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LowesChevy 10-15-2012 04:41 PM

The 2012 Incredible, Edible Dining Reviews-That's A Wrap!!
 
The Incredible, Edible dining reviews by Erika

Well mid year after having made all of my adrs, we get a surprise call that my brother, sister in law and nephew will be joining us during the later part of our trip. After a few crazy hours of rescheduling, I hammered out a great plan. My nephew is just a little guy at 2.5 years, so structured meal times are not always in his best interest, but it worked out well. So let’s get to the meat and potatoes shall we?

Ratings

Table Service Meals
5 Stars-excellent
4 Stars-good
3 Stars-average
2 Stars-poor
1 Stars-off the list

Counter Service Meals
Thumbs up-great experience
Thumb up-good, not bad, no major complaints
Thumb down-less than mediocre, poor
Double Thumb down-probably will not return ever!


Coming up: Citricos, Les Chefs de France, Narcoossee's & Mama Melrose's

Followed by: Tutto Italia, Raglan Road, Via Napoli, Wolfgang Puck Cafe, The Plaza, The Liberty Tree Tavern, California Grill, Kona Cafe, Le Cellier, Contempo Cafe, Captain Cooks, The Wave & Columbia Harbor House.

LowesChevy 10-15-2012 04:54 PM

Citricos

My absolute favorite restaurant on property! We have only had one lackluster experience here with service a couple of years ago in over a dozen visits, so it is tough to beat. The Mediterranean inspired menu always offers signature items like sautéed shrimp, arancini, braised veal shank and oak grilled filet of beef, while other menu items tend to change with the seasons.

They moved the check in booth to the outside of the hallway now. Presumably this makes it easier to find for guests and now they use the waiting area as a lounge. It makes them a few extra dollars serving cocktails and gives people something to do while waiting to be seated. We were given a beeper and were seated in about 15 minutes. The restaurant was busy, but it is one of the best so I understand why. Sara seated us near the open kitchen along the windows.

Not much of a view this year due to all of the construction on the courtyard pool, but plenty at the bar and kitchen to watch. The Grand Floridian has major refurbishments all of property as a matter of fact. With the construction of the DVC wing and the pool as major projects, Gasparillas has been closed and Mizners opened for quick service. They seem to be rehabbing to prepare for the GF DVC, from what I have read Gaspies needed some serious tlc, so good news there. We didnt explore much around the resort outside the main building, but the changes are very exciting. Shall we see sweeping changes at the Polynesian next? Looks like things are in the works for that property as well.

I opted for bottled water while my parents ordered a glass of wine. Cliff took our order and brought over the house bread and butter afterwards. Our appetizers arrived: cheese plate-with fourme dAmbert is one of the best blue cheeses not to mention the oldest French cheese, plus a Spanish cheese and another French style from the Basque region with all the accompaniments. Sorry I did not get a picture and the presentation was different this year, but it was nicely arranged.

The macerated heirloom tomatoes was a large portion of halved red and yellow baby tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, micro basil and fresh mozzarella slices. I am a sucker for cured meats so the charcuterie plate was a great option. The plate offered a variety of cured meats including Prosciutto di Parma, beef bresaola, duck prosciutto, chorizo, Percorno Romano, medjool dates, pickled fennel, olives and Marcona almonds. A great antipasti platter for one although I probably could have shared with another person. The appetizers were all very good and well received.

tomato salad
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7386.jpg

charcuterie plate
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7388.jpg

Cliff checked back frequently to fill our water glasses and see if we needed anything. He works at Victoria & Alberts as well so he is used to checking in with guests as often as he can. He made small talk and was very friendly, but not overbearing or awkward. Overall this was probably the best service we had on the trip.

Our appetites had hit their peak when the entrees arrived-it was perfect timing. I have tried a number of dishes, but one stood out this time for me the Berkshire pork 2 ways. Now I am not a huge pork fan with the exception of sausage and I must say the pork tenderloin dish at California Grill is lovely too. You cannot go wrong with rendered pork belly after all and alongside a huge piece of tenderloin with creamy cheesy polenta and corn, talk about heavenly! The cherry gastrique really rounds this dish out, a must try at Citricos. The salmon was mildly wonderful, we eat wild salmon weekly, but this was better than what we can get at the grocery store. My mother had the house oak grilled filet of beef with extra vegetables rather than the potato puree. She is not a big fan of mashed or gratin style potatoes, but most places are happy to substitute a reasonable side.

pork duo
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7389.jpgCheck out the

Epic Wines list!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0584.jpg
Rare and odd wines available to order

Dinner was wonderful, the service was excellent. After the warm chocolate banana tart for desert-the evening was nearly perfect!

Another 5 star performance for Citricos, bravo :thumbsup2

LowesChevy 10-16-2012 10:43 AM

Les Chefs De France
 
Chefs is definitely one of my favorites. Im a classically trained chef I so I love indulging on the many delicacies that French cuisine brings to the table. The menu features nouvelle style cuisine, a concept that focuses more on the freshness of ingredients, more simplistic methods of cooking and more appealing presentations. Whereas specialties like cassoulet, casseroles, coq au vin and dishes with heavy sauces like Hollandaise or Bechamel tend to be more like home style and heartier. It is has been an upcoming trend for restaurants to offer lighter, fresher food as peoples tastes have been changing over the years.

We arrived a few minutes early and were seated immediately. Our table was located in the front glass enclosed section. We have been seated in the side areas most often, but this was a new area for us. It offered a great view of Serveur Amusant for our dining entertainment as well.

Emeric arrived almost immediately to welcome us and offer us a cocktail. I had to go with my favorite St. Germaine Cocktail and to my surprise my mother ordered one as well. Shes not a big champagne fan, but she nearly drank the whole glass-lucky me got to finish. A Kronenbourg 1664 for my father and a bottle of Evian for the table. He took our order and returned with the fresh baguette served in a white paper bag. They used to serve a crusty roll, which they loved, but I prefer the newer baguette.

St Germaine Cocktail
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0592.jpg
Baguette
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/82073d8c.jpg

Wall of St. Germaine..nom nom
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0594.jpg

For starters, the warm goat cheese salad with grapes, walnuts and tomatoes; cheese plate for my dad; and onion soup as a part of the pre fixe menu for myself. I have had the salad and it is very good and there is plenty of cheese to share on the plate. I enjoyed the soup. I am a big fan of French onion, this one is flavorful, not too rich or salty. Often times restaurants will add a lot of Kitchen Bouquet or go heavy on beef base to enhance to the flavor, but the idea is to taste the caramelized onion not just beef.
Emeric checked on us frequently and was very knowledgeable. We asked him about his home town of Lyon, which is also the home city of Paul Bocuse interestingly. He talked about the differences between there and Paris. He said he was enjoying his time here, but definitely different than what he is used to normally.

In between courses, Armand and Remy made their way through the dining room. If you have been there for the experience you will know that Armand likes to poke fun at people and of course my
mother was targeted. It was very funny and a really cut idea to try to bring in the lunch crowd, while promoting Remy as a kid friendly attraction.

Remy & Armand
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7416.jpg

My parents both ordered the la flamme Alsacienne, a crispy flatbread with crème fraiche, bacon and caramelized onions. This I have made at home and it is luscious. Now my friends are always asking me to make this for parties! I had the Croque monsieur with mixed green salad and I really enjoyed it. The bread could have been a little less toasted throughout, but the cheese and tomato brings back those comforting grilled cheese and tomato soup memories.

Croque
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7417.jpg

We ended the meal with my profiteroles and a round of cappuccinos! It was a great experience overall and we will certainly be retuning next year, possibly lunch and dinner!

5 Stars-excellent.

LowesChevy 10-16-2012 02:14 PM

Narcoossee’s

This choice was a last minute rush one to make up for the change in schedule. I did not plan on returning here because of the two prior mediocre experiences we had in the previous years, but just maybe this time it would be great. It started off well, we were seated early with a nice view of the water and Conch Key building. Our server Zahira came over to greet us after a few minutes.

We placed our order and enjoyed the view of the small ferry boat and the monorail. It was relatively quiet, but it was early only about 60% full at the time. There was a table behind us that at least 3 parties declined to sit there. I started to wonder if people were afraid of us, it was kind of funny. The restaurant began to fill up with larger parties as the meal progressed.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0598.jpg

Zahira brought out our appetizers after a while. Mother had the apple salad loaded with gouda, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and sunflower seeds, which was very good and appropriate for the fall season. My father and I both had the blue crab corn chowder. It was not overly thick, but had a lovely silky texture with a hint of sherry. The potatoes and corn were a perfect combination with the crab. The chowder also had a slow building spice, not overpowering and by the end of the bowl we broke a sweat. Our plates were cleared and we discussed the plans for that evening.

Salad
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0599.jpg

Crab chowder
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0600.jpg

Our entrees arrived in a reasonable amount of time-we didn’t wait too long and they weren’t rushed out of the kitchen either. Grandma Deb being the picky one opted for sweet potato ravioli with oyster mushrooms, figs in a light cream sauce with sautéed spinach. This dish was very good and thoughtful for a vegetarian dish.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7429.jpg

Pop and I both ordered the wild caught halibut. Off the menu was the crab crusted halibut, so I was rather disappointed because he has had it in the past and it was great. Unfortunately we were both disappointed with this dish overall. First of all, it wasn’t as hot as it could have been. The fish was probably not fresh because it was mush in the middle-like watery and mushy. Then it was served with pickled vegetables and a strong mustard sauce-it wasn’t really balanced. We should have sent the meals back, but by that time after the soup and bread I was on the full side anyway.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7430.jpg

This was the best service we have had here, but this time the food was a let-down. I guess I expect a lot more for these prices, but hey that’s me. Many other people have great reviews, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I can go to a restaurant and have a great experience, while the table next to me has a lousy one. Unfortunately it happens.

3-Stars Average

butiflfeet 10-16-2012 02:37 PM

Yummy reviews! I can't wait for more!

LowesChevy 10-17-2012 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by butiflfeet (Post 46462671)
Yummy reviews! I can't wait for more!

Glad you are enjoying! More posts today :thumbsup2

LowesChevy 10-17-2012 10:18 AM

Mama Melrose-lunch Sept 25th
 
Mama Melrose’s –lunch--- September 25th

Being on the smaller side, DHS does seem to have a decent amount of table service restaurants, but finding an open one on a busy day can be tough to come by for guests who are not prepared. Hollywood Studios was jamming this Tuesday and people were walking up to see if they could wait standby, but there was nothing available. 50s Prime Time and Sci Fi Dine In have their fans and these places are normally booked solid, but Mama’s hangs in there-it has been full to the brim every time we have visited at lunch. This is a venue that gets its fair share of negative reviews, but we have always had great food and great service. This year was no exception!

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7456.jpg

We waited about 10 minutes before we were seated, but Mama’s opens after 12:00 PM, so it takes a while to get parties seated at first. Like I said there were people in and out seeing if they could get a table, but they were booked solid all day and not taking any walk in parties. We were taken to our booth in the front room and right after we were seated Karen arrived and welcomed us. She was very friendly and took our drink order.

There are plenty of knicknacks and Hollywood memorabilia to admire on the walls here too!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7458.jpg


Menu
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0609.jpg

By the time she came back we were ready to order our buffet of mixed salad, Caesar salad to start and a carne pizza and a margherita pizza to share. Gone is the house salad with walnuts, gorgonzola and cherries, but the new mixed salad has sopressata, marinated vegetables and house Italian dressing. It is a little more on the small size, but along with the larger Caesar salad was plenty for the three of us to split.

mixed salad
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7460.jpg

The flatbreads are a really good size-about 12”. The carne D’Italia flatbread is topped with pepperoni, sausage, prosciutto and mozzarella. Sorry no picture on this one. The toppings are not loaded on, but there are a few pieces on meat on each slice. The margherita is topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. Nice and simple for the non adventurers. There were only two slices left, but we were totally stuffed!

marg flatbread
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0610.jpg

The time frame between courses was good and Karen was at the table many times checking with us to refill drinks etc. Mama Melrose offers Italian food with a Californian twist, not your typical chain style Italian menu. Another solid lunch performance by Mama’s and we will definitely be back next year!

5 Stars-excellent

BlovesC 10-17-2012 10:35 AM

Wow, lovely photos and quite a great assortment of restaurants! I love how descriptive you are of the food and flavors! :thumbsup2 We have our first meal at Narcoossee's in a few days and I hope we have a slightly better experience! Your meal at Citrico's sounds fantastic though!

LowesChevy 10-17-2012 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlovesC (Post 46470340)
Wow, lovely photos and quite a great assortment of restaurants! I love how descriptive you are of the food and flavors! :thumbsup2 We have our first meal at Narcoossee's in a few days and I hope we have a slightly better experience! Your meal at Citrico's sounds fantastic though!

thanks BlovesC for reading! Glad are enjoying it.

Have a wonderful time at Narcoossee's. I think we are bad luck magnets at some places I swear! The crab cakes and corn crab chowder are our recommendations if you like crab.
:)

LowesChevy 10-17-2012 03:47 PM

Tutto Italia--- September 25th
 
Double down Italian today

We loved the Original Alfredo’s Restaurant and worried that the next concept wouldn’t compare, but we have been very pleased by the change. Although Tutto was rumored to go under yet another renovation and name change back a few years ago, I think it is here to stay. With the addition of Tutto Gusto-its wine bar brother and Via Napoli, the Italian pavilion is booming.

Tutto Italia kept most of the original interior that Alfredo’s had. It’s most recent renovation added booths to the center of the restaurant. It broke up the dining room a bit and added some serving stations for glassware and silverware. The maitre de has been the same for many years as well. This fellow has been here as long as I can remember. Plus you’ve gotta love hearing “buona sera” when you enter the restaurant. We were seated immediately and within a few moments Vincenzo greeted us. We were feeling pretty festive so we all ordered a cocktail: a bellini for me; a red passion for Ma and a Moretti for dad. I am normally careful with my carbs, but I am a sucker for champagne cocktails! In the meantime, Letizia was there filling up our water glasses and bringing bread for the table.

cocktails:
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0622.jpg

House bread-foccacia, breadsticks and olives with olive oil
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7513.jpg

We ordered a mozzarella appetizer to begin-warm, fresh mozzarella with lightly sautéed tomatoes and olive oil. This was not what I expected, but it was good-I liked the cheese warmed because it was flavorful and gooey.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7515.jpg


The entrees arrived in a perfect amount of time. Dad and I went with the gnocchetti and mother the fettuccini. The gnocchetti are cavatelli pasta, a more narrow-thinner gnocchi, with sausage ragu, tomoto and pecorino. They were perfectly cooked al dente and the portion is large. The dish is on the creamy and hearty side, so it is filling. The fettuccini Vecchia Roma is different from alfredo, which is butter and parmesan cheese, this version had pancetta and parmesan cream. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it is a touch lighter than your average alfredo sauce. Both dishes freshly prepared and delicious.

gnochetti
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7516.jpg

Vincenzo was an older gentleman, but no less enthusiastic or energetic than any of the young bucks. Excellent service and charming-he certainly had no trouble talking us into a round of cappuccinos and a couple of desserts to split. Letizia was at his side refilling my water glass many times and resetting forks.

Chocolate torte
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7517.jpg

Chocolate gelato and cap!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7518.jpg

The prices are higher than average here, but you are also paying for exceptional service to go along with your food. We will be back next year for sure. Another fabulous experience!

5 Stars-excellent

MickeyNicki 10-17-2012 04:06 PM

Awesome pictures! Cannot wait for our Citricos and Tutto dinners!

LowesChevy 10-17-2012 04:21 PM

Raglan Road---lunch September 26th
 
Raglan Road---lunch September 26th

Raglan Road has become a must do lunch for us at Downtown Disney! Being an aspiring pub owner, I always love to check out other pubs and watering holes to know what is popular. If you have never been there-it is definitely worth a stop for at least a drink or two and maybe a snack! RR offers a large menu with plenty of shareable or not so shareable appetizers depending on your appetite.

The bar itself is full of history as our server Charles explained. He told us about how the large middle section was once a carousel before they dismantled it and brought it over from Ireland. Each section of the bar has its own little story and he talked about a couple of them quite extensively. The section we large pillars around the bar are actually covered in stamps that were coated and applied as tiles to the column. The woodwork alone in the place is amazing and alongside the mirrors and stained glass, the place is beautiful.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0638.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/e64ff5bb.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/45106e44.jpg

On special was UFO Pumpkin Ale by Harpoon, so I jumped at that offer while my dad went with a Smithwicks and a soft drink for mom. The Ale was nice and refreshing with no overwhelming taste, just a hint of pumpkin and spice. The lunch menu is stocked with appetizers, salads, sandwiches and a decent amount of heartier entrées including staples like fish and chips, bangers and booze, shepards pie, risotto, ham and salmon. Certainly something for everybody, with the exception of my mother, who can rarely find something not to complain about on a menu!

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_0639.jpg

I wasnt quite hungry enough for a starter, grrr, but the Burger r Way was calling my name. A burger patty topped with Irish rasher (more similar to Canandian bacon) vintage cheddar and tomato chutney served with chips. After having nibbled on some Irish soda bread with the Guinness reduction, finishing this 8 oz. burger was out of the question. My parents both had the fish and chips, which they both enjoyed. The batter is nice and crisp, not sogged out.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7636.jpg

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7637.jpg

Next year I definitely want to catch some dancing, but we will have to visit for dinner or for drinks later! Raglan Road a hit for us, cant wait to return. Whether you belly up to the bar for whiskey or a cool pint in one of the cozy booths, Raglan Road is a great place for a drink or a meal.

4 Stars-good


Whiskey/Whisky
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_7638.jpg

LowesChevy 10-17-2012 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MickeyNicki (Post 46473786)
Awesome pictures! Cannot wait for our Citricos and Tutto dinners!

Thanks Nicki! have a wonderful birthday trip :thumbsup2

Those are two of my favorites as you can tell. Looking forward to the live reviews of yours as well ;)

OThopeful35 10-17-2012 05:29 PM

Loving the reviews!! I also love the pictures of the insides of the restaurants. We are trying Mama Melrose on our next trip for our Fantasmic! package.

LowesChevy 10-18-2012 09:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OThopeful35 (Post 46474537)
Loving the reviews!! I also love the pictures of the insides of the restaurants. We are trying Mama Melrose on our next trip for our Fantasmic! package.

Thank you! Glad to hear...have a great trip and enjoy the reviews onward ;)


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