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Even a James Beard Award semifinalist isn't immune from the vagaries of the economy. Nationally recognized chef Kevin Fonzo, owner of both K Restaurant Wine Bar and Nonna Trattoria ed Enoteca, closed K's doors in late February and consolidated operations in the bungalow that housed Nonna. The newly amalgamated boîte, now called K Restaurant, has Kevin's brother Greg taking charge of a menu largely reflective of K's old bill of fare with influences from Nonna. The roll call of seasonal gems with a focus on local sourcing is what kept the old K thriving for many years, and it'll do the same for K's latest incarnation. As far as the space is concerned, the cosmetic changes are a welcome sight to the ears. The one aspect of Nonna that I didn't care for was the hardwood floor ' while aesthetically pleasing, that floor contributed to a clamorous racket throughout the restaurant. Now, with a thorough carpeting, the dining room makes craned-neck lobe-pinching a thing of the past. Velvet curtains add a touch of subdued elegance while nurturing an environment much more conducive to conversational sustenance.

Case in point: the grilled beef hearts ($9). We couldn't stop talking about how all the disparate elements of the appetizer harmonized ' the robust flavor of the sliced hearts, sweet roasted beets, brined tangerines, earthy greens and a horseradish dressing with pop. The thick tomato slice in the K-Stack salad ($7) came topped with goat cheese and mixed greens splashed with a citrus vinaigrette, but it was the basil leaves that helped balance out all the flavors. Fonzo's locavore predilection shows in these dishes, with the beef hearts coming from DeLeon Springs' Deep Creek Ranch and the tomato sourced from Sanford's Waterkist Farm. The herb and vegetable garden on the restaurant's premises was trampled during the move, we were told, but it should be primed for picking in a few weeks. An inordinate amount of time passed before our entrees arrived ' our server appeared somewhat harried waiting on the handful of tables in our vicinity and, as a result, we didn't quite get the attentive service we expected. Along with the time lag, our water glasses went unfilled ' minor miscues that were temporarily dismissed after one bite of the porcini-rubbed filet mignon ($32). Each silken bite washed in a cabernet sauvignon sauce aroused groans of gratification, as did the square of potato au gratin, slightly seared on top. A side of grilled broccolini ($7) dusted with parmesan and sprinkled with lemon was an ideal green to pair with the steak. The grilled wild Scottish salmon ($21) didn't produce as enthusiastic a response, but it was a decent slab, served with basmati rice and a pickled-tomato relish. Just when we forgot and forgave the wait time to get our mains, an even longer wait ensued just to put in our dessert order. Other servers tended to us through the course of our entrees, but we were all but neglected for a good 10 minutes after our table was cleared. Nevertheless, it was well worth the wait to sample a slice of fresh pecan pie ($6) served with a scoop of Guinness ice cream. Molten chocolate lava cake ($8), a choice insisted on by our server, was also superb. I can see why the table next to us chose to start their meals off with dessert.

As they've done in the past, the Fonzos, for the most part, run their restaurant to the letter. In K's case, that letter happens to be an A.

What a difference a letter makes. Back in February, Café Allegre chef and owner Kevin Fonzo told me of his plan to renovate the existing space, add tables and a private dining room next door, and adopt a new name. "Something with 'Kevin' in it, to make my mother happy," he said. What he came up with was K Restaurant and Wine Bar. What he has in K is a superb restaurant, one that took me quite by surprise.

People have been saying wonderful things about Café Allegre in College Park for years, something I'd attributed to the fact that there are very few restaurants in the area. On the site of the former Babycakes Restaurant, Allegre opened in May 1997. When then owner Maria Bonomo-Do Pico recruited Fonzo (a Culinary Institute of America graduate) from Atlanta's Phoenix Brewing Co., in 1999, the place turned from casual to upscale. Deep-red walls held paintings by local artists, the wine list expanded, and the menu added ingredients like venison and saffron.

Blame it on phases of the moon, but on every occasion I was there, food was miscooked, substitutions were made without discussion, and service was mediocre.

Well, same chef, same room, but in my recent experience dining at K, the quality of both food and service have skyrocketed. The meal was pleasurable from beginning to end.

A heady mixture of intensely flavored grilled quail ($7) on a bed of mache (a green similar to cress) and a puree of Vidalia onion -- so sweet I thought it was apple -- started me off. The seared scallop with sesame noodles ($6) was perfectly done, but note the singular form -- one scallop, not quite the bargain the quail was. Even a simple house salad of greens and mushrooms was a delicacy, sprinkled with balsamic and the right touch of shaved grainy Romano.

The main courses are seasonal; the menu on this visit featured grouper "picatta" ($19). People passing by the window actually came in to ask what I was eating -- it was that pretty. The slightly tangy pan-seared fish sat atop potatoes whipped with artichoke, and it was covered with a mélange of diced peppers and summer squash. It was exceptional. Equally good, the tender marinated chicken ($14) had its own potato mound, this time mixed with roasted garlic, plus more of the veggies, with a deep herb-flavored gravy.

Even if you loved the old cafe, it's an even better restaurant now. And I'll be back.

When it comes to Moroccan restaurant ventures in this city, Achraf Taby has had his meaty fingers in the mix of quite a few of them. After stints in the kitchen at the now-defunct Casablanca Grill and Lounge and the eponymous Chez Achraf (it's now called Atlas Express, but still serves Moroccan staples), Taby has taken the helm of the kitchen at Kabbab House, a visually alluring if somewhat clichéd grill/lounge in the MetroWest Plaza. And while history hasn't been kind to couscouseries in Orlando, owner Simo Soaf is determined to make it work, and most of what I witnessed suggests Kabbab House has the potential to be a mainstay.

With less than a handful of Moroccan restaurants in town (Epcot included), Berber cuisine has hardly had the opportunity to evolve ' so, not surprisingly, the menu here cleaves to the familiar. There's nothing wrong with that. You won't find modern riffs on traditional Moorish meals, but if you're up for kebabs, tagines, couscous and assorted Mediterranean bites, look no further.

Moroccan cuisine comprises a heady array of dishes tinged with influences from Persia, India, Spain and Levantine nations, and for a representative sampling, the five-course Royal Feast ($23.95) poses quite a value. Depending on your mood, you can start your meal off with sweet-and-meaty chicken pastilla or a Mediterranean platter of hummus, tabouli and baba ghanoush. The pastilla was served piping hot and was a tad unctuous, but the overall textures and flavors of this flaky phyllo pie stuffed with chicken, eggs and almonds and dusted with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon exemplified the exotic nature of Moroccan fare. The platter was entirely satisfying, particularly the tart tabouli. The next course featured hearty harira, my go-to comfort soup of choice, but one sadly lacking in beef. Soaf admitted it's a ploy to appeal to vegetarians but, thankfully, the essence of the spice-laden, tomato-based broth wasn't lost. Greek salad was well-portioned with enough feta crumbles to keep cheeseheads in check.

For the main course, diners can opt for a mixed grill of kebabs, lamb tagine or chicken tagine. The diminutive and anemic merguez sausage seemed like an afterthought on an otherwise impressive platter, dominated by succulent chicken and tender beef kebabs lanced on a blade. The beef, while soft, was overcooked; nicely seasoned kofta (ground beef) kebabs were grilled and seasoned to perfection; and the cushion of saffron rice deserved equal billing with the meat. Saffron and preserved lemon charged the sauce in the chicken tagine, with plenty of green olives offering a true taste of Tangier, even though the jus was a bit oily. Fluffy semolina highlighted a side of lamb couscous ($6.95), but the shank of the fluffy critter wasn't as fall-off-the-bone tender as I expected, and overcooked baby carrots added to the inconsistency. Honeyed baklava, the fifth and final course, proved too formidable for the IKEA silverware, but sweet mint tea made an ideal after-dinner refresher.

If you plan on dining here on Friday or Saturday night, be sure to call ahead; the place gets packed with patrons flocking to catch live music and belly-dancing. Service is friendly, but harried and uncoordinated. Our server worked feverishly while others paced the room like zombies. When utensils aren't delivered, glasses are left unfilled and checks fail to materialize, other servers need to pick up the slack. Still, Kabbab House holds a lot of promise, and with a little work, lovers of Moroccan fare may avoid having to hear the heave of the Moor's last sigh.

There aren't that many places in town, if any, that serve the gloriously spiced chapli kebab, the popular Afghan-Pakistani patty that's made my mouth water ever since sampling the beefy delight when I was but a lad. So when I saw chapli kebab ($11.99) listed on the menu of Kabob n' Curry, a quiet, tastefully appointed corner-space eatery in a tourist-area strip mall, a Pavlovian impulse kick-started my salivary glands. As I soon found out, the kebab was well worth the drool. The sizable slabs of moist mince, oh-so-subtly crunchy with pomegranate and coriander seeds, are pan-fried and served on a bed of lettuce. On a previous visit, the kebabs were served sizzling on a hot plate, but no matter how they're served, they'll totally gratify. Just be sure to ask for a plate of rice (it's complimentary), and an extra bowl of their incendiary chutney to drizzle atop the meat.

Even though the restaurant touts a menu of 'Indian gourmet cuisine,â?� I found myself drawn to the Pakistani dishes ' specifically the nehari ($11.99), arguably the country's most luscious dish. 'Neharâ?� translates to 'morningâ?� in Urdu ' so no surprise, then, that the meal is traditionally enjoyed in the morning hours. No matter the time of day, this is Pakistani comfort food at its finest. The velvety-soft shanks of beef are cooked overnight in a thick, lubricious curry spiked with bursts of ginger and chilies. The dish is best enjoyed with one of the many breads offered ' I opted for fluffy tandoori roti ($1.50) as my sop of choice.

Aloo paratha ($2.99) worked better as an appetizer. The spiced-potato-stuffed flatbread was cooked to a slightly greasy crisp, but wonderfully flavored nonetheless. No Indo-Pak feast is complete without an order of samosas ($2.99), and the pair of deep-fried potato-veggie pockets here are served up piping hot, though not together. Our waiter brought but one samosa at first and, naturally, I thought we were getting hosed on the deal. But soon after we cut it in half and finished it, the second one was delivered ' much to our delight. The service, it should be mentioned, has always been efficient and friendly, if somewhat inexperienced, but the wait staff is always eager to please. I ordered the pani puri ($3.99) ' the classic street food snack consisting of puffy puri bread stuffed to bursting with curry, potatoes, puffed wheat and chutney ' but they didn't have enough of the wee whole wheat crispy puffs to warrant charging us, so they placed a trio of puri on a plate, filled them with chickpeas and served it with a bowl of spicy ginger water, at no cost. The result, unfortunately, wasn't worth the price. Even the ginger water flourish couldn't save this one. Note: If you do sample the dish, or any of the 'chaatâ?� (snack) dishes, be aware that a primary ingredient is asafoetida, and that its strong sulfurous odor may be too much for diners unaccustomed to its pungency.

Falooda ($3.99), the rose-essenced ice cream dessert drink, neutralized the odor, but I was a little disappointed by the absence of vermicelli noodles, not to mention the fact that the ice cream had all but melted when it got to the table. Doughy rounds of gulab jamun ($3.99) didn't come in a pool of syrup, but they were saturated enough to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Diners, take heed: The dishes here pack a lot of heat, but culinary riches await those who battle the blaze.

The first thing that strikes you about Uncle Henry's is that it's a happy place. You're greeted with a smile from a man in a bright, button-down shirt, and your chair is pulled out for you when you sit. The plastic flowers that adorn the inside are colorful.

This oasis of cheer, coincidentally enough, is nestled in the heart of the city's Parramore redevelopment effort, on the ground floor of the Hughes Supply building on West Church Street. All around this epicenter of development, there is poverty and a history of failed attempts to make things better. But Uncle Henry's is happy, so you want to be as well.

This oasis of cheer, coincidentally enough, is nestled in the heart of the city's Parramore redevelopment effort, on the ground floor of the Hughes Supply building on West Church Street. All around this epicenter of development, there is poverty and a history of failed attempts to make things better. But Uncle Henry's is happy, so you want to be as well.

The menu advertises "'The Best' Soups & Homemade Pies," so my companion and I ordered the soup of the day, black bean and rice, for an appetizer ($1.95 cup). The soup was hearty enough, thick with rice and beans, but the beans were a little too hard for my taste, almost crunchy, and the soup itself was ordinary.

The menu advertises "'The Best' Soups & Homemade Pies," so my companion and I ordered the soup of the day, black bean and rice, for an appetizer ($1.95 cup). The soup was hearty enough, thick with rice and beans, but the beans were a little too hard for my taste, almost crunchy, and the soup itself was ordinary.

For an entree, I decided to go for the "served all day" breakfast – namely, "The Cha Cha omelet" ($4.75) that our waitress suggested. ("Only the HOT want me!" the menu cautioned.) The Cha Cha comes with ham, Jack cheese, hash browns, green peppers and a "calypso sauce" that seemed to be nothing more than a moderately spicy salsa.

For an entree, I decided to go for the "served all day" breakfast – namely, "The Cha Cha omelet" ($4.75) that our waitress suggested. ("Only the HOT want me!" the menu cautioned.) The Cha Cha comes with ham, Jack cheese, hash browns, green peppers and a "calypso sauce" that seemed to be nothing more than a moderately spicy salsa.

The Cha Cha was delicious, though calling it spicy is something of a stretch. It was large enough that I couldn't finish the entire thing – and I have a healthy appetite – and sufficiently loaded with peppers and hash browns to keep my taste buds intrigued. My one complaint would be that the cheese wasn't melted enough, but next time I'll ask for it that way. The accompanying grits and rye toast were done right, and once I loaded the grits with salt – because, you know, grits need salt – and melted butter, it made for a wonderful, filling meal.

The Cha Cha was delicious, though calling it spicy is something of a stretch. It was large enough that I couldn't finish the entire thing – and I have a healthy appetite – and sufficiently loaded with peppers and hash browns to keep my taste buds intrigued. My one complaint would be that the cheese wasn't melted enough, but next time I'll ask for it that way. The accompanying grits and rye toast were done right, and once I loaded the grits with salt – because, you know, grits need salt – and melted butter, it made for a wonderful, filling meal.

My companion ordered the tuna salad sandwich ($4.75), which she found most excellent. The bread was properly toasted, and the tuna was fresh. The potato chips that came with it, on the other hand, were crumbled up. Again, however, the sandwich was more than enough to satisfy her appetite.

My companion ordered the tuna salad sandwich ($4.75), which she found most excellent. The bread was properly toasted, and the tuna was fresh. The potato chips that came with it, on the other hand, were crumbled up. Again, however, the sandwich was more than enough to satisfy her appetite.

So we left, full and happy – which, I gather, is exactly the idea.

The Florida Film Festival at Enzian Theater continues through March 14, and visitors to the Maitland area have been exploring the shiny eateries along Orlando Avenue, north of Winter Park Village. But to complete the Maitland experience, make a visit to Kappy's, the downscale landmark that makes its own "anti-" statement about development. Use a little imagination to hear the car engines and radios that used to roar through Kappy's -- a 1950s-style diner with a covered parking area and picnic tables. The car-rally days have ended, says owner Bob Caplan. He's kept the place unchanged for 30 years come this May, and he bought it secondhand.

Caplan, a firm believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was working the order window the other night, whipping up shakes from his weathered building that backs up onto railroad tracks.

Caplan, a firm believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was working the order window the other night, whipping up shakes from his weathered building that backs up onto railroad tracks.

The clientele who swing in to the odd lot at the corner of Sybelia Avenue (across from a shiny 7-Eleven) are from all walks of life, joined by want of Kappy's Philly cheese steaks, hot dogs, burgers, subs, shakes, waffle fries, onion rings and root beer floats.

The clientele who swing in to the odd lot at the corner of Sybelia Avenue (across from a shiny 7-Eleven) are from all walks of life, joined by want of Kappy's Philly cheese steaks, hot dogs, burgers, subs, shakes, waffle fries, onion rings and root beer floats.

For old time's sake, we tried the "special" -- Philly cheese steak and onion, waffle fries and drink ($5) -- which contained enough carbohydrates to fuel a football team. We also tried the worthy vegetarian sub ($3.05), with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, and a dusting of oregano. The vanilla shake tasted like homemade ($2.85), and the waffle fries were not greasy (89 cents, small).

For old time's sake, we tried the "special" -- Philly cheese steak and onion, waffle fries and drink ($5) -- which contained enough carbohydrates to fuel a football team. We also tried the worthy vegetarian sub ($3.05), with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, and a dusting of oregano. The vanilla shake tasted like homemade ($2.85), and the waffle fries were not greasy (89 cents, small).

There's a slice of counter space inside, with worn stainless-steel swiveling stools that make you feel like you're on the set of a New York hole in the wall.

Karma Korner is a unique party place with a variety of parties and events. The club boasts an extra large dance floor and an airy atmosphere.

As classic American diners give way to more modern renditions, the wails of purists can be heard resonating from stainless-steel-and-Formica-heaped graveyards scattered about the city. People still lament the loss of Pauly's Diner, in the Mills 50 area; MetroWest's Le Peep; the downtown Burger Boy Diner; and, more recently, Bakely's Restaurant in Winter Park. In the case of the latter, it was pretty clear that when Bakely's ceased baking in favor of serving mediocre Greek fare, its very survival was endangered. So when word came that Keke's Breakfast Cafe was moving into the space, even counter-crouchers had cause to celebrate. Middle-aged waitresses and their familiar refrains ("Need a refill, sugar?" and "Leave room for pie, hon?") are no longer heard, but no one seems to mind.

On two separate weekend visits, Keke's was packed to its cappuccino-colored brim with a diverse patronage of seniors, families and sophisticated urbanites. Indeed, Keke's tagline "It's like your hometown diner grew up and went to the city" certainly rings true, and it's a vision bolstered by the cafe's sleek present-day stylings and service provided by a young and effusive wait staff.

The plop of a syrup-filled squeeze bottle onto the table made me wonder if its contents were real or some sort of Aunt Jemima swill. Keke's Breakfast Cafe is a rebranding of the Florida Waffle Shop, the Mall at Millenia-area restaurant that served me the very same corn-syrup sludge almost four years ago so, sadly, I already knew the answer. Our sympathetic server encouraged us to prod the manager to serve the real deal – we did and were assured that maple syrup would make its way to Keke's tables in the near future. 

Not that the satisfying banana-nut-caramel waffle ($8.99), or the enormous banana-chocolate chip pancake ($7.99) needed any. A little bit of butter (real butter, thankfully) was all the two griddled goodies required to impress. Also making an impression was the simple breakfast "salad" ($3.99), a leafless bowl of tart yogurt, granola, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and honey that demonstrated how the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. When it came to the basics -- eggs, bacon and home fries -- the kitchen, once again, excelled as all items passed morning muster.

Rumor had it that lunchtime selections (the burgers, specifically) weren't prepared as well in Winter Park as they were at the Millenia-adjacent locale. Rest assured, if you're craving a cheeseburger ($8.99), you won't be disappointed. Yes, the side of ho-hum fries ($2.49) left something to be desired and the uncrisp onion rings ($2.49) were a disappointment, even with a side of Texas petal sauce, but the burger? Solid. That the cheese steak ($8.99) was served between slices of bread instead of in a hoagie roll was a little puzzling but it, too, was a worthy noontime option.

It's clear that Keke's is out to set itself apart in the burgeoning upscale breakfast market, but with upscale sensibilities come prices to match, a trait not lost on budget-conscious diners. To the franchise's credit, its attitude, like its food, is undoubtedly fresh and the market, at least initially, appears to be responding. For Keke's, that's key.

It's clear that Keke's is out to set itself apart in the burgeoning upscale breakfast market, but with upscale sensibilities come prices to match, a trait not lost on budget-conscious diners. To the franchise's credit, its attitude, like its food, is undoubtedly fresh and the market, at least initially, appears to be responding. For Keke's, that's key.

We didn't review this location but you can check out the review of the Keller's Real Smoked Bar-B-Q on University Boulevard.

We didn't review this location but you can check out the review of the Keller's Real Smoked Bar-B-Q on University Boulevard.

We all know that safety deposit boxes are places of personal treasure – diamonds, gold, family heirlooms. But index cards? Not exactly the family riches. Unless, of course, you're Todd Keller.

Keller, of Keller's Bar-B-Q, has pulled his father's recipes out of lockdown once again to bring authentic barbecue to a new University Boulevard location. Coming from a long line of barbecue masters, Keller learned from his father, the creator and king of the famed Fat Boys' Bar-B-Q. Keller decided to follow his parents' smoke trail and opened his own barbecue joint in 1994 in Lake Mary. He's had his hands in the barbecue world ever since.

Not much has changed since the first Keller's opened or the second location in Altamonte Springs; the food is still as delicious as ever. The difference at this third place is that Keller partnered with a childhood friend and neighbor, Kemp Anderson. The barbecue is still some of the best you'll find in these parts, and I brought my own personal barbecue expert to testify. My husband, Gregg, is from an area of Kentucky where three of the top 100 barbecue restaurants in the world are located. (There's such a reverence for barbecue in his family that his father used to say to him after eating three helpings of done-right pulled pork, "Son, I'm proud to be eating with you.") And my expert gives Keller's his mark of approval.

Keller's is a bastion of fun in an outparcel building set in an otherwise dismal parking lot. Loud vinyl cowhide tablecloths on the outdoor tables scream (moo?) from across the lot. Inside, the lights are bright, the music loud. Murals of idyllic farm animals look out on the small dining room. On another wall, there's a mural of the original Fat Boys, a reminder of where those animals end up. Friendly is the only word to accurately describe the service. Everyone is treated like a regular, in the spirit of a country café.

Sweet corn nuggets ($3.99) are as delightful as ever, especially when dipped in mountain honey. The Brunswick stew ($2.99) is one of the recipes from Keller's safe. The shredded pork, chicken and beef thicken a rich, peppery stew packed with country sausage, lima beans, corn and crushed tomatoes. We skipped the salads, adhering to the philosophy that there is no reason to nibble on iceberg when one can save more room for something of the smoked order. But if salad is your thing, I hear their smoked-chicken version is good ($7.99).

Gregg ordered the sampler platter ($13.99), a meat-lover's dream with sliced pork, beef, one-quarter chicken on the bone and ribs. Although there is no open pit in sight (the fault of EPA regulations and strip mall kitchen specifications), Keller's has managed to capture the charred flavor of an open-pit smoker with help from a top-of-the-line commercial smoker and Keller's savvy from a lifetime of barbecue experience. The meat was tender and infused with the robust flavor of pure blackjack oak.

I got smoked turkey on garlic bread ($6.59) and drenched it in sweet sauce. The smoky meat and buttery toast was a match made in paradise. I ate every last bite, then reached over and stuffed a few pieces of Gregg's sliced pork between stray garlic bread. No barbecue meal would be complete without mention of sauces, and Keller's has three – "original" mustard, spicy tomato and sweet tomato.

Of the sides, the baked beans, another time-tested recipe from the vault, are made fresh, with smoked meat for flavor. The green beans are loaded with bacon and, thankfully, are from a can. (Fresh green beans don't go with barbecue.) Skip both the cole slaw, a flavorless clump of shreds, and the Sysco-delivered dessert. Even Keller admits these aren't strong points.

My advice is to save as much room as possible for meat. After all, it's the stuff that heirlooms are made of.

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