It’s been a few weeks since the last visit to Downtown Disney Springs, which included reviews of the new gelato outlet, in addition to a return to Cookes of Dublin and Wolfgang Express, among other things.
Signage is up all over property as Downtown Disney officially transitioned to “Disney Springs” on the 29th. Like I mentioned last time, I laugh about how many people must be endlessly searching for Downtown Disney. With so much construction still going on and not even a quarter of the new tenants announced, I’m not sure it makes much sense to make the transition now. The change is probably just due to Disney changing over to the 2016 fiscal year.
There’s a new ramp up to the Orange Parking Garage if you’re headed in this direction.
To use the new ramp, you want to be in the center-ish lane at the turn into Typhoon Lagoon on the right or Disney Springs on the left.
The lane says “Parking” on it with an arrow facing forwards.
Then take a left at the light.
Then it’s a right into the parking garage or a left for street-level parking or valet.
As you pull into the garage, you’ll arrive on the third of five levels.
The bridge to nowhere.
That’s expected to be the future home of The Edison on the left and STK on the right.
A wide look at STK.
Looking in the other direction.
Some of the walls in front of Paradiso 37 have come down. The view at eye level of the thousands of guests walking by seems kind of awkward and I can’t imagine the smell wafting through at 4:30pm in July is particularly pleasant either. But you do have a front row view of what is probably a lot of unfortunate outfits.
As I think I mentioned in the Jorge Lopez review, the boat dock next to the Hangar Bar, Paradiso, and BOatHOUSe is open again.
The walls are now down in front of Morimoto Asia, which opened to the public on the 30th. Some of the menu:
Pricing is lower than I was expecting for the most part and the menu reminds me a lot of how the BOATHOUSE across the way is priced. You can certainly spend $50-$70 per person on an appetizer and entree if you want to, but there are other options in the $15-$20 range too. You could get out of here for not much more than The Plaza at Magic Kingdom and still come away with Spicy Pork Ramen and Chicken Pad Thai.
The website is hoping to get over to the restaurant next weekend after spending the first few days of the week at Vero Beach.
Walls remain up in close proximity to Raglan Road. They had their annual Great Irish Hooley event or whatever it’s called earlier this month and I can’t imagine it was anything less than a logistical nightmare.
Out in front of Morimoto.
Looking toward what is still Fulton’s.
Construction around The Marketplace remains light.
Most of the construction is in the distance behind it.
The World of Disney expansion continues. Not only is the store completely rearranged inside here, but they’re making changes to The Emporium over at Magic Kingdom too. It’s a whole new world.
Once Upon A Toy is mostly Star Wars. As always, they don’t pay me unless I mention The Force Awakens comes out on December 18th!
Back to ThE bOaTHoUSe, I enjoyed another dinner there last month. Here’s the menu from September 22nd:
The menu is now consolidated to one page. You may remember that they had the dining room menu and then a sort of all-day/lunch/bar/outdoor menu that would also be brought to the dining room for dinner. This way everybody gets a single menu.
There’s also a list of daily specials:
That’s where you’ll find the most quotable price on the menu in the $100 Tomahawk Rib Chop for two. It’s actually come down in price $15 since the restaurant opened.
Boathouse is currently my favorite restaurant on property. While it’s characterized as “expensive,” I would argue that this is by far the least expensive “signature restaurant” with more than a dozen entrees under $20. They also added a New York Steak & Fries at $29, which is $5 less expensive than Disney’s standard table service steak and certainly significantly higher quality. The atmosphere inside and out is decidedly casual, so this isn’t necessarily the best choice if you’re looking for the pomp and circumstance you might find at a Shula’s or a Yachtsman Steakhouse. But you may appreciate a more laid back experience with some of the better food on property.
Hopefully they’ll add draft beer at some point.
Lisa ordered the $12 Sangria – Poema Rose, St Germain, Brandy, Fresh Citrus, which had a nice burst of refreshing citrus flavor masking the alcohol content from the wine.
We’re joined by their royal highnesses, the Haupt Family, who were nice enough to invite Lisa and me out to dinner. I will mention that I almost never have anything going on in case you’re looking to add one of the more grounded theme park bloggers to your meal. Though that’s sort of like saying you’re the most sensible member of the Flat Earth Society. We started with an order of the $16 Firecracker Shrimp – Sriracha Mayo, Shishito Peppers.
This is a large, very shareable portion with more than two dozen decently sized shrimp lightly breaded and tossed in a spicy sauce that has a lingering spiciness to it. Very good.
You may remember what Coral Reef served as “Sriracha Shrimp” for $13 – just six smallish, heavily battered frozen shrimp tossed in a mostly flavorless sauce.
The view from the table. You may want to time your meal around the sunset.
Lisa ordered the $12 Filet Sliders – Two Sliders with Fries, which is potentially not the most photogenic dish I’ve ever seen. You may want to add one of their very good sauces.
Each slider has a few bites of steak perfectly cooked to your specifications.
Half-eaten for your viewing pleasure. If you’re considering a quick service hamburger or something, you may want to take a strong look at the Sliders or one of BOATHOUSE’s other less expensive entrees. It’s hard to imagine one of those Pop Century burgers would be better for $3 more money.
Heck, two of these sad little mass-produced sliders at this year’s Food and Wine Festival will set you back $8.50. And they don’t come with fries.
If you’re apprehensive about “going cheap” at a signature restaurant, BOATHOUSE has an expansive indoor bar right inside the entrance that almost always has plenty of availability, in addition to the outdoor bar seating and another smaller bar deeper inside the restaurant. But even in one of the dining rooms, you see more burgers go out than anything else.
King James ordered the 8-ounce Filet Mignon.
Your server will assuredly tell you that Gibsons is the “only restaurant group in the country to have its own USDA Certification” in their USDA Gibsons Prime Angus beef. Indeed, steak quality here is as good or better than any other signature restaurant on property with tender, flavorful meat expertly seasoned and cooked. There isn’t much more you can say about it.
I ordered the $29 New England Lobster Roll – Fresh Whole Maine Lobster, Toasted Split Top Bun.
This is an incredibly fresh sandwich with the lobster seemingly piled high and falling out of the bun with just a little mayo and lettuce.
What I thought was a little strange was the fact that they had stuffed in two very large, very thick slices of tomato underneath the lobster. This made it a little harder to enjoy the lobster along with the nicely toasted, buttery roll as you sort of have to fork out the lobster before you can really pick it up. And once you get down past the first layer of lobster, you’re basically left with a tomato sandwich. Quality was otherwise impressive as this is easily the best lobster roll on property and easily better than nearby Fulton’s. My previous review of that:
I’m not sure I captured how small the roll is, but these are not particularly long french fries. I actually thought they served me the kid size portion as the gentleman a table over ordered the same thing and his looked to be significantly larger, in addition to the fries being served standing up in a cup. To add to the inconsistencies, I had ordered my entree with chips and Lisa ordered hers with fries and they mixed those things up, serving me fries. Not a big deal, but you would expect a signature restaurant to get the orders correct, at a minimum.
The roll was otherwise bland with a faint, generic seafood flavor. Surprisingly, this lagged behind the quick service sandwiches I’ve been served elsewhere, including BoardWalk Bakery, Hurricane Hanna’s, and Columbia Harbour House.
Not my most positive review.
Juli ordered the Crab Cake, which Lisa had tried previously and enjoyed it. The restaurant was also easily accommodating in preparing a plain bowl of pasta.
We ordered the $21 Shrimp & Andoille Mac’ N Cheese, which was originally listed as a side for $17. While this would be a serviceable pasta dish if you have to absolutely order pasta, I think it works better as a side to share among three or four (or more) people. It’s creamy, cheesy, and delicious, but it doesn’t really allow for Boathouse’s fresh seafood to shine.
The $10 Cut From The Cob Roasted Sweet Corn is smarter, I think. Another heaping portion, I’m not sure what they put on this to make it so good, but the sweetness of the corn combined with the butter and peppery spices is some of the best I’ve ever had. Highly recommended, though my favorite side here is the $8 Roasted New Potatoes with Old Bay Remoulade. So good. Dessert:
The S’Mores Baked Alaska here gets the most press – easily enough for six or more people, making the $40 price a little more reasonable.
We tried the $9 Key Lime Pie in a Mason Jar with Vanilla Bean Cream and Seasonal Berries was good with a natural lime flavor enhanced by the sweetness of the berries and cream.
The $10 Whiskey Caramel Cornbread Cake with Mixed Berries, Whiskey Syrup, and Whipped Buttermilk is a huge portion also suitable for sharing. The cornbread is thick and in my opinion, a little too gritty, but the berries add a nice tartness to the dish that is then sweetened up with the cream and caramel sauce. Very good, but again, you probably want to share.
Service was attentive and efficient, but it’s not a refined experience where you can expect to be doted on unnecessarily. One other caveat is that the space is extremely loud and oftentimes very crowded.
My advice is always to visit Disney Springs as early in the day as possible. As an added incentive, Boathouse offers $25 off an Amphicar rental before 4pm with $50 spent on lunch.
Boathouse is very kid friendly and their prices are pretty reasonable considering we’re still talking about shrimp and USDA Gibsons beef. It would potentially be nice to see a little steak included, perhaps for a couple more dollars.
Thanks again to the Haupt Family for their invitation. It’s always nice when the people we meet aren’t serial killers or at least don’t immediately murder us.
That’s what’s going on at Disney Springs. The parking situation is a lot easier with the new ramp, but crowding remains an issue most nights. Historically, I was never a big proponent of visiting Downtown Disney, but the expansion and addition of several high quality offerings is going to make it extremely difficult for most people to choose just one or two restaurants, in addition to bar experiences like Jake Lundley’s, The Edison, and potentially a lot more not-yet-official lounges.
We’ll see what the future holds.