Just to check back in and let you know it's not a fluke.
We went back to Spencer's in the International Drive Hilton, and feared the first time would be one-off. We were wrong. Gloriously wrong!
The room was a bit more full this time, but this was not an issue. Tables are spaced nicely, so you don't feel you're eating off your neighbor's plate. We were there at sundown, and the room transitions nicely from a bit too garish and bright to lovely by subtle lighting (a few more candles and soft spots, as well as a bit more fabric, would increase the romance quotient, which would be a nice touch, given the slightly cavernous quality of the room).
The house manager, phenomenally, remembered us from our earlier visit, and stopped by to say hello. Nice touch!
We'd requested Che, the server from our prior stop, and he was our server. He's just simply one of the best: attentive, friendly, helpful, and knows when you're busy. He appears as if by magic when you need him and fades away when your attention is on your companion or your meal.
The menu had changed slightly, and while I missed the heritage tomato and watermelon salad, all the other offerings were inventive, perfectly prepared, and very welcome.
The cheese plate was a delight, and was shared by both of us. The manchego and brie were good, but not spectacular. However, the bleu offering (Moody Blue smoked blue) was nothing short of a miracle; we've hunted it down locally (Whole Foods) and have used with everything short of oatmeal. It's just that good!
I'm not going through the entire meal, but I must mention the rack of lamb. As an eater, I'm gifted. Okay, I'm a bit of a glutton. There! I admit it. Often, rack of lamb, which I love, makes you sorry you ordered it because the tiny little ribs on the plate make you feel as if you're committed infantacide. Not at Spencer's! The three sets of two ribs each were nothing short of half-way to being beef ribs in size -- large, meaty, and perfectly prepared. When Che asked how I wanted them prepared, and I responded that I wanted them to bleat on the plate, he got it, and they arrived perfectly undercooked. They were herbed, crusted, and perfectly tender. I could not ask for more. (The serving was so generous, I took one of the three racks home, which never, ever happens. I simply couldn't part with it!) And the best thing was the omission: no mint jelly. Thank you, Chef. You allowed me to eat perfect lamb, perfectly prepared and "nekkid", as we say down here.
If you have the opportunity to dine at Spencer's, don't miss it! However, take some precautions: allow plenty of time (you'll want to linger); get a sitter (the food is just too good and too well assembled for young children); bring plenty of cash (or make sure the plastic is limbered up); and try something a bit off your normal menu. I have absolute faith that you'll be completely satisfied. And don't forget to have coffee, which comes in it's own french press and is the perfect end to the meal. Now, sit back and thank yourself for coming here.
While the room could be warmed a bit aesthetically, the service, the food, the wine, and the comfort make this our new "go-to" spot when we want an amazing meal that makes the evening special.