Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

click to enlarge bartlettimage-del-frisco_s-5114.jpg

Photo by Rob Bartlett

Del Frisco’s brings big-city bravado and budget-busting beef to I-Drive 

High steaks

One of the benefits of living in a city rife with chain restaurants is that there's no shortage of high-end steakhouses. Two of the very best – Capital Grille and this week's featured restaurant, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House – sit across from one another on International Drive, each staring the other down out of the corners of their rapacious restaurant eyes. Capital Grille's dry-aged steaks and Del Frisco's primarily wet-aged prime cuts doggedly vie for the almighty tourist and conventioneer dollar, both budget-busters and both unapologetically proud of it.

You'll doubtless recall the Del Frisco's of yore on Lee Road (now Christner's) in all its wood-paneled glory; don't think for a second that the Double Eagle is a rehash – this chop shop is named for the rare $20 gold coin. No, Del Frisco's return to the city is as prodigious as the restaurant itself – a two-story colossus with a shimmering nouveau-deco interior that will appease the chevron lover in you.

Wine vaults, towers and cellars are scattered throughout – 1,300 labels amounting to 10,000 bottles overseen by accomplished beverage director Jill Davis and two additional sommeliers – so you're sure to find a complementary quaff for your pricey slab of steak, like the bone-in ribeye ($59). The wet aging of the 22-ounce USDA Prime slab compromises some of the flavor (which is why I've always been partial to dry-aged steaks), but you can't argue its texture. It's as tender as tender can get, and more so if you order the filet ($42.50, 8-ounce; $49.50, 12-ounce). When the steaks are served, you'll be asked to check your steak for doneness immediately. We thought it a tad pushy (and a bit difficult, given the dim lighting), but they were done to our liking. Hey, in the nitpicky world of high-end chophouses, you have to nitpick.

All steaks, by the way, are seasoned with salt and pepper, then broiled, including an American wagyu tomahawk chop ($89), a steak for two (or possibly three). Of the sides, a creamy maque-choux ($12) had us swooning, but the asparagus ($13) had us wondering if anyone in the kitchen knew how to properly trim off the hard ends of the spring vegetable. A slew of sauces are hawked (the $20 foie gras butter, par exemple); we ordered a side of bordelaise ($3) but, instead, received a béarnaise. A béarnaise!

Starters, I find, are wholly unnecessary when sizable hunks of meat are in the offing, but we caved to the pleas of our assiduous server, who rattled off a bevy of apps for our consideration. We were sold hard on the $20 crab cake (it was actually $19.50), but opted instead to enjoy some briny Dabobs and clean Fanny Bays with a cucumber finish. The oysters, in fact, proved more enjoyable than the stone crabs ($26) which were unusually friable, a little stringy and not very succulent, possibly from being overcooked. The hot towel service after we finished our starters was a nice touch, however.

A graham-cracker-crust-forward Key lime pie ($11) wasn't as tart as I like, but a light and fluffy banana bread pudding ($10) was worth the long wait.

At Del Frisco's, sticker shock awaits the steak lover without an expense account, but not so for big-league businessfolk and spendthrift tourists. They're the base on which the Double Eagle preys.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation