When Ace Cafe Orlando first opened in downtown Orlando a few months ago, the refined biker bar was serving up some rockin’ drinks but the location’s food menu wasn’t quite ready for primetime.
Now, under Executive Chef Christopher Truesdell, Ace Cafe is finally serving up some substantial grub in the form of scratch-made American diner fare.
Located on a three-acre parcel in downtown Orlando, the extensively refurbished 100-year old Harry P. Leu buildings have been transformed into Ace Cafe Orlando, spanning two floors with two kitchens, four bars, a coffee bar, and a mezzanine overlooking the main floor dining area and stage along with retail shops and an art gallery. It’s quite the sprawling spot to grab a drink or a bite to eat.
As part of a recent complementary tasting event, I was able to sample nearly everything on Ace Cafe’s menu, offering some pictures and thoughts below.
Born out of England, the restaurant serves some British favorites including Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips, and Chicken Curry.
But while Brits may find the Fish & Chips to be merely passable (a bit soggy and chewy), Ace Cafe menu really shines when it comes to their unique spins on American comfort classics.
The Braised Chicken Nachos are a fantastic way to start off a meal as are the Buffalo Chicken Empanadas, which exchange expected Latin spices for punchy Buffalo sauced chicken. It’s a bit off-putting at first, but it works.
The stars of the menu are definitely the sandwiches. Ace’s take on Pastrami Reuben and Turkey Burger Sliders are both outstanding. The Reuben has all the standard fixings with its only fault perhaps being a bit overly sauced. But the Turkey Burger Sliders are perfect. Don’t expect overcooked, dry turkey patties here. I’d return to Ace just to enjoy these wonderfully juicy sliders, enhanced by a delightful combination of salsa, Pepper Jack, pickles, and avocado.
For those who enjoy a smokey flavor in their meal, the Mahogany Wings won’t disappoint – even if the majority of the smoked flavor comes from the sauce, rather the wings themselves.
There appears to only be one vegetarian option on the menu, the Superfood Salad. It’s a great healthy alternative to the heavy foods that are otherwise served here. Lightly dressed, this salad’s best part are the candied pecans.
The Blackened Fish tacos are neither bad nor good. But the one item to avoid is the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Tomato Bacon Jam. Overly greasy and unpleasantly rich, there really is nothing to enjoy about this dish, as good as it sounds.
Among the desserts, the restaurant’s bread pudding and brownie are sadly dry and chewy, but the Creamy Cheesecake lives up to its name and is a lovely dessert that feels a bit lighter, even if it isn’t. (I’m usually not a big fan of cheesecake and I happily devoured it.)
Ace Cafe continues to serve delicious drinks across its four bars, with the Ketel One Mule and Grapefruit & Ginger Martini well worth ordering.
Don’t miss the spiked gelato milkshakes, a stand-out treat amongst the alcoholic offerings. (There are non-spiked versions available too.)
In addition to their everyday fare, Ace Cafe Orlando is open on Sundays for brunch, which includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, bottomless mimosas and a build-your-own Bloody Mary Bar.
The relatively new establishment is definitely not your usual Downtown Orlando bar hangout, providing a family-friendly atmosphere that’s clean and inviting while serving up a solid mix of food and drinks. It’s not the healthiest menu in town, but who would expect that anyway from an upscale biker bar?
You can find out more about Ace Cafe Orlando on their web site.