True or false. A joint that has Sinatra's picture on the wall is a good joint. Unquestionably true. Chasen's, before it closed. La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills, still. 21 and Patsy's and Clarke's Bar in New York. The Galleria Bar at Caesars and the Golden Steer in Vegas. You could take it to the bank that if Frank's picture was there, it was GOOD.
So, the first thing I saw when I walked into the Starlight Lounge at Timpano Chophouse in Orlando was a great big painting of...Frank. This place is part of a (small) chain, but pally they get it RIGHT. The music is Frank, Dean and Sam. They have my favorite seating arrangement...black padded semi-circular banquettes. The ladies who work there wear Chanel-esque little black dresses. The men wear vests and slacks and deliver your cocktails with class. Both address you and your companion as "Mister", "Missis" or "Miss". They make you feel like somebody. The martinis are superior, as is only right.
All this would be good enough these days even if the food were mediocre. But the food is fabulous. They have a watercress salad with champagne vinaigrette. All the really good places have a watercress salad. They have wedding soup. Ditto. They have both beef and tuna carpaccio, both of which are perfect. They have very good steaks and chops. And salmon, if you must. They make the pasta fresh every day and the best one is the lobster and shrimp ravioli with fresh basil and roasted tomato sauce. When I finished my ravioli I had a unique experience. Erica my waiter asked if she could bring me another serving. Gratis. How often has that happened in restaurant history? I thought she was in love with me but ultimately I discovered that Timpano just doesn't want customers to go home hungry. I do not usually have dessert while I am travelling, but at Timpano they have the best dessert tray I have ever seen. Every one of the classic desserts is in a portion the size of a large shot glass so anyone can eat one and not feel guilty. My favorite is the strawberries Grand Marnier. If you really want to impress your guests, have the silver tree of assorted cheesecake popsicles brought over with your espresso. The toffee crunch and pistachio coated ones are very popular.
My (and I bet Frank's too) ultimate test of any joint is the bartender. Vonne is behind the bar at Timpano. She is a LOT younger than me. As a result, I thought I would test her by ordering a Stinger cocktail after dinner. Believe it or not, it was perfect. I didn't see that she looked it up, either. Also, the decor of the place is old school swank updated with some Tuscan touches. See for yourself at http://timpanochophouse.net/. The whole Timpano experience was the perfect antidote for a VERY trying travel day.
In short, I have now been to Timpano many times and I have never been disappointed by either my Lunch or Dinner experiences. Find one near you and try it today. If there isn't one near you, go to a town where they have one. You won't be sorry. Frank would agree.
In Front Of The Camera: Behind The Camera
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