Travelling solo can be a great way to recharge and relax, but often times dining as a solo can cause people no small amount of stress. Do you have to sit at the bar or can you ask to sit at a table? Will the service be as attentive since your bill will invariably be smaller? It is weird to sit alone in a restaurant? Unfortunately the answer to all of these questions is: It Depends.
Big Fire Steakhouse at Universal Orlando’s City Walk is one of their newest restaurants and one I had not tried before. We have our favorites at City Walk and no one really wanted to stray from those so on my recent solo trip, I decided to give it a try.
I made a reservation because I did not want to sit at the bar for this first time. When I checked in, they did try to seat me at the bar, but the hosts had no problem with my request to sit at a table and were polite and friendly about it as they showed me to a table on the upper level.
The décor is very rustic lake house and the restaurant is open and spacious.
My server came and took my order. I ordered a White Old Fashioned and the mussel appetizer to start and requested a glass of red wine to be served with my Filet entrée. The drink came eventually.
So that’s a fig…strangest fig I have ever seen, but it is in fact a fig. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally my mussels arrived and they looked delicious.
Less than two minutes later, my steak arrived. I sent it back. The mussels were still sizzling on the cast iron and so was the steak. However I was not willing to have my steak die while I finished my appetizer. In addition, I had not received the wine I ordered to go with the steak.
Then about five minutes later, they tried to deliver my steak again. At this point, I just let it happen. I still did not have my wine, so I flagged down my server to inquire. Off they went supposedly to retrieve my wine.
All steaks are served with smashed potatoes. You can see on my steak the flakes of sea salt, however overall it needed more seasoning and I asked for more salt. It was cooked perfectly for me, which was good since I had sent it back once. My wine had still not arrived. I attempted to wait for the wine, after asking my server once again but I didn’t want the steak to get cold.
I don’t want to keep you in suspense…My wine finally arrived when I ordered dessert. I’ll get back to that, but let’s talk about that dessert. Big Fire is famous for tableside s’mores, and I couldn’t wait to try them. I am not really a dessert person, but I am a schtick person so if a meal or course also keeps me entertained, I am totally on board.
These are fun and delicious. In fact, it was the best part of my meal. Another stroke of luck is how well red wine goes with chocolate since I finally had my wine.
So what was my overall impression of dining as a solo at Big Fire? I was not particularly impressed. Sure, everyone has a bad day, but I could see my server interacting with other parties that were not solo and it was a very different interaction. Basically I felt like I was not as important has their other tables. The food was good, but not good enough to overcome the service, especially for the prices they charge. I would probably give them another shot, but I will next time accept the bar seating as I do not think that my server wanted a solo diner.