richness of the yolks, which offered a subtle kick of heat on the finish.
In the Caesar salad ($9), torn sweet romaine was tossed with a creamy spin on the traditional dressing and topped with shaved asiago cheese. A garlicky focaccia "crouton" — really a small place of bread — was placed on the side.
The bibb salad ($6) was the winner, with meaty bacon and bits of buttery avocado tossed in a sweet Vidalia onion vinaigrette.
Smokehouse barbecue platter ($22) offered a shareable selection of Wagyu beef brisket, dry-rubbed chicken with sticky barbecue sauce, smoked pork sausage, sweet potato tots, apple cider coleslaw, sriracha barbecue sauce and a generous dollop of beer mustard all presented on a wood board. The brisket was on the dry side, but everything else was tender and juicy.
Chicken and waffles ($16) is a layered presentation. The plump waffles were described on the menu as having white Wisconsin cheddar and bacon dust. I could detect neither. A thin agave syrup was drizzled on top. In hindsight, I would have asked for the syrup on the side and sweetened myself so as not to overpower the plate.
For dessert, the seasonal warm apple cobbler ($6) was shareable and came with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Servers were knowledgeable and efficient on both visits.