When you’re tired of having the same thing for dinner over and over again, consider an Orlando pop-up to break up the routine. The Foreigner – A Culinary Experience is an omakase-style dinner that takes over two popular restaurants each week after hours. Expect familiar flavors prepared in new ways as well as new ingredients you may have never considered trying before.
The Japanese tradition of omakase, which means “I will leave it to you,” allows the chef to decide what will be served. During this five-course tasting, Chef Bruno Fonseca thoughtfully prepares dishes that represent the cuisines of his childhood, including Brazilian and Italian.
Dinners take place every Friday at Melts on Main in Winter Garden and every Saturday at The Heavy in Winter Park. Each cozy space comfortably seats up to 10 diners and provides an ambiance that leads to socializing, though that’s harder to do these days.
Before the pandemic, both locations sat diners along the bar, where they could watch Fonseca in action and share with one another their thoughts on each bite. Now, socially distanced tables are the vehicles for this culinary journey.
While some seats still offer views of the kitchen for diners to sneak a glimpse of what’s to come, Fonseca keeps the conversation going by entering the dining room (masked, of course) as each dish is served to describe the ingredients and how they integrate into the theme of that month’s meal. Opportunities for Fonseca to engage with diners also come from special touches in his plating, such as a tableside dusting of tomato snow (a delicate savory sorbet) over a thinly sliced octopus carpaccio.
With each meal, Fonseca challenges diners to think outside the box. On last month’s menu, what looked like an upscale chicken dish was actually a moist, flavorful hen paired with okra and a sweet corn puree, which provided a delicate balance to that course. The month before, Fonseca presented a roulade of rabbit and foie gras served with a sweet carrot puree that was both indulgent and just the slightest bit gamey. An optional wine pairing is offered when making the reservation and it comes highly recommended, as it adds another level to the entire experience.
A meal with Fonseca at The Foreigner – A Culinary Experience is one that results in a food memory that can be continually savored, and since the menu changes monthly, you can make these memories again and again. Reservations are taken on TheForeignerExperience.com up to one month in advance. Since seating is limited, it is recommended to book early.