NOTE: Sadly, Blue Jacket Grille closed in September 2020.
Occasionally you’ll see posts titled “Ring the Alarm!,” so you’ll know onion ring reviews are coming. I love onion rings, and I’m always on a quest for good ones. Sadly, there are a lot of mediocre-to-bad onion rings out there. Yesterday, I had some of the best around.
Yesterday I had a working lunch with two of my co-workers and our supervisor. We went to the nautical- and Navy-themed Blue Jacket Grille (https://bluejacketgrille.com/), moments from work. It’s so great to have this relatively new restaurant close at hand. This was my fourth visit in about six months, and the food has yet to disappoint.
I almost always order a burger there, and not just any burger, but the Pimento Cheese burger, which comes with a fried green tomato slice, and of course, what Mike Ehrmantraut referred to as the “caviar of the South” on Better Call Saul: pimento cheese. I became obsessed with pimento cheese after trying it on one of the best burgers of my life at the Stock and Barrel in Knoxville, Tennessee, back in 2013. Orlando has some mighty fine pimento purveyors, including Blue Jacket Grille, The Coop, Se7enbites, and Swine and Sons. I make my own now, too. Just like chili, meatloaf, and salsa, everyone’s version is different, but it’s hard to go wrong.
Also, this burger comes on marble rye, but I always request it on a soft brioche bun instead. They cook it medium rare, as most tasty burgers should be cooked, and automatically serve it with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle, as most tasty burgers should be served.
And of course, because I love onion rings enough to make Ring the Alarm! a regular feature on The Saboscrivner, I got onion rings as my side with the burger. The choice was a no-brainer; these are some of the best onion rings in town. Golden-fried, beer-battered, not overly greasy, not too thick or too thin, the onion doesn’t come whipping out of the breading to whack you in the face — they’re perfect in every way. Definitely in the top five best onion rings in town. I had already turned one of my co-workers onto these rings, and I was pleased to note that she and our supervisor split an order of their own.
Blue Jacket Grille is in the former location of the Smiling Bison (now in Sanford), and Redlight, Redlight (now in Audubon Park) before that, on Bennett just north of Colonial. It’s a nice little neighborhood place, with everything you’d expect to find on a sports bar or family restaurant menu, just done better than most. I’d rather eat here than the Ale House, Chili’s, or most other restaurants of that style any day. They also have really terrific beer cheese, which comes with lightly-toasted pretzel slices, and if you want tots, they will bring you a HUGE basket of tots. There are TVs all over the walls, mostly tuned to sports, if you can’t eat without that. They have trivia nights on Tuesdays and karaoke nights some other night, which I have every intention of making it to some day. I love both, but nobody else I know does. Cue the sad trombone for me!