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Spotlight: Scott Joseph Says Urbain 40 Will Not Disappoint


Orlando has a new contender for best new restaurant, and the list of Central Florida chefs vying for national recognition and awards is almost certainly to add another name.

The restaurant is Urbain 40, a chic and classy brasserie that opened last month at Dellagio Plaza in the Restaurant Row district, and the chef is Jean-Stephane Poinard, a native of Lyon.

Poinard’s menu has classic French touches. That’s reflected in his Onion Soup Gratinee, which features a base of chicken stock. And before you gasp, “Mon dieu!”, you should know that chicken broth, not veal stock, is the traditional base of authentic French onion soup. Add chewy strands of onions, a house-made crouton and Emmental cheese — just enough, not too much — make it first rate.

Or try the Billi Bi Soup, a puddle of rich saffron cream broth with two mussel beignets surrounded by orange dots of smoked paprika oil.

The Striped Bass Meuniere was served on a platform of cauliflower potato puree, drizzled with a bit of brown butter, and garnished with lemon confit. The hunks of lemon were a tad too large, but the fish was perfect.

So, too, the Applewood-smoked Bacon Scallops, which included corn puree and candied bacon.

The Veal Chop was about as tender as veal gets, a characteristic of this particular veal’s milk feeding. The crust had a peppery seasoning, and the inside was a perfect medium-rare red.

Desserts, all made in house, are as elegantly prepared and styled as everything that comes before.

The atmosphere is as Parisian as anything you’d find on Boulevard St. Germain. It’s elegant and classy, and the restaurant overlooks the Dellagio Plaza’s massive fountain. Tres romantique. I indeed felt urbane, and I enjoyed sitting there and relishing that Orlando has a restaurant of this caliber.