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Spotlight: Urban Tide Takes Over Napa

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Technically, Urban Tide isn’t entirely new. It replaced the wrong-coastally named Napa when the hotel it is in was named Peabody Orlando. The new owners, Hyatt Regency Orlando, gave it a much more appropriate name, one that celebrates the seafood potentials of the correct coasts while acknowledging its inland city locale.

Little has been changed in the decor — no changes were really necessary. The space was spiffed up for Napa in 2010 with a contemporary design that emphasized a friendship with the environment (lots of cork tiles, for example).

And Jared Gross, an able and creative culinarian, remains as chef de cuisine. His menu for the month features an appetizer called Maine Lobster that is actually a risotto dish. That isn’t to diminish the amount of lobster meat in it, which was substantial and included a small claw that also served as the garnish. The risotto was wonderfully creamy, thanks, no doubt, to the tarragon mascarpone and grilled shrimp butter that were blended in.

For my entree, I decided to go with the snapper, and I wasn’t disappointed. The fillet was beautifully grilled so that the outside had just the slightest crisp while leaving inside flesh moist and delicious. I liked that the skin was left on — it leant a pungent flavor that was ameliorated somewhat by the Cajun beurre blanc that had been drizzled over the platform of stone ground Georgia grits. The orange wedges and grape tomatoes didn’t seem integral to the dish other than to provide some color and perhaps introduce some local produce.

For dessert I chose the Apple Honey Clafoutis, which looked more like a small donut than a classic clafoutis. Cinnamon cremeux and pecan dust were also involved, but I found it easy to take just one bite and move on.

Service was low key. I was glad I had the server I did and not the glad-happy one serving some nearby tables who was trying too hard. It matters.

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