I’ve been hearing good things about the Brazilian restaurant Mrs. Potato (https://www.mrspotato.net/) for years. Located at the busy intersection of Conroy and South Kirkman Roads, Mrs. Potato opened in 2012, but earned well-deserved national acclaim when it was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2017. Chef-owner Rafaela Cabede has been a regular, pleasant presence on the Orlando Foodie Forum on Facebook, and I’ve always meant to make it out there to try it, but it’s pretty far from me. Luckily, on a recent trip to the mall (something I usually dread), my wife and I decided to give it a shot. As a toy collector, I should have taken a photo of their wall of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head figurines, but we were both so hungry, it didn’t even occur to me until it was too late.
There were three things I really wanted to try on Mrs. Potato’s menu: chicken catupiry, carne seca, and calabresa sausage. You can get all three of them stuffed inside rosti potatoes, a Swiss dish that is essentially a giant stuffed hash brown, but I couldn’t possibly eat three separate rostis, much less justify ordering them. (As you will learn, I couldn’t even finish one.) But you can also get two of those things inside Brazilian empanadas called pasteles. I always love empanadas, so I ordered two of those to share with my wife ($4.50 each), and saved the third filling for the rosti. I was pleased that the pasteles have a golden-fried, crispy flour shell, similar to the Cuban empanadas I grew up with, but quite a bit bigger.
The first pastel I cut open was not one of the ones I ordered! It contained ground beef, hard-boiled eggs, and olives, reminding me a bit of Cuban picadillo. I told our server I didn’t order the ground beef pastel, and she whisked it away immediately. I wish I had eaten my half, or at least taken a bite to try it, because I’m sure it ended up in the trash. I hate wasting food, even if it isn’t my fault. Weeks later, and I still feel bad about this.
This was one of the ones I ordered: seasoned, pulled chicken with catupiry, a soft, creamy, tangy Brazilian cheese. It was delicious. Chicken and cheese are sure to please.
We both liked this pastel with carne seca, Brazilian cured beef jerky with a bit of cream cheese. It was more like shredded, braised beef than the dry, chewy jerky I’m used to — kind of like the Cuban dish ropa vieja, but not tomatoey like that. It was very good. Guy Fieri raved about the carne seca on his show, and I get it.
My wife loves steak, so she ordered the picanha ($18.99), which is top sirloin, cooked rare. It came out more medium rare, but was still very tender and well-seasoned. Her sides included yucca fries that we both thought were just okay, and also twice-dipped, Belgian-style French fries, which were among the best fries we’ve ever had! I’m not surprised that a “potato house” restaurant would have good fries, but these were better than good. They are definitely among the best fries in Orlando. When you visit Mrs. Potato, don’t miss them, even if you order another potato dish!
Anyway, I ordered another potato dish: the aforementioned rosti ($14). It is huge, and more than a little intimidating! I always argue that Waffle House has the best hash browns anywhere, but the rosti was like a serious gourmet version of those.
After trying the chicken catupiry and carne seca in pasteles, the third thing I wanted to try was the calabresa sausage, so I got that stuffed inside my rosti. The sausage came crumbled inside that mountain of crispy shredded potatoes, along with melty mozzarella and provolone cheeses and thin-sliced sauteed onions. I should have asked about the sausage, since I was expecting slices or larger chunks of an Italian-style sausage, due to the name, not crumbles. But it was tasty, don’t get me wrong. A tomato-based sauce would have worked really well here, but not ketchup. I might put ketchup on my Waffle House hash browns, but these were crying out for a finer caliber of red sauce. It was still delicious — just super-heavy. The rosti, stuffed with sausage, cheese, and onions, is a meal you need a nap after eating, and I only ate about half of it at the restaurant and took the rest to go.
Whenever there’s a new or unfamiliar soda, I have to try it. I’m sure I could have found Guarana Antarctica at Bravo Supermarket (and maybe even Publix), but it was here ($2.75), and I was thirsty. It tasted a little like fruit (but not any specific, identifiable fruit, since I’ve never tried guarana berries on their own), and a little like bubble gum or cotton candy. It was unique, yet strangely familiar. Not sure if I would get it again, but I’m not sorry I tried it.
For dessert, my wife ordered the churros ($4). It came with an order of two, but she grabbed one before I could snap this shot. I took one bite, and it was an okay churro with plenty of cinnamon and sugar dusted on its crevice-covered surface.
However, the warm, rich caramel sauce they came with was one of the most delicious sweet things I’ve ever tried. She wasn’t into it, so that ended up being my dessert, which I scooped up with the teeny-tiny spoon.
I wrote this review on one of those rare Orlando days when we have some chilly weather, and I saw Mrs. Potato is offering an all-you-can-eat Soup Festival in the evenings for $14.99. I was disappointed that wasn’t an option at lunch, because when we were there, I totally could have gone for all-you-can-slurp soups — not so much for eating soup until I’m sick, but because I love trying new things. I reached out to Rafaela on Facebook and asked what kinds of soups are available in the Soup Festival, and she replied that these are the four everyday soups:
• Black Bean Soup
• Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup (Caldo Verde)
• Creamy Heart of Palm
• Loaded Potato Soup
But on any given day, there would be four other rotating soups, including these and more:
• Creamy Corn, Chicken and Bacon
• Broccoli and Cheese
• Beef and Vegetables Soup
• Peanut Butter Cream (sweet)
Anyway, Mrs. Potato (or Mrs. Po-TAH-to, if you must) serves really delicious Brazilian comfort food, with an emphasis on the potatoes. There are baked potatoes on the menu too, with the same variety of toppings, but I strongly recommend the rostis, since that’s such a unique dish, compared to baked potatoes you could get almost anywhere. And don’t miss the pasteles, those amazing fries, and that caramel sauce!