Review: Pork Belly Bao Buns at Bar 17 Bistro Universal Orlando


As a warning to all readers, this food review involves Aventura Hotel. As a result, public knowledge declares that the writer of this review loves Aventura. However, he displays a history of willingness to criticize Aventura. Now that the formalities have been conducted properly, this food review involves the Bar 17 Bistro. Bar 17 is a rooftop bar at Aventura Hotel. The rooftop views provided here make for a positive experience. The food and beverage options here add to the overall experience. During a previous visit to Bar 17, I had the Rooftop Burger. That burger still ranks as one of best burgers at Orlando area theme parks resorts.

Several menu items disappeared from the bar 17 menu during virus times. A menu item that went away but has returned is the bao buns. Now, the current version brings different strengths and weaknesses to previous versions. However, the quality and uniqueness continue. You can get 3 bao buns with wakami salad for $18 before discounts. You can order three of the same type or three different kinds if desired. One of the bao buns I recently selected was the “Pork Belly” variety.

The menu description for the pork belly ones reads “spicy aioli, cucumber, (and) Fresno peppers.” This bao bun presented a probably mess issue. The sauce and contents could easily drip or fall out of this one. I enjoyed the solid flavor from the spicy aioli. The pork belly itself offered a decent flavor. Still, I prefer more flavor from pork belly than I received with this pork belly. Also, the texture of the pork belly felt a bit tough. However, I have become more sensitive to that texture issue.

In contrast, the bao buns felt and tasted very soft. When combined with the fresh vegetables, the crunch of the vegetables and softness match very well. Sure, the vegetable could have provided more flavor, but the texture worked well together.  The wakami salad helped with texture and flavor but not much overall.

This bao bun offered some quality. However, the price point and small portion size bring this menu item down in terms of my willingness to strongly recommend it. The Bar 17 experience helps though. Still when you can get equal quality bao bun for about half the price at nearby restaurants off-site, it makes it tough to recommend. These bao buns meet a good quality standard but lack being a good value.

As always, eat like you mean it!

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