California Grill - Picture Report - Relive the experience! ADDED MAY '09 Pics Page 23

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by ehagerty, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    You won't regret the 5:30 time slot - AND you'll probably still get to see Wishes, if it is at 8:00.

    As for Chef - Jens was promoted to Executive Chef of Epcot a couple of weeks before the Bocuse d'Or competition (and Food & Wine festival) late August, early September. Chef Dennis (picture) has been maintaining the food quality in the kitchen very well indeed. Chef Dennis noted that the head chef for Animal Kingdom will assume Head Chef at CG next month. No worries!!

    Let us know how the flatbread is!! I will post here when I start posting V&A - and a brief (unplanned) stop at Artist Point.

    What you are looking at here is "half and half" - Double crunch and Malibu Roll (two appetizers) served as one entree. Each is available as an appetizer on the DDP - and you can probably request this specific entree dish as an entree on the DDP. Just wanted to be as clear as I can be without being able to ask the server. To be sure, when you sit down, describe what you want (you can even say "I saw this picture on the internet, there were 4 double-crunch rolls and 4 malibu rolls served on one dish as an entree - can I have that?"). They are more than willing to attempt to please the customer, within the bounds established by the kitchen. NEVER hurts to ask for what you want - or help from the server in customizing variations on what you read on the menu.

    Thank you, Elin
     
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  3. FeeFeeWhite

    FeeFeeWhite <font color=blue>No longer needs to beg for update

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    My DS was just mentioning this morning that he wished he could make flatbread like at the CG!
     
  4. hmillerbarilla

    hmillerbarilla DIS Veteran

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    I'm no wine expert, but I do know my wine... sort of!:rolleyes1 I always ask the server, and this last year we had Ryan and he was fantastic at reccomending wine and he was very professional.

    Anyway, we're HUGE CG fans, we go each trip but this time we're just going 3 days and I don't want to make the ressie in case we can't get the time to get over there. ;) I'm hoping to try to show up at the desk & see if we can get in for a quick bite at the bar!!!!!!:goodvibes

    Your pictures are fantastic. You are the best!!!!!!!! So glad you had a nice meal and a great time with your son(s) before they went back to school. Thank you for taking the time to update us with your adventures!
    :dance3:
     
  5. Flossbolna

    Flossbolna Sea days are just so relaxing!

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    Thanks for the info on chefs! I am really excited about our 5:30 ADR and we are planning to see how the meal goes, if we finish early enough we will hop over to the MK for Wishes. I rather want to see it from Main Street. But if the timing does not work out, we are looking forward to getting a nice after dinner drink to take out to the balcony with us! :goodvibes
     
  6. salukidog

    salukidog Earning My Ears

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    We will be going to WDW and will have dinner there on our final nite of our stay. Jan 24th. 7 pm dinner reservation, with all these pics it seems to me that we will have a nice meal. First time guests of the CG.:smickey:
     
  7. MartiniMom

    MartiniMom First Timer

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    Hey ehagerty, your husband's relatives live near me!! Oh, and amazing photos!
     
  8. purpliequeen

    purpliequeen DIS Veteran

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    This thread is amazing. I had my first dinner at the Cali Grill on our last trip (Dec. 28). We had a blast. I think the food at Narcoosee's is better (I will admit the menu is much different), but this restaurant's view of the Seven Sea Lagoon and Wishes is by far the best. :thumbsup2 What a great time!
     
  9. mickeymotto

    mickeymotto Where in the "World" am I?

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    First that sushi looks amazing as always:thumbsup2

    If you had to pick, which of the two fish dishes would you choose? :scratchin They both look fantastic.:goodvibes
     
  10. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    I think we had Ryan last year - along with Walter and Gary, they are probably the most "professional" of the servers that I've had. (Professional meaning, low key, good advice on menu selections, used dishes removed promptly, next course served - not too quickly, nor delayed, etc. Some people prefer more "entertainment" or "interaction". Some servers can do both, as occasion or temperament of the table requires - which I will cover in Artist Point posting - when I get to it).

    Always glad to share our California Grill Adventures!!

    Allearsnet had the more complete report:

    Chef Brian Piasecki has left Animal Kingdom's Jiko and is now the new Chef de Cuisine at the California Grill. Chef Brian started with Walt Disney World more than 18 years ago with the Disney Culinary Apprenticeship program. He then proceeded to round out his experience at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort, the Grand Floridian, the All-Star Sports Resort, the Boardwalk and Epcot's Coral Reef restaurant. Later, as a Chef de Cuisine, Brian lead the culinary teams at Epcot's Le Cellier and Rose and Crown complex. Most recently, as Chef de Cuisine at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Brian worked extensively on the opening operational aspects for the upcoming Disney Vacation Club Kidani Village project. If you see Chef Brian, please tell him Deb and the AllEarsĀ® team wish him well in his new home!

    And, I agree - viewing Wishes is superior from within the Park - IF you have a park pass and enough time to get there.

    Let us know whether the experience met your expectations - we all learn from these threads!!

    Small World, indeed - I think there are a couple of other posters who said the same thing!!

    Love the sushi.....

    Both fish entrees were excellent. I don't know how to choose. Keep in mind that you can always request "I'd like the grouper prepared like the bass." Or vice verse. I guess my recommendation would be to work with the server that day to help you decide - they can ask specific questions about what from each dish appeals to you, then help guide you to a choice.
     
  11. janloz

    janloz Wishing I was at WDW now.

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    Great pics as usual. After showing DH this thread, he was so excited to eat at CG. We ate there the last night of our Dec trip. He had the sushi which he loved. We also had Billy as our server and he was great. CG has become a must do on our list.
     
  12. hmillerbarilla

    hmillerbarilla DIS Veteran

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    :cool1: I've convinced DH! We will try to pop in on our next trip. I hate to make a ressie since we're not sure of our schedule. Does anyone know how late they're open on say... Feb 1, 2 or 3?:confused3

    We love CG and it was between the Kona sushi bar for a "date" or the CG. It will be late though, so that is why we were thinking the bar at Kona... but now that we've decided CG I'm totally excited!!!!!!pixiedust:
     
  13. Princess_Melanie

    Princess_Melanie Princess in Training

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    We ate at the CG last Wednesday as part of DBFs Birthday celebrations. He did not know any of the ADRs I had booked - they were all places he wanted to try.

    We had a wonderful seat in the quieter part of the restaurant, and had Walter for our server. He was brilliant. So attentative but not intrusive. I gave the CG a bag of personalised M&Ms (one said "Aaron's 30th" and the other "WDW 16.01.09") and they put them on the table in a beautiful wine glass for us. There were also Mickey and Castle sprinkles on the table. Walter discussed with us if we would be watching Wishes. As much as it's my favourite thing at Disney, I have been recovering from a severe cold and cough and we didn't want to risk going out and triggering a coughing fit so we stayed at the table and watched a little from across the restaurant.

    The food and drink....DBF had one of the flat breads - the fig and onion one - I can't have cheese (love it but it triggers migrains) so he told me every mouthful how delicious it was!!

    As it was a special occasion we both wanted a glass of something sparkly to toast but did't want a full bottle. Walter recommended something for us and would bring it with the main course. This he did, and the attention to detail like making sure the CG logo on the glasses were facing us was unexepcted and great! The selection (I cannot remember for the life of me which one it was but it was $11 a glass) was perfect - Aaron rarely drinks, and he loved it!!

    We both had the fillet steak (the chef talked to me about alternatives for the cheesy mash) which we put as a close 2nd in comparison to the steaks we had in Shula's (nothing has yet matched those....).

    For dessert we both chose the Valrhona chocolate cake - a must for me as a short time ago, I managed a busy London store for a chocolate company and worked with a choclatier who taught at the Valrhona school of chocolate in france. It was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.!!!! The cake was so light and the centre oooooozed out slowly and temptingly!! They also put a Happy Birthday sign on Aaron's plate for him - very classy looking!!

    Walter also presented Aaron with a card sign by the CG team. That was a nice touch and he was really touched by the gesture.

    We have both already said that we would do CG every trip now - and would look at it for other "special occasions" too (Aaron won't let me call it a wedding till he proposes and he won't propose till we get a house later this year - but this hasn't stopped us half-planning it at WDW already lol!!)

    Thank you to everyone on this thread for the photos and recommendations - they are invaluable!!
     
  14. blanq

    blanq <font color=red>A 42 year old fan of Peter Pan's F

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    My family will be eating at CG on 1/27, my DH's birthday. It has been several years since we have eaten there and we are all looking forward to it. I will give a review upon my return. Sorry, but there will not be pictures. My DH would divorce me if I took photos of our food.:confused3
     
  15. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    I think they are open to the same time very night - not exactly sure what that is - I usually eat early - but they'll let you know the time for the last reservation when you call. Better to have reservation and cancel within window than not - unless you are concerned about forgetting to cancel.

    Princess Melanie - nice report - I sent a link to it to Bridget, the CG manager!
     
  16. Princess_Melanie

    Princess_Melanie Princess in Training

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  17. FeeFeeWhite

    FeeFeeWhite <font color=blue>No longer needs to beg for update

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    IPO told me that I could sit at the bar for sushi without a ressie and the kids could sit at a kid's bar and watch patries. Has anyone heard of this? We were told this was first come first serve only.
     
  18. pdmedic

    pdmedic Mouseketeer

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    I was wondering how large the Deluxe Sushi Platter was my wife and I are looking at going and looking for Sushi as a entree and wondering if was enough.

    Thanks
    Travis
     
  19. singingpixie

    singingpixie <font color=deeppink>Baby Donor<br><font color=blu

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    Weird question- does anyone think I'd be able to get some vegetarian sushi at the California Grill? I know it'd be a custom order but I figured it'd be worth asking. Thanks!
     
  20. TinkerBelle_325

    TinkerBelle_325 Magical Musing Meg

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    I'm 99% sure they will do Vegetarian, probably cucumber and avacado. But yoshie is always happy to accompdate requests, she is very friendly and creative.
     
  21. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Our CG dining experience was as enjoyable as ever. Several elements continue to delight - food, service, sunset. As mentioned many posts ago, we have abandoned the DDP program (Tables in Wonderland suits us better). I mentioned again here to provide context for the relatively smaller number of pictures I take per meal compared to a couple of years ago.

    I had my first "Do you post your pictures on the internet?" conversation with an adjacent table - discovering a fellow Disboard-lurker (hello to the XXXXXXs from Texas!!).

    On to our relatively simple meal of shared appetizers, couple of entrees and some wonderful wine pairings. I've lost track of what we tasted vs what was paired, but the list included:
    Lucien Crochet "Le Chene," Sancerre​
    Chateua De Montfort Vouvray, Loire​
    Fogarty Gewurztraminer, Monterey​
    Hirsh Gruner Veltliner, Austria​
    Conundrum, Rutherford​
    Mer Soliel, Santa Lucia​
    Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Port ??​


    Appetizers

    Zellwood Sweet Corn Bisque with Corn and Bacon "Hushpuppies" and Cumin Creme Fraiche

    [​IMG]




    Asian Rock Shrimp Salad with local Citrus, Hearts of Palm, Red Onions, Soy Reduction, and Wasabi Cream

    [​IMG]




    Maine Lobster Risotto with Midnight Moon Goat Cheese, Lobster Oil, and Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc

    [​IMG]



    ... a word on flatbreads - they are currently NOT on the menu - but only because the oven is awaiting repair. Chef expects the oven to be operational - and flatbreads back on the menu - June 2nd.


    Entrees

    Filet of Beef with Cheesy Idaho Potato Mash, Buttered Asparagus, and Teriyaki Barbecue Sauce

    ...always, reliably delicious

    [​IMG]




    Omikase - sushi, chef's choice - shared by two


    [​IMG]



    "Medusa Roll" - Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Asparagus, Spicy Mayonnaise and Yuzu Pepper Sauce


    [​IMG]




    Tempura "Malibu" Roll - Snapper, Cobia, Hamachi, Tuna Tartare, and Spicy Sesame Sauce

    [​IMG]





    Yellowfin Tuna Three Ways - Poki, Tartare, and Tatki

    ....looks better in sunlight (see previous posts), but that was not available for this meal (until dessert) ..... at least you can see that the high quality never varies!!

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    Dessert


    Birthday Cake - compliments of the house

    [​IMG]



    ....which looks good from any angle

    [​IMG]



    Black Walnut and Chevre Cheesecake

    Laura Chenel Cheesecake with Crushed Black Walnuts. Crisp Almond Cookie and Pudwill Farm Berries

    [​IMG]




    Valrhona Chocolate Cake and Strawberry

    Warm Chocolate Cake with Molten Center, House-made Strawberry Ice Cream, and Strawberry Sauce

    [​IMG]


    ...like the filet, this is reliably delicious



    ....followed by "One order of California Grill Sunset"

    [​IMG]




    We also stayed for Wishes, electing to try out the new fourth floor viewing area (between the shopping area, connecting to Bay Lake Towers:

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    Closing Comments
    (in no particular order):

    (1) The fourth floor viewing area is "free", for those who are not dining at CG that evening. It provides all of the same elements of an Main St parade - if you arrive early, expect to view anything sitting down, or expect others not to step in front of you and block your view - well, you're officially a "newbie." We arrived at 8:30 (Wishes at 9:00) - I thought that, being the first, we might not have too many people (despite the Bay Lake boat captain letting people know of its existence). Wrong - it got crowded quickly, with many children bumping up against me while I tried to hold the camera steady. Glad I checked it out, but would only repeat the experience if I did not have access to the CG balcony on a given night, without a park pass. I suspect that this is somewhat "preemptive" - a place for people to view who might be tempted to do the same from BLT.

    (2) CG Staff - everyone is very friendly....

    Brian - the new chef (formerly, Animal Kingdom Lodge) stopped by to say hello - and continued on the greet a little boy at the next table who aspires to be a chef (like Remy, of course, whom he met earlier in the day).

    Bridget - the manager - who is also most gracious and friendly, stopped by on her rounds

    Walter - our server - facilitated the perfect dining experience - at our request, he provided recommendations for wine pairings and poured half portions so that my newly-21-year-old son and I could share - and taste a wide variety.



    We enjoyed everything!!



    p.s. Early trip report brought to you compliments of the current Florida weather. Normally I would not use precious vacation time for this very enjoyable activity - but we are officially weary of the rain, ensconced in our room, watching Pirates 2, with loaner-Mulan ready to go behind it......
    .
     

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