Timpano Italian Chophouse & Martini Bar in Doctor Phillips

Italian restaurants are decent for the most part, but few rise above that line to memorable. Timpano Italian Chophouse & Martini Bar puts their own spin on Italian without losing the family style, traditional hallmark flavors people associate with Italian food. Timpano recently hosted a food blogger tweetup where Chef Patrick and his kitchen staff shared some of the most memorable Italian I’ve had in Orlando.

Rat Pack lounge music, which later gave way to a wonderful band, crooned in the background as Adam and I relaxed with MegaYummo, @Mikochu, Katie’s Cucina, and Droolius. Everyone either had the featured Big City Cosmopolitan or Pear-fect Martini, although Adam and I both preferred the Pear-fect Martini in the end. The Big City fell a little flat flavor-wise where the Pear-fect reigned with a nice tang between the lime, pear purée, and a dash of sweet Italian wine.

Assorted Flatbreads of the night were a sweet Italian sausage flatbread and a steak flatbread. The sweet Italian sausage version was topped with caramelized onions and mozzarella — the affect was light and satisfying. Its steak-covered cousin included a mild horseradish cream sauce, onions, mushrooms, and fresh arugula. I was a bigger fan of the sweet Italian sausage flatbread only because I was wooed by the generous meat and cheese toppings. The horseradish cream sauce on the steak flatbread could have had a little more bite, but the arugula complimented the strong steak and cheese flavors.

The Black Skillet Roasted Mussels made people’s heads turn when waiters carried the sizzling plates high to neighboring tables. After a few flat breads, our mussels were set on a two-level platter. The top tier was full of tender, buttery mussels in a garlic wine sauce and the bottom tier was a bowl we used as a shell caddy. I dipped thick slices of the fresh focaccia in the buttery sauce as I savored the mussels. The chef mentioned the mussels were slowly simmered in fresh herbs, lemon, and butter until they opened and were basted in more sauce. There was also a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake served over a lemon chive aioli that was light a feather underneath a judicious layer of bread crumbs. My usual quarrel with crab cakes is that they’re either oily or over-breaded to the point where the crab just doesn’t taste like crab, but I’m glad Timpano’s lump crab cake crushed my preconceptions in a good way.

The richness of the mussels’ butter sauce and breaded crab cake was offset by a refreshing plate of a Deconstructed Bruchetta. Plump, assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes were lightly tossed in olive oil, fresh basil, and a pinch of pepper. The tomatoes’ plate mates were a generous cut of mozzarella and addicting, lightly toasted garlic ciabatta. There was also a sun-dried tomato spread for the ciabatta that reminded me of a pesto with a generous olive oil infusion. The salad and accompanying focaccia are indispensable antipastos — light and shareable with fresh ingredients that can be properly appreciated in this deconstructed version of an old favorite. The flatbreads, mussels, and salad preceded what was a heady Italian meal.

When I think Italian, I think pasta. While there was pasta at the table, there was also an abundance of fish and meats. Adam’s Trio Mixed Grill of the Day was a six-ounce filet served medium rare with a scoop of garlic mashed potatoes and a four-ounce portion of Corvina. The herb-encrusted filet had a crunchy sear. The seared Corvina in a mustard cream sauce — my favorite of the night — surprised me with a buttery texture and mild flavor. The filet was served on a crisp bed of green beans. The mashed potatoes were lightly flavored garlic but were really just a stage for the filet. The waiter didn’t ask Adam how he wanted his meat cooked, but medium rare filet was delicious. My Veal and Wild Mushroom Rigatoni was a hearty bowl of tender meat, mushrooms, and pasta. Both the veal and mushrooms had soaked in some of the roasted garlic cream sauce; just enough to compliment, not overwhelm. Now I’ll be looking for braised veal on menus, since all my past experiences with veal have been tainted by terrible veal parmigiana. 

I was thankful for the shared servings of Tiramisu, New York Cheesecake, Chocolate Mousse Cake, and Crème Brûlée with Mixed Berries because I knew I couldn’t handle any one dessert by myself. The Tiramisu was dusted with an espresso topping and studded with fresh strawberries, but the spongey cake was slightly frozen in places. The New York Cheesecake was consistently creamy and topped with berries and a light berry sauce — a great example of classic New York Cheesecake! The Chocolate Mouse Cake was oozing with rich chocolate and served with a side of vanilla cookies and cream ice cream, which was a welcomed break from all that chocolate! I could have used a little more ice cream just to alternate more between the chocolate cake. My favorite of all the desserts was the delicate Crème Brûlée with caramelized top and plump berries; it was simply light, sweet, and all I needed after such a heavy meal.

Timpano takes Italian standards and turns them around into still hearty but fresh ideas.  I was left feeling less bogged down with pasta and more like I had a unique experience. Now that you’re curious about Timpano, I have a giveaway for a $25 gift card that you can enter by commenting on this post about your favorite Italian meal.  The giveaway will close the night of Tuesday, March 6, and the random winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 7. Good luck!

Edited 03/07/2012:

The entrants’ email addresses were entered into Random.org, and after a quick click, the winner of the Timpano $25 gift card is James! Thank you to everyone who entered, and keep a look out on Facebook or Twitter for future giveaways. James, just email me your mailing address at marilyn (at) forkful (dot) net and that that $25 gift card will be sent your way soon.

Disclosure: The food and gift card mentioned in this post were paid for by Timpano Italian Chophouse & Martini Bar, although the views and opinions expressed in this post are purely my own. This post was not reviewed by the restaurant in any way.

T: (407) 248-0429

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14 Comment

  1. I’m a big fan of bolognese and carbonara, but pretty much any pasta is a winner in my book! Nice review. 🙂
    Christine, Random Hangers blog recently posted: Use Your Imagination: Tantalizing Tastes & ToursMy Profile

    1. Anything in a delicious meat sauce is pure win! I also have a soft spot for any pasta smothered in Alfredo or Marsala wine sauce.

      Best wishes on the giveaway!
      Marilyn recently posted: Lee & Rick’s Oyster Bar and Seafood HouseMy Profile

  2. The martini and flatbread look amazing!

    Funny I worked by there for almost 7 years and didn’t know what I was missing.

    1. I guess hanging around work after a shift wouldn’t be my ideal way to spend a night either. lol When I worked in retail and got off work, I didn’t want anything to do with the store after heading home. All that aside, those martinis and flatbreads would be a tasty incentive. The flatbreads seem to change daily depending on which flatbreads the chef wants to make that evening. 🙂

  3. Eric Outlaw says:

    I love Maggiano’s veal and mushroom ravioli.

    1. I’m just adding and adding to my Maggiano’s wish list from all these tasty comments. 😀

      Thank you for visiting Forkful!

  4. Love to start with fresh bread with an olive oil and herb dipping. Followed by a plate of figs, cheeses and cured meats.

    Fresh heirloom tomatoes, slices with salt and pepper and a sprig of basil.

    Veal carbonara with a side of linguini with an olive oil / garlic sauce

    Pear Torte for dessert, accompanied with a shot of lemon ciello.

    1. That already sounds like a delicious menu. My heart lept at “fresh bread,” and I wanted to hug you when you mentioned the pear torte with a shot of lemon ciello! A bottle of lemon ciello can often be found chilling in the freezer at Casa de Forkful.

      Thank you for reading Forkful. 🙂

  5. In my book Maggiano’s Chicken Alfredo is the best in Orlando.

    Admittedly though, I’ve only scratched the surface re Italian restaurants. Will have to check out Timpanos.

    1. Then we’re even because I still have to check out Maggiano’s. lol

      Oh and by the way, congratulations! You are the winner of the $25 gift card to Timpano Italian Chophouse & Martini Bar! Just email me you mailing address at marilyn (at) forkful (dot) net, and the gift card will be on its way soon.

      Thank you for reading Forkful!
      Marilyn recently posted: Finesse (n: the restaurant) in Lake MaryMy Profile

  6. My favorite Italian meal would have to be my family’s traditional party menu that was a mainstay at any and all family get togethers when I was a kid.

    We’d start with antipasto – prosciutto, capicola, salami, extra extra sharp provolone (so sharp it’d make your jaw hurt!), fennel, black olives, roasted red peppers, crusty bread, caprese with big leaves of fresh basil, peperoncini and more.

    The feast itself would feature sausage and meatballs in a big pot of gravy, baked ziti, sausage and peppers (with no gravy, as it should be), eggplant parmigiana.

    Growing up Italian was pretty fantastic,
    Rich recently posted: Dual-purpose Jai Alai. Casselberry, FL. 02/22/12.My Profile

    1. Man, those Italian meals sound epic. All things considered, I think my new love for tapas has made antipasto my favorite part of an Italian meal. Olives are the part of the antipasto I have yet to embrace, but Kalamata Olives my taste buds are slowly acclimating. 😀

  7. My favorite Italian meal is Chicken Alfredo. I love the white sauce. Thanks for the chance. I have never been to this place. 🙂

    1. The more cheese in Alfredo Sauce, the better! And you’re very welcome — I’m glad you found Forkful. 😀

      Best wishes on the giveaway!

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