Disney Springs The Landing Update – Part 1 – Ganachery S’more, Paddlefish Lunch Redux, BOATHOUSE

We continue our walk around Disney Springs after taking an expansive look at the West Side, and then the Town Center, before arriving here at The Ganachery in the Landing. To the left of the chocolate shoppe sits the first retail casualty of the Disney Springs expansion with “Sound Lion” closing earlier this year to make way for the Savanna Bee Company. Amusingly, the Bee Company ended up with a pretty big…bee problem…at their outdoor kiosk, so the move inside should be of some benefit.

I love The Ganachery and have purchased a variety of chocolates here since the location opened about 20 months ago.

Larger: Here.

They do a really nice job packaging everything up, resulting in an easy, classy gift.

As with most things, the more you buy, the more you “save.” I’m not a Rosa Regale person, but if you’re looking for a sweet, bubbly wine paired with a sweet, intensely fruity chocolate, the $9 offer is a good one.

And for the last year or so, they’ve tossed in one of their $8.50 chocolate bars with the purchase of a 16-piece box. You could rationalize that you’re getting about $56 worth of stuff for your money if you go by the $3/piece price, in addition to the cost of the bar. At least it makes me feel better about spending $36 on 32 bites of chocolate.

But what I LOVE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE AT THE MOMENT (with one exception) is the $8 S’more available here.

It’s a fun process that starts with two pieces of graham cracker slathered with creamy chocolate. The thick marshmallow square is toasted with a blowtorch while you watch.

Then ANOTHER piece of chocolate with the Ganachery’s logo is melted on top of the marshmallow. Then powdered sugar is sprinkled on top in the shape of a pair of Mickey ears. IT IS SO GOOD and my favorite thing on property other than whatever attraction etc. is about to close.

On the construction front, work continues on The Edison across from STK.

Here’s where we’re at after some serious construction delays.

While jet fuel may not be enough to melt steel beams, the Florida sun apparently is, and The Edison is now expected to open about a year later than expected, sometime around the end of 2017.

But it looks like reality will mirror the concept art relatively well, particularly with so many people looking in the opposite direction of STK.

Supposedly, “Walt’s” and “Neverland Tunnels” are slated to go in underneath The Edison, with the possible entrance being on the opposite side of this bridge, probably so it’s more convenient for people not going to STK to arrive somewhere that they actually want to be. Disney has not formally announced what’s going in down there, so it could just as easily be an Arby’s. Walt’s is expected to primarily be a restaurant, while Neverland is a bar.

That’s the potential entrance to Walt’s just out of frame on the right with The Edison on the other side of the bridge.

A surprising amount of work has been completed on Wine Bar George, which is still slated to open later this year. Helmed by Master Sommelier George Miliotes, I’m expecting fine wine and small plates offered at prices higher than I’d like to pay. But it should be an elegant stop with an expansive wine list and some fine cheese.

Portobello closed back in April to make way for Terralina Crafted Italian.

I hear the name and think Italian crafted what…but it’s apparently an Italian restaurant in the same vein as Buca di Beppo, with most dishes served family-style.

A couple more progress pictures:






It looks like Crafted Italian will utilize most of the original building, which probably helps move the six-ish month turnaround along. I enjoyed one of my worst dining experiences on property at Portobello back in April, which ended up being shortly before the restaurant closed.

Otherwise, there’s just a smattering of retail in an area that’s dominated by restaurants on all sides.

Another swatch with Chapel Hats, Havaianas, and Erin McKenna Bakery.

Three restaurants all offer somewhat similar options in The Landing, including Paddlefish ahead, then THE BoaTHOUse down a ways to the right, and STK wherever STK is.

In my initial, expansive review, you might remember that I was impressed by most of what I saw and ate at what used to be Fulton’s.

Hopefully you got in on the Lobster Guac early, as the price has gone up from $28 in February to $36 today, while most other dishes are either the same price or up just a dollar.

On my original visit, I ordered what was a $33 entree in the Fish & Chips, which was Atlantic halibut at the time. Many scoffed at the price point, but wild halibut will run you something like $25/pound at the grocery store, so two huge pieces fried fresh at a restaurant for $33 was a fair price, I thought.

You might need a second side to make this two full meals for two hungry bloggers, but I couldn’t finish it. Anyway, I mention this because the fish & chips are now $5 less expensive and arrive as flounder instead. Raw, flounder would run you about half the price at the store, if that. It’s potentially a shame because despite a negative stigma around an item called fish & chips costing so much, it was a great value.

I recently returned for lunch and ordered the $16 “Lobster Corn Dogs with Sweet chili aïoli.”

These have a really light, really crispy coating that offers a nice textural contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth lobster inside.

Paired nicely with the  mildly spicy, creamy aioli, it’s a lot less food than the Crab Fries, but you may be more interested in saving room for the main courses.

Bite for bite, I think they’re my favorite item at Paddlefish, though at $4 per skewer they are not inexpensive.

And speaking of skewers, I would remind you that the beef version is very good here too.

I was less satisfied with my $15 “Half Floridian Chicken Salad Sandwich with either a cup of soup or any side salad.” It was a really small half of a sandwich on thin, grocery-store-quality wheat bread and a chintzy portion of bland chicken salad inside. The full sandwich with a large side is only $12 and the cup of soup is just $6, so you’d net another half sandwich and a side for just $3 more. Unless you have a particularly small appetite and no blogger to share your fries with, ordering a la carte seems like the smarter choice.

The clam chowder was also devoid of almost anything other than broth and celery. It was also served at a disappointingly cool temperature.

My previous experience with the Conch Chowder was much more positive.

The $25 “Catfish with Cornmeal crust, edamame-bacon succotash, creole mustard, and pickled watermelon” wasn’t a whole lot better, in my estimation. The fish was dry with an overwhelming corn flavor from the thick crust. Catfish is also dirt cheap, so it’s a tough value proposition to justify when much more expensive fish is on the menu for not much more money. A lot more of the spicy mustard sauce might have gone a long way, but there was barely enough of it to qualify as a garnish. The succotash underneath was really addicting though with bright flavors from the crunchy corn and edamame tasting great against the salty bacon.

Otherwise, online reviews for Paddlefish trend much more negatively than most other restaurants at Disney Springs, which makes a wholehearted recommendation difficult.

Certainly, it’s a pretty, chic space with some fantastic waterside views. BOATHOUSE next door is closer to a sure thing, though I maintain that tables there are too close together and it’s usually loud in the evening. But Paddlefish might be worth a shot if you’ve got several meals planned or otherwise take your chances on what is more likely to be poor service.

Speaking of our beloved BoaTHOUSe, here’s the current menu, which differs quite a bit from the website’s last formal review. I don’t frequent the BOat as often as I’d like with the plethora of options available.

It just wouldn’t be all that interesting if I grabbed one of the best values on property in the $14 Filet Sliders with Fries on every visit.

On my most recent visit, Erin and I shared the $75 “Original Lobster Bake for Two – 1.25-pound Whole Maine Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, Oysters, Andouille Sausage, Red Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Boathouse Lobster Broth.” It’s $15 more than when the restaurant opened, but now includes the shrimp, mussels, and oysters, along with everything else, in an overflowing bowl.

I’m not sure if it’s obvious how giant the shrimp are given how big everything else, is and the fact that the photo is garbage taken inside without a flash, but I was really impressed by the quality and size of everything. It was a really satisfying blend of fresh, flavorful seafood, with some tasty accompaniments that I expected to weigh down the bake a lot more than they did. One kind of weird thing was that we had to shuck the oysters ourselves with the regular silverware left on the table.

Because I am a huge embarrassment, I ordered a $15 “Lemon Drop Martini – Stoli Citrus, Deep Eddy Vodka, Cointreau, Lemon, Sweet and Sour, and Rock Candy Swizzle Stick.” I felt quite fabulous and the little bit of sweet and sour helped ease the flavor of the vodka without impacting the punch from all of the alcohol. Expensive, but quite good. The rock candy is a fun throwback too – crunchy and sweet. You’d think there would be an opportunity for a boozy dessert with four or five sticks.

On the less embarrassing front, Erin went with a “Strawberry Gin Fizz – Hendrick’s Gin, Strawberries, Mint, Lime Juice, and Soda Water” for $13. We were impressed by the amount of fresh fruit along with a pleasant, cool flavor from the mint, a hint of citrus from the lime, and a bit of fizzle from the soda water. Very good.

Barry and family were nice enough to invite me to dinner some time ago now. Above is “Gibsons ‘Sandwich King’ Award Winning Burger – Crisp Cherry Peppers, Jalapeno Havarti, Spiced Mayo served with Fresh Cut Fries.”

This is my favorite burger on property – juicy, meaty, and flavorful with a thick patty and a ton of thick cut, fresh vegetables in between the thin, crispy, buttery-soft bun. With the jalapeno havarti cheese, cherry peppers, and spiced mayo, there’s a real spiciness to it. Really good. And if you’re not into the whole spicy thing, they have a couple of other options that you can mix and match if you like. You might remember that my favorite thing about The Boathouse is the variety of price points. You’ll feel right at home ordering $20 sandwiches or $100 porterhouses.

Steaks here are among the highest quality for the money, though Disney is ramping up a lot of their signature restaurants with A5 Wagyu and other pricier cuts.

Here’s the current menu at Yachtsman:

This is far more expansive than just about any other Disney signature restaurant at the moment. There’s a $125 5-ounce steak on the menu now.

Here’s Flying Fish, where the number of entrees has been reduced from eight to six:

Though you now have three caviar options that start at $130. Disney has been ramping up the discounts at many restaurants. While there are some limitations, Flying Fish now offers 30% off for Tables in Wonderland card holders and is offering a free appetizer with entree purchase for Florida residents, in addition to free valet parking.  Similar offers are available at other signature restaurants like Artist Point. More Disney restaurants than ever are also participating in Magical Dining Month, which starts on August 25th and runs through September. Jiko, The Wave, Grand Floridian Cafe, and more will offer 3-course, $35 menus during that time. Cast are also seeing 40% discounts at the likes of Boma, Citricos, and other restaurants that you wouldn’t expect would need to offer such discounts to fill seats. I don’t think anybody goes to a Disney signature restaurant expecting to see inexpensive prices, but it might be time for someone at the company to take a look over what they’re doing and consider adding some less expensive options. You would think that some number of people would be lured inside Flying Fish with the thought of a $29 entree, only to decide that the Nero Pasta sounds a lot better after seeing the dish walked to a nearby table.

Part Two will focus primarily on what’s going on with the other Landing restaurants. We’ll catch up on Raglan Road, Cooke’s of Dublin, Morimoto Asia, Morimoto Asia Street Food, and STK. Yes, TWO meals at STK.

Comments

  1. Mike says

    BoatHouse Sliders are on my hit list come the wk after Ths Givin. What’s a good cocktail there for an old gal who doesn’t like liqueur that much that will sneak up on her an get her smashed.

  2. Donald says

    “IT IS SO GOOD and my favorite thing on property other than whatever attraction etc. is about to close.”

    This gave me life.

  3. Chris says

    “But what I LOVE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE AT THE MOMENT (with one exception”

    Awwww, Erin beat out the s’more! (Which I now have to try.)

    Like the Boathouse so much that we can’t manage to try any other new restaurants at DS. The relatively new pulled pork sandwich is terrific.

  4. Dorliss Chambers says

    We had a fabulous meal at STK shortly after it opened, Other than the stupid dance club hybrid concept, has the quality deteriorated?

  5. DwarfPlanet says

    We really like the Boathouse also, the filet mignon sliders are my wife’s favorite. We also upgraded to truffle fries which are very good. Another thing is to check out the specials of the day menu.

  6. CMM says

    YO DAWG, I HEARD YOU LIKE RESTAURANTS SO I PUT A RESTAURANT INSIDE YOUR RESTAURANT.

    And yes, I do hate myself. More than anyone. Except for TOM BRICKER.

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