A couple weeks ago, I was invited to a media tasting at one of Orlando’s newest farm to table restaurants, NOVA. This was an opportunity I wanted to jump on because I’ve heard nothing but great reviews from local foodies.
NOVA Scratch Kitchen is located on the corner of Orange Ave and Virginia, directly across from the beautiful Lake Ivanhoe. When I arrived, I was greeted by friendly staff and ordered a skinny margarita.
The decor is modern, open and chic. I love the sleek and trendy feel, especially during sunset. You can enjoy the lake view from inside or on their outdoor patio.
Savor craft cocktails, beer, barrel aged, wine and champagne. Check out the menu here .
This establishment uses only natural, local and sustainable ingredients.
NOVA Local Partners: Ancient Olive, Lake Meadow Naturals, Local Roots, Dakin Dairy,
Cahaba Farms, Suwanee Farms, Olde Hearth Bakery, Lombardi’s Seafood, Seminole Pride.
The star of the show, Executive Chef Valintinus Domingo AKA Chef Val.
With over 30 years of restaurant experience, Chef Val brings a unique twist to NOVA’s American dishes. He has lived all over the South, Pacific NW and has Filipino roots (hey, hey!). I loved chatting with him. You can hear the excitement in his voice when he talked about the dishes, his passion is contagious.
Deconstructed Tuna Tostadas
Cumin dusted ahi tuna/house made guacamole/flatbread crackers
Sesame Crusted Calamari
Point Judith Calamari/Sweet Thai Chili vinaigrette
Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
Basil and herb marinade/Burrata/toasted Challah/fig balsamic gastrique
Everything was delicious, but my favorite was the calamari and deconstructed tuna. I loved how the calamari was flavorful, with a bit if heat and a little hint of sweetness. It was absolutely perfect. The tuna tostadas were so good. You can tell that NOVA uses the highest quality of fish. Their guacamole was a bit different, too. I believe Chef Val said he added horse radish. Whatever it was, I liked the slight heat.
We all decided to order family style. Each person gets a different dish, everyone shares. This is how I do dinner with my family, so I was all about it!
Sesame-crusted ahi tuna / kimchi fried rice / coconut-ginger curry / vegetable stir fry
Fresh chickpea salad / sautéed artichoke / heirloom cherry tomatoes / lemon-caper pan sauce
Short rib patty / Vermont White Cheddar / over-easy egg / pecan-smoked bacon / brioche bun
Duck Fat Fried Chicken
Sriracha buttermilk chicken / braised collards / smoked Gouda mac n’ cheese
Lobster and Crab Ravioli
Organic spinach and tomato / sherry cream
IT WAS A FEAST!
Everything I tried was truly delicious, but I’m a seafood girl. The Ahi Tuna was my favorite out of all the dishes. Again, I loved the quality of the fish, which makes a huge difference. The coconut ginger curry paired well with the tuna. I’m definitely going back for more!
At the end of the night, Chef Val brought out Creme Brulee, Strawberry Shortcake and Key Lime Oreo Cheese Cake.
I could not get enough of the Creme Brulee. This custard was so tasty because Chef Val used a special ingredient, lemon grass. What a genius idea!
Totally forgot to mention the awesome service we had all night. Our waiter was great, kept the drinks flowing and checked up on us, but wasn’t annoying. We also had the privilege of meeting one of the owners. He sat down, shared his story and got to know us. I left there feeling like I made new friends.
Thumbs up, guys. I urge everyone to go to NOVA ASAP. I’ve definitely found my new happy hour/dinner spot. 🙂
Address: 1409 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
Have you been to NOVA? What did you try?