Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hemisphere Restaurant

Picture this:
Friday night.
I'm gussied up: dress, heels, tiny purse.
I stare at the pouring rain from the backseat of a cab.
Anxiety is building as I am heading to one of my most dreaded destinations.
I've been invited to a holiday party....at the airport!

Atop the Hyatt Regency at the Orlando Airport lies what can only be described as a tiny culinary gem of Orlando. I understand if some of you are confused or bewildered at the thought of this. When I first saw the dinner menu for the holiday party at Hemisphere, I felt exactly as you do now. How could an airport hotel restaurant possible provide such a fun and interesting menu? And more importantly, how could I ever feel relaxed in a dining environment while watching planes take off and land??

I don't have any pictures...but here's some of what we dined on:

*Goat Cheese Lollipops dusted with Pistachios with a Raspberry Gelee
*Lobster Risotto Spheres with a Citrus Aioli
*Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Rosemary Maple Syrup
*Oysters on the Half Shell with Pink Grapefruit Salsa
*Canaveral Royal Red Shrimp Cocktail with Orange Fennel Remoulade

*Bay and Citrus Roasted Turkey with Farro Butternut Squash Risotto
*Seared Sea Bass with Three Cheese Polenta and Tomato Vinaigrette
*Petite Filet Mignon with Cognac Cream Sauce, Puff Pastry, Roasted Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms with a Foie Gras Butter

Multiple desserts with my favorite being:
*Petite Four Brandy Snap Basket filled with Orange Ganache

Yes, I sampled all of the above. All were outstanding but I had one favorite from each course. The Goat Cheese Lollipops were perfect with the creamy cheese, slight crunch of the Pistachios and sweetness of the Gelee. The Sea Bass stood out for it's creamy and cheesy Polenta with the flavorful Tomato Vinaigrette. And lastly, the Orange Ganache was almost over the top but a perfect pairing for the Chardonnay.

And yes, the view was amazing. Surprising I kept my cool about being at the airport and, well, near planes. The hotel and restaurant are so insulated that you can't even hear them! While the food was excellent I do have to comment that this was a private party with passed hor d'oeuvres and stations. The servers were all pleasant, but there was no sit down service.

Realistically, I know it's a pain to even think about driving out to this restaurant and dealing with airport traffic. Plus, I just read on their website that they do not have dinner service on Saturdays and Sundays. But the next time your flight is delayed, head on up and grab a bite while you're waiting!

Check out their menu here:

Hemisphere on Urbanspoon