ORLANDO–The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is debuting Knife & Spoon, a new signature steak & seafood restaurant conceived and led by award-winning Chef John Tesar, on October 7, 2020. Chef Tesar, along with Chef de cuisine Gerald Sombright, will celebrate the bounty of Florida on land and at sea, adding to the luxury resort’s already diverse collection of culinary outlets.
Four-time James Beard semifinalist, Chef Tesar is known for his innovative meat and seafood techniques, which he will highlight at his first restaurant in Florida. Knife & Spoon offers a menu centered on both steakhouse favorites and seafood dishes, focusing on locally sourced ingredients and the abundance of the region.
“The highly-anticipated restaurant, Knife & Spoon, from award-winning chef John Tesar offers guests a culinary experience that is not currently found in the Orlando-area,” said Jon McGavin, Area General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. “Our guests can expect innovative, thoughtful cuisine that honors an enormous assortment of local ingredients found in and around Central Florida. We are proud of the culinary mecca we have created here at Grande Lakes Orlando and are excited to add Knife & Spoon to the luxury dining destination.”
The menu begins with a selection of offerings from the sea, including Pounded big eye tuna, crisp baguette, foie gras torchon, Ligurian olive oil sea salt, chives; Hamachi sashimi, Hass avocado, Florida pink grapefruit, sriracha, baby cilantro; and Passmore ranch caviar, sturgeon chicaronnes, lemon chive flower crème fraiche.
Anchoring the menu are Knife & Spoon’s signature dry-aged cuts of meat, ranging from 45-240 days aged, providing an incredibly tender cut of steak. Handpicked by Chef Tesar from 44 Farms, an exclusive cattle producer, guests can choose from an array of different cuts ranging from bone-in Ribeye to New York strip. All meats are pan-seared, Chef Tesar’s preferred cooking method, which provides an incredible amount of flavor in each dish.
Additional items that showcase Tesar’s seasoned expertise include Smoked sturgeon head cheese, dill cream, sturgeon roe; Jumbo lump crab, gravy, crispy okra, Carolina gold rice; Herb and garlic crusted rack of Domestic lamb; and Whole Fish, Thai salad, ginger, lemon grass, vinaigrette, locally-caught and rotating daily; in addition to an array of weekly specials. Desserts round out the menu and include Orange Grand Marnier soufflé, passion fruit sorbet; White chocolate and vanilla mousse, lychee panna cotta, strawberry mint sorbet; and Almond macaroon, fresh raspberry, diplomat cream, yuzu sorbet.
The beverage program was curated by Knife & Spoon General Manager Colin Burke, along with his team, and features an extensive wine list showcasing an array of rare and esoteric offerings including bottles from Spain’s Canary Islands, Australian Semillon Wines, and White Chateauneuf du Pape, along with a large selection of dessert wines by the glass. The robust cocktail menus features twists on classics including The Highland 2.0 with Roots Mastiha, Bored-o Rouge, and housemade ginger beer; Maitre’d Manhattan with Tallow-Washed High Rye Whiskey, Dolin Dry, Dolin Rouge, and Truffle Bitters; and Seared Citrus Old Fashioned with Bourbon and Seared Orange Liqueur.
Designed in collaboration with Shoos Design, the 235-seat restaurant pays homage to the region’s deep-rooted history and diverse landscape, at the same time carving a new path forward for the traditional steak house by introducing unexpected and sophisticated design elements to enhance the dining experience.
Reminiscent of the Florida landscape, Knife & Spoon’s aesthetic showcases bright colors, light woods, greenery, soft fabrics and a variety of texture.
The welcoming lounge features a palette of warm, rich grays mixed with bold, saturated jewel tones. The playful juxtaposition of traditional yet modern finishes include grey Venetian plaster wall finishes, grey oak flooring, and colorful patterned rugs, and guests will immediately be drawn to the brass- clad bar with natural turquoise stone, acting as a centerpiece, which illuminates the space with a warm glow. Upon entering the dining room, guests will immediately notice the white “cloud ceiling”, seemingly floating over a sculpted, undulating moss garden, the focal point of the room, bring a sense of the outdoors in, while a beautifully curated expose kitchen brings an energy to the room.
Bringing a multitude of talent, a long record of success, and widespread recognition to The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Chef Tesar is a four-time James Beard “Best of Southwest Chef” semifinalist, a two-time contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and the winner of the inaugural season of Food Network’s “Extreme Chef”.
Specializing in modern American cuisine prepared with authentic European techniques, Chef Tesar began his career at Club Pierre in Westhampton, NY following classical French training at Paris’ La Varenne Ecolede Cuisine. After cooking in some of New York City’s most successful kitchens, Chef Tesar moved to Las Vegas to work alongside Chef Rick Moonen. In 2006, Chef Tesar took the helm of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, where he earned two five-star reviews. The authority on both seafood and steak, Chef Tesar is the genius behind menus at several restaurants in Dallas and has expanded with new concepts on the West Coast.
Knife & Spoon is committed to providing guests with a clean environment that aligns with expert protocols aligned with CDC, Florida, and Orlando guidelines.