Orlando Weekly’s Orlando Restaurant Week had started a few days prior, and Paxia’s lunch menu had some of the most unique lunch offerings on the $10 tier. The strawberry flan especially caught my eye. I found out later that Paxia only offers lunch Monday through Friday, but they still had their Orlando Restaurant Week dinner menu available. They have also extended their brunch to both Saturday and Sunday.
Adam and I walked in and were greeted warmly by the host when a collection of drinks on a table outside caught my eye. The host explained that most of the drinks were margaritas on the rocks, but the high goblet that looked like punch was their signature margarita, The Paxia. The main draw of the Paxia was the absence of any mixers like sweet and sour. The outcome was a smooth punch-like drink with fruit chunks and a nice citrus zest.
My Orlando Restaurant Week dinner for $25 included an appetizer, entree, and dessert, so I opted for the Calamare Paxia, Skirt Steak, and Strawberry Flan. The portion sizes of my one dinner order were enough for two people! The organic blue cornmeal used for the calamari breading gave the dish an interesting light blue color. The calamari wasn’t oily or flaky like other calamaris out there, and held together with a satisfying crunch. The calamari was served with a garlic mayonnaise aioli dip, which coated my mouth a little too much, and half a lime.
The skirt steak had a nice smoky flavor, but was covered by a salty black bean sauce. The fresh guacamole on top of the skirt steak cut through the strong sauce, but once I decimated the guacamole, I decided not to hunt for the rest of what seemed like juicy grilled vegetables. The dish would have definitely been helped by less sauce.
Adam ordered the chicken flautas, which were a good-sized portion of food! The chicken was moist, seasoned just the right amount, and were served over a bed of shredded lettuce with large dollops of fresh guacamole and sour cream. The tortillas used for the flautas were rough-edged and satisfyingly thick like Gringos Locos’ taco shells. Our friends also enjoyed the flautas, tacos with sweet plantains, and enchilladas suizas topped with crumbled cheese and greens.
Sides and Dessert
Since there were two new ceviches on the menu –– the Atun Ahi Tuna and Vuelva a la Vida –– Adam and I put in an order for the Vuelva a la Vida ceviche. The ceviche included scallops, shrimp, and lump crab in a red mole sauce. The sweet and spicy mole was more sweet than spicy, and the strong tomato flavor overshadowed the other spices in the dish. Adam and I also had sides of savory sautéed vegetable and potatoes with poblano peppers au gratin. Yes, I was a very happy girl to also have a dish of cheese-encrusted potatoes so nearby during our meal! The potatoes were a little bland except for the poblano peppers baked underneath the melted, toasty cheese topping. We finished our meal with a creamy strawberry flan topped with caramel sauce and powdered sugar. The flan still had the distinct cheese flavor of a traditional flan, but the splash of strawberry was a nice touch. The caramel sauce was slightly bitter, but I liked the flan overall.
I won’t be able to try Paxia’s Restaurant Week Lunch, but do want to return another time to try another entrée from the regular dinner menu. Paxia also has an extensive tequila menu that looked too good not to revisit. La Cava del Tequila will not be the only tequila bar I’ve visited for much longer!
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