Dining Reviews - But Brenda Snagged My Catchy Title, Post #58 (Like A Phoenix)
So, there I was, plummeting through the darkness, driving during the wee morning hours, vehicle pointed South, headed to WDW. In the solitude of a quiet car, book-on-tape playing along, I was trying to think of a catchy title for my post-trip dining reviews. After realizing months ago that there are more than a few Simpsons fans on this site, I had decided that my title must include a reference to that most 'excellent' show. Then, the perfect title came to me. I tittered to myself, enjoying how perfect the title was. :lmao: I savored the title all week, during any quiet moments at WDW.
Got back home after the trip, and was so very excited that Brenda had posted her reviews. I started reading, and much to my horror, there in post #122 sat my precious title "$20 can buy many peanuts". :scared1: While not the official title of the Brenda thread (which is delightful by the way), I still felt that I could be perceived as being unoriginal if I used it. So, not wanting to seem unoriginal, I am not titling this list of reviews. On to business.
This report should contain, at the very least, my reviews of:
Cape May Character Breakfast
Rainforest Cafe (AK)
Wolfgang Puck Cafe
added 11/29/07 - House of Blues
Next up: Raglan Road
Looking forward to reading your reviews.
I can tell this will be entertaining!
REVIEW: Raglan Road
SUMMARY: Bad start, great finish.
This was a mid-week dinner ADR for a party of 7 (5 adults, 2 children) at 7:00 p.m. It had been raining off and on all day, and our plans to walk around the DTD area were not enhanced by the sudden bursts of rain and wind. We ended up cutting our DTD walk short, and were in the Raglan Road foyer by 6:30 p.m.
The place was empty inside, and I mean ‘we were expecting to hear crickets chirping’ empty. Maybe 4 tables taken, from what we could see. I checked us in, hostess checked off our ADR, and said to stand to the side and we would be seated in just a minute. By then, the sporadic rain had become heavy, and the foyer was filling with wet guests trying to find a dry place to eat. We waited, and waited, and waited. Guests came in, some with ADR’s, most without. They were seated. At first, I thought nothing of it, because the parties were for 3’s and 4’s. But over 15 minutes later, with every party seated but us, they then seated a walk-up 6 person party. That was enough for me. Not wanting the place to fill up before we got seated, I got back in line, and upon reaching the podium, asked the same hostess (and her 3 helpers) when we would be seated. She looked in the system, and said we should have been already. She then printed out a ticket for the ‘seater’ person, and put it in the queue/holder thing. Said we would be seated right away.
ASIDE: Now maybe I am being picky here, but we have a party of 7, standing right in her (and the 3 helpers) line of sight, for over 15 minutes, waiting to be seated. I have 2 people in our party who have never dined here, and are here on my recommendation, and then I have to get back in line to point out that the largest party still standing in the (by now) nearly empty foyer has not been seated. No apology, no real acceptance of there being a problem, she just put us back in line, and apparently at the very end, as the 2 small parties still not seated (came in just before I ‘re-lined up’) had their ticket pulled, and name called, before we did. Sigh. I mean, things happen, but would the small effort it took to correct it properly, i.e. seating us immediately after the podium screw up, would that have been too much.
Anyway, this put a damper (no pun intended) on the evening for us. We were seated in the main area, off to the side of the band. The evening turned completely around when our server, John, was now in charge of our dining. With a party of 7, there were lots of menu questions, and John knew his menu. He was attentive but not intrusive, wasn’t rushing us, and overall, it was some of the best service we have had at Raglan Road. For our WDW dining history, I’d have to rank him in the top 10, easily, and his excellent service turned the evening around for us.
WARNING: The menu has changed yet again, possibly as late as September/October 2007. Kevin’s Heavenly Ham is gone. And despite what the online menu lists, the Bailey’s Coffee Cream Pot has been gone since well before July 2007. They did have a Bailey’s Crème Brulee Tart, but from what I can tell, the menu overall has definitely went through another round of downsizing and changes.
The adults ordered a total of 4 different items:
Paddy’s Pork – still a menu favorite, and nicely made. Mine was just slightly on the dry side, but the sauce surrounding the leeks/cabbage/mashed potato was ample enough for dredging.
Crock ‘o’ Mussels – this was a large serving of mussels, cooked in a very delicate broth. The mussels come ‘in the shell’, but the serving was very large, and the sauce was not overpowering the mussels flavor.
Fish & Chips – a good portion of fish, lightly breaded. The fries here are just too big to get crispy though. Fries probably fall under personal preference, and just weren’t the ideal kind for the person who ordered this entree.
Keen Eye for the Shepard’s Pie – as usual for Raglan, a different type of presentation. Finely minced meat, well flavored, with a large serving of mashed potatos. Excellent, as always, but different than a traditional Shepard’s Pie.
For dessert, those that still had room for it, shared the Bread & Butter Pudding, and a Dunbrody Kiss. The Dunbrody Kiss commentaryfrom the table was ‘enough chocolate to choke a horse’. Very well made, especially for the chocolate lovers. The B&B Pudding was again out of this world delicious, but I believe the portion size has been decreased, if not recently then definitely since when they opened. The mug it was served in seemed smaller than in the past. Regardless of size, it is still one of the best desserts we have tried anywhere.
I don’t have the total for the bill, as I did not pay for this one. But, they did take the DDE discount card, and I know that was a 20% savings.
Summary: The error at the podium set the stage for this to be a bad experience. The excellent service by John, and the good food, saved the day. We enjoy Raglan Road, and the food has been good, and even great, on every visit. However, if they continue to cut down the menu and limit choices (which seems to be the trend), then it will slip a bit lower on our list of ‘must eats’.
NEXT UP: Yachtsman Steakhouse
Wow ... I've never featured in a TR title before ... it's a little weird. ;)
First of all, let me offer you my sincerest apologies for inadvertently nabbing your TR title. I know how hard it is to come up with just the right title, and upon reading that caption you must have had a real D'OH moment. Can we call it a d'ohment? :confused3
Secondly, I'm feeling a lot of shame right now ... I hope you hear that I'm feeling a lot of shame, otherwise I might end up in shame spiral and I would have to go home from work tonight and order a bunch of pizza and drink a lot of beer in order to recover.
But...this isn't about me, it's about you!
The hubby and I put our heads together and would like to offer you some suggestions for a new title ... all from our favorite show, of course! :happytv:
Who Is That Gastropod?
Silly Customer, You Cannot Hurt a Twinkie!
Pork: A Wonderful, Magical Animal
That Man Ate All the Shrimp...and Two Plastic Lobsters
'Tis No Man, 'Tis a Remorseless Eating Machine
Thirdly, thanks for reading our reviews. We're looking forward to reading yours as well. You've got some restaurants listed that we wanted to go to but obviously didn't make it to, so it will be great to get your take on them.
Bring on the food love! :thumbsup2
My apologies. I didn't mean to freak you out with the title. 'Just consider me a well wisher, in that I don't wish you any particular harm.'
Many thanks for the alternative title ideas. I must, however, graciously admit that 'the chosen one' is already out there in your top notch review, so I will continue on, sans title.
I may, though, be so seriously impacted by this traumatic event, that I switch my focus away from protecting our beloved covered bridges, and lean more heavily toward world domination.
If that happens, the Mr. Burns picture will have to be changed....
Great review! Thanks for posting.
I have the doomsday device!!!
You set the stage for your review like something from a novel I'd read on a dark and stormy night! (at least the "plummeting through the darkness" part) :rotfl:
Glad your dinner at Raglan Road was saved by a fantastic waiter.
I really like the title of your review! The true foodies here will know what its means. I can't wait to read more.
Your title is what snagged me since I read Brenda's reports, too! Don't change a thing!! Glad to hear Raglan Road was good--every time I hear about their bread pudding, I wish we had eaten there! Do you think a "desserts only" food trip would be okay? (It couldn't be any worse than the guy who did "Supersize" about eating at McD's for a month :sad2: ).
All right, I'm in! Great start to your report!:thumbsup2 I haven't been able to make it to Raglan Road yet, though not for lack of trying!! It's definitely on my must-do for next time!
In my case, I think the wait staff would look at me funny when I order just the bread & butter pudding and a pint of Smithwick's.
I'm imagining the conversation now......... :
waiter: May I take your order?
me: I'll have the bread & butter pudding and a Smithwick's.
waiter: Do you want the Smithwick's before the pudding, or after.
me: Both, so you'd better go ahead and just bring me two.
REVIEW: Yachtsman Steakhouse
SUMMARY: Well above average, but who really does have the best steak at WDW?
This also was a mid-week dinner ADR for a party of 7 (5 adults, 2 children) at the ridiculously early hour of 5:40 p.m. The rainy weather this week had started to break, and it was a nice, albeit windy, day. The reason for the early ADR was:
a – that was all they had available for a party of 7 that was before 8:30 p.m., and
b – we had an Illuminations Cruise that night, celebrating a birthday in the group
We got there so early it felt like we were in the early-bird episode of Seinfeld.
We checked in at the podium at 5:35, and were told it would be just a few minutes. As we had walked by, I could see that the restaurant was less than ¼ full. I continue to find it strange that even with an ADR, and a literally empty restaurant, that we usually wait to be seated. Anyway, we dawdled around for maybe 2 minutes, and were seated by a hostess. We were placed at a large round table, near the windows. (I firmly believe that round tables, especially after this trip, are far superior to rectangular tables, when dining with a large group.)
Our waiter was John, and his partner for the evening was possibly named Samir (?), and both of them would be taking care of us. John and Samir (forgive me if that isn’t correct), were excellent. We mostly dealt with John, as I would say he was the one at our table 90% of the time. I slyly confirmed with John that we had a cake ordered for tonight, and he already had it noted on our ticket. He obviously had experience with this sort of thing, and quietly had me designate who the cake was for. It was like being a spy on Get Smart, talking in hushed tones, lips not moving much, resembling a ventriloquist. I kept waiting for the dome of silence to be lowered, but we easily covered all of the birthday details before that was needed.
I was the only one of the group to get an appetizer, and only because they had an artisan cheese assortment on the menu. This began the only service flaw of the evening. If you’ll notice, I am not listing the various cheeses. That’s partially because they change occasionally, and aren’t on any menu that I can find. But it’s mainly because once I received the cheese plate, nobody told me what these were, or brought me a list to read for myself. :confused3 I tried them, and I do fondly recall a beautiful 2-year-old Vermont white cheddar from Shelburne Farms, but beyond that, I was not sure what I was eating. The 4 different 1 oz. portions weren’t huge, but several of us tried a few. Anyway, it would have been helpful to have gotten at least a brief run-down of the names when the plate was presented, or better yet, gotten the cheese list back itself, which I had been handed to make the decision initially. The cheeses were excellent, whatever they were.
The adults ordered 3 different items:
Rib-Eye – a nice cut, though I believe it was 12 ounces this night (I could be wrong), cooked perfectly as ordered. The horseradish mashed potatoes were good, and powerfully pungent. It took me a minute to figure out what else was covering the steak, but it turned out it was their red wine butter. It was tasty, but the presentation was on top of the steak, and it looked like a pink foam, or even a purple ricotta. It looked funny, but tasted great.
Filet Mignon – an absolutely delicious filet, cooked as ordered. The plain mashed potatoes were perfect, and I think that pairing the horseradish mashed potatoes would have taken some attention away from an excellent cut of meat.
Prime Rib – served as ordered. The flavor was consistent throughout, which is unusual (some places use a spice rub, so the flavor changes as you approach the center of the cut). The savory garlic bread pudding looked almost like a giant muffin. The garlic was strong enough to notice from across the table, but hey, it said ‘savory’ in the description.
As a side dish for the table, we ordered the creamed spinach, which was good. The bread served with the meal was rather simple, when compared to the cost of the menu items, but it was fresh and tasty. It also came with roasted garlic cloves, aside from the usual butter.
I don’t have notes on what the kids had, but they were quite happy as well.
For dessert, John brought out the cake, without any cues from me, at just the right time. After we were done with the blowing out of the candle, he then took it to the back, and had it cut and plated (a very nice service touch).
Again, I don’t have the total for the bill. But, they do take the DDE discount card, and I know that was a 20% savings.
Summary: We have been trying to dine at the Yachtsman for many years, and now we have. The beef was perfect, the service very good, and everyone enjoyed their meal. We felt that the Yachtsman was much more open and welcoming than the dark wood surroundings at Shula’s (especially for children), but both places have excellent beef, and the service is, as it should be, above average. Can I say which place has the best steaks? Well I have my own opinion on that, but as far as a nicer dining experience, I don’t think you can go wrong with either one. When we have it in the vacation budget for a nice dinner out, and we decide on steak, it’s going to be a tough decision to make next time. That DDE discount might be the deciding factor in our future steak decisions.
FOOTNOTE: Our entire party had steak leftover, and 2 slices of the cake, so all of that went back to our room with us. On our last day, when our party size had dropped and we changed hotels, I ended up having some of the rib-eye, prime rib, filet mignon, and leftover birthday cake for breakfast. I can only offer this disclaimer – The stunts you read about here were performed by, or under the supervision of, professionals. Do not try this at home.
To quote Captain McAllister - "Tis no man, Tis a remorseless eating machine. Arghh."
NEXT UP: Cape May Character Breakfast
Great food report!! Can't wait for more popcorn::
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