There is always a danger, when discussing Orchids, for the surroundings to overwhelm the food. You can’t help noticing the beauty of the space, from the soaring Art Deco ceilings to the tall, scalloped banquettes that make each table feel like its own semi-private nautical chamber. Luckily, the food lives up to its environs, matching it in elegance, craftsmanship, and (this is meant as a compliment) a kind of delightful gaudiness.
Chef Todd Kelly, too, enjoys showing off what he can do, whether that involves his take on snapper “En Papillote” (wrapped not in parchment, but in elegant, edible folds of a crispy wonton-like wrapper) or delicately stuffed squash blossoms. But he also knows when to let fresh ingredients speak for themselves. Case in point: the velvety corn soup with black truffle. Dessert is extraordinary, with dreamy standouts like pastry chef Megan Ketover’s Basque tart with roasted strawberry, rhubarb, and elderflower, and the house-made Valençay-style goat cheese, served with honey from the hotel’s rooftop hives. Everything at Orchids shows a commitment to quality and seasonality, and like the hotel itself, a respect for tradition. If you want to feel—and dine—like Jay Gatsby for an evening, this is the place.
35 W. Fifth St., downtown, (513) 421-9100, orchidsatpalmcourt.com