Bite 2016: Highball & Harvest 

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Photo by Rob Bartlett

Working with double-Michelin-starred chef Danny Grant at Miami's Yardbird certainly paid off for Nathan Hardin when he stepped in to replace Mark Jeffers at Highball & Harvest inside the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes last summer. Hardin maintained the level of quality of the restaurant's Southern-inspired dishes, and with right-hand sous Jeremy Soares, enhanced the offerings with the introduction of new dishes.

For those seeking LDL-building comfort cloaked in a fancy veneer, no dish on the menu is more apropos than the "chicken picnic," with its crisp bites of fried chicken, Fresno-spiced watermelon and corn spoonbread with farmer's cheese. House staple shrimp & grits, another looker of a dish, puts Canaveral Reds over Anson Mills grits anointed with a charred tomato barbecue sauce and crested with arugula, fennel and crisp onions. No doubt Messieurs César Ritz and Auguste Escoffier are rolling over in their graves, but Hardin and Soares give today's food-obsessed Millennials exactly what they crave — comforting and competently executed dishes fashioned from farm-fresh ingredients, and served in a loose and friendly atmosphere.

4012 Central Florida Parkway, 407-393-4422; $$$$

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