Terrace 390 has reopened in downtown Orlando with a new name and a new focus in the kitchen.
The spot was originally home to the critically acclaimed Harvey's Bistro. In 2011 three University of Central Florida alums rechristened the space Terrace 390, a reference to its address at 390 N. Orange Ave. With its black-and-gold accents — a nod to UCF's team colors — the upscale-casual eatery became a hangout for Knight fans and downtown workers. The restaurant was sold the following January and the new owners closed the space before the calendar could be flipped to February. The lights flipped back on briefly but not long enough to be noticed by many
On Oct. 7 the doors opened again and the menu and management focus is impressive.
Owner Carlos Miro says his menu, which features Spanish and Caribbean influences, showcases his 20-plus years in the restaurant industry, most recently in Puerto Rico.
"A lot of people have been asking if we are doing farm-to-table," says Miro. "It kind of surprised me because that is all I know. We are making everything from scratch at Terrace 390."
Start with the tostones rellenos ($7.50), twice-fried green plantains shaped into small cups and then stuffed with ropa vieja (shredded beef) or chicken. A shrimp topping is available for an extra $2. We chose beef and were not disappointed. The meat tendrils had notes of smoky bacon and sweet onion.
At lunch, our 1/3-pound 390 burger ($8.50) was a proprietary combination of brisket and beef chuck ground in-house daily. The hand-shaped patty was cooked a spot-on medium, mostly pink with just a tiny bit of red in the center. Three categories of burger fixings include sauces (barbecue, roasted red peppers sauce, cilantro mayo, chipotle mayo, mayo-ketchup), cheese (American, provolone, cheddar, mozzarella and blue cheese) and toppings (caramelized onions, fried egg. mushrooms and more).
The fish tacos ($10.50) are a make-your-own presentation with three grilled tortillas filled with thin slices of beer-battered mahi mahi, garlic aioli, shredded lettuce, mashed avocado, sour cream and chopped tomatoes. The clean-flavored fish paired well with the creamy garlic sauce and buttery avocado.
At dinner, try the double-cut pork loin chop ($16.50). The meat is brined in a seasoned coconut bath and then smoked in a blend of mesquite and apple wood for at least six hours. The smoke is subtle and does not overwhelm the pork. The chops are served with a risotto of avocado, pecan and bacon.
Each day, the restaurant's pastry chef prepares cupcakes, Latin desserts such as quesitos and coquitos, and bread pudding. We opted for a selection of cupcakes ($2.50 each) for later. The restaurant packs the treats in individual to-go containers for easy transporting. My favorite was the quatro leches.
The waitstaff was pleasantly eager and knowledgeable about the new focus.
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** out of 4
Where: 390 N. Orange Ave. in downtown Orlando's Bank of America building at Livingston Street
When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, and 4-11 p.m. Saturday
How much: lunch $7.50-$16.50, dinner $7.50-$18.50
Beverages: Full bar
Wines by the glass: From $5
Extras: Catering, family-friendly, good for groups, outdoor dining, takeout and vegetarian options
Wheelchair access: Easy
Noise level: Nice conversational buzz
Credit: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Online: Terrace390.com and Facebook
Dining on a budget
The grilled chicken salad ($9.50) of mixed greens, chopped tomatoes, red onions, candied walnuts and roasted garlic dressing is filling. Or try the house-made soup of the day for $2.50-$5.50