When she asked me to go I pretty much jumped around in my seat. I might have danced. I’ve been to Hillstone once before – last year for my brother’s birthday. It didn’t disappoint the first time and it DEFINITELY didn’t disappoint last night.
Hillstone USED to be Houston’s. For the past two years they have been transitioning the restaurant under the new name. It’s a little confusing, because the ownership is the same. Houston’s was very successful and highly rated but they made the switch so that the restaurant could grow. Houston’s was known as a steak restaurant. Hillstone is an “everything” restaurant. They serve fresh, local foods and make their own bread (which is heavenly).
She was super excited to sit next to me.
We also met the awesome Cori – the PR specialist who arranged the dinner, Sherry the Service Captain, and our server for the night Jackie (who did an amazing job!).
And then the games began.
We started out with 3 appetizers: Devil Eggs, Smoked Salmon, and (my favorite) the Wood Grilled Artichokes.
(Note: I am not a food photographer – please forgive me)
I also ordered a mojito – which I believe was a virgin mojito (because that’s what several others were drinking). It was hard to tell if it was the real thing or a mocktail which is always a good sign! I didn’t wake up with a hangover this morning — so I’m leaning towards virgin.
I started slow and I’m glad I did – the best was yet to come.
Up next, were a variety of salads — the Grilled Chicken Salad (which is one of the most popular dishes on the menu – and rightly so), the Caesar Salad with Crispy Rock Shrimp, and the Wedge Salad (we all fought over the beets on this dish – delish!).
All of these salads were amazing and I would order each and everyone as a meal! I’m not usually into of Caesar Salads or Blue Cheese Dressing but I went in with an open mind and they rocked my world. And yes, I’m just talking about salad.
Up next were the entrees. There were seven: the House-Made Veggie Burger, the Hand Filleted Salmon, a Mushroom Meatloaf (that is not currently on the menu), the French Dip Au Jus, Jumbo Fried Shrimp, the Hawaiian Rib-eye, and the Double Cut Pork Chop.
Yes. All of that food. (and I somehow missed getting a picture of the meatloaf!)
The food was stellar and they just kept bringing it. I kept thinking – where am I??? How did I get here?? My favorite, favorite, favorite item of the night was definitely the Veggie Burger. Yes, I was a restaurant notorious for their steak and I want to go home, cuddle up, and make babies with the Veggie Burger – it was THAT GOOD.
As if THAT weren’t enough, we also had dessert: the Warm Five-Nut Brownie, the Key Lime Pie, and a Banana Cream Pie.
I am not a huge sweets person, but none of those desserts disappointed. My favorite was the Banana Cream Pie, which was light and fluffy and had a hint of chocolate to it.
In addition to this wonderful food, our setting was AMAZING.
Hillstone faces outward towards Lake Killarney (which, I admit I did not even know existed) and the views are gorgeous. They just reworked their outside garden area and made the seating more accommodating (FYI: outside seating is first come, first serve — no reservations). We were wined and dined on the dock, which was really a special treat!
To wrap up the night, the executive GM, Todd Martin, come out and talked to us about our food and overall experience. I don’t think anyone had anything negative to say!
After dessert, we lugged ourselves out of the restaurant and said our goodbyes.
I’m pretty sure I gained at least 10lbs during that dinner and I enjoyed every BIT of it. A huge thank you to Paula for inviting me (and asking if she can bring a friend!) and to Cori for saying I could attend — and to Hillstone for putting on such a FINE show. I’m not a foodie, but after that meal I might consider becoming one.
And Hillstone?? Definitely on my “favorite restaurants in Central Florida” list 🙂
What’s your FAVORITE restaurant?? What’s your favorite dish?