Back in October, you might remember that I reviewed Liberty Tree Tavern quite negatively, as the restaurant eliminated virtually all of the a la carte lunch entrees in favor of the more-expensive “Patriot’s Platter.”
But beyond that, the food was even poorer quality than the execution, with mostly dry, flavorless meat. I’m happy to say that since then, I’ve enjoyed two significantly better meals there. Back in December, Erin and I visited for dinner and the quality of the pork was much higher, even though the other items were largely the same. But feedback from other guests must have been as negative as my experience as the pot roast is back on the menu, available both a la carte and on the Platter. In addition to that, other entrees are back on the menu at lunch and Disney is serving the superior Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake as the dessert with the Patriot’s Platter by default, so your server won’t have to “check on availability” and threaten an additional charge.
Here’s the current lunch menu:
The Patriot’s Platter, the price of which should have returned to $33 with the “Easter Season” behind us.
The “Tavern’s Keeper’s Favorite Pot Roast” and “Tavern Battered Fish and Chips” make a triumphant return and with the Craisins sponsorship over, “Johnny Appleseed’s Bread Pudding” is out in favor of the Seasonal Fruit Cobbler.
As you are probably aware, Liberty Tree Tavern, Tony’s Town Square, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Skipper Canteen all added beer and wine to their menus back in December. I think the selections at the majority of the restaurants are on the disappointing side. For example, Skipper Canteen, where they could have added selections from virtually anywhere in the world and still been “on-theme,” went with Blue Moon and Stella Artois in cans.
Liberty Tree Tavern’s selection is a little better:
While Sam Adams Boston Lager isn’t the most unique choice, it’s a fantastic beer in its own right and a safe bet. It’s also the only draft beer available at Magic Kingdom. There’s also the Bud Light and Angry Orchard options, in addition to a mimosa, straight sparkly, and some pretty terrible wines with the William Hill and Beringer selections. The William Hill is an $11 bottle at Total Wine, while the Beringer is $4. Yes…a $4 bottle of wine served here for $35. But as is typically the case, if you’re willing to spend a little more money then you’ll get a little more value. The Beaulieu bottle is $25 at the store or $49 at Magic Kingdom. That’s not a terrible restaurant markup.
The souvie cuppie remains on the menu, in addition to Joffrey’s Coffee and the Ariel or Pirate Punch.
Unfortunately, the days when this was the default cup are well behind us and Disney uses generic glassware unless you “upgrade” to the mug.
The Boston Lager is on the right and “felt” like it was much closer to a 20-ounce pour than a 16-ounce, which was nice. It tasted fresh out of the keg – crisp and refreshing with a biscuit-like sweetness with some caramel notes, nicely mellowed by a hoppy floral character. It’s a fantastic beer that’s largely ignored by us snobs. I ordered my mimosa with “just a touch of orange juice for color.” The hope is, in addition to not being ladened with the cloying mouthfeel of thick pulpy orange juice, that the glass will arrive full of wine instead of juice. But Disney has outsmarted me again as I received about half of a mimosa, which means the standard offering must be about half juice. The Iron Horse is otherwise a nice sparkling wine and the juice did a nice job of adding some citrus without overpowering the wine. You might make a similar request.
We’ll see the portion-for-one during each course of the Patriot’s Platter, here with the mixed greens starter. This was a significant improvement over what we were served last time with large, thick, fresh vegetables mixed in with the crunchy greens that weren’t drenched in the honey-shallot dressing. A vibrant way to begin the meal.
Even the rolls saw a marked improvement – now buttery and soft with a tangy, sweet honey-butter. Very good.
The Patriot’s Platter arrives with Roasted Turkey Breast, Pot Roast, and Carved Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, Herb Stuffing, and House-made Macaroni and Cheese. While there is no longer a cranberry component served by default, the salty turkey that “feels” like it was just carved off the roast is comforting underneath the creamy gravy with some butter and pepper notes. Still very good.
The corn on the left, which is apparently what they’re calling the “seasonal vegetables,” was the weakest component of the dish. The starchy kernels may be exactly what they’re serving at Pecos Bill as “roasted corn salsa” with the mixture of peppers mixed in. The green bean casserole that used to be served was far superior and much more “Thanksgiving” than corn salsa. Luckily, the herb stuffing in the middle is well-seasoned and well-balanced with a nice bread-y structure without any sort of unfortunate mushiness. It stands up well to the gravy and pairs nicely with the turkey. The Carved Pork Roast is a huge improvement over the generic Hormel pork loin that we were served last time – a great herb-y flavor and a far improved meaty texture. Really good.
I’m not sure that the macaroni and cheese is improved in its current iteration, which was a lot mushier than the previous offering.
This is what we were served last time – much thicker noodles that were cooked to a nice al dente with the cheese sauce doing a nice job of coating the pasta. At least what we were served was more like macaroni and cheese mush. The flavor was fine, but the texture wasn’t outstanding.
Overall, the accompaniments might still leave something to be desired, but the meat selections were either still very good or a vast improvement. And since meat is the reason most people are going to gravitate to the platter, that’s probably a good thing.
I ordered the $20 “Tavern Keeper’s Favorite – Pot Roast served with Mashed Potatoes and Garden Vegetables.”
To compare, this is what the dish looked like in 2013. There’s less beef back then, I think, but the vegetables are a significant improvement with the onion and carrot. Before that presentation, it was served with crispy onions on top, which I thought added a nice textural contrast.
The current offering is a huge portion of tender pot roast with a distinct mushroom and cabernet wine vibe from the sauce, which was surprisingly nuanced and flavorful.
The corn and mashed potatoes make another appearance and I thought the corn worked better mixed in with the sauce than it did by itself on the platter. The creamy, buttery mashed potatoes soaked up the flavors from the rest of the dish well and added a lot of heft to what ended up being an incredibly filling meal. Overall, I thought it was a fantastic lunch entree at a relatively reasonable price considering how much more expensive quick service is now. I would have liked to have seen some more vegetables though.
I have an unabashed love for the “Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake – Vanilla Cake with a Gooey Toffee Filling, Caramel Sauce, and Vanilla Ice Cream.” The cake underneath had a really nice crispiness to the exterior with a smooth buttery texture inside with some hints of vanilla and sweet cream cheese. The gooey toffee filling is so sweet and so addictive with the vanilla ice cream on top doing a nice job of cooling everything down and the chocolate chips and Heath bar crumbles adding some crunch. A really outstanding dessert that may well be my favorite on property, though I love that Peanut Butter Freeze at Flying Fish.
Liberty Tree Tavern is probably not the most relaxing restaurant as it’s usually crowded and loud. I like Skipper Canteen in that respect because meals there are typically more chill. But the atmosphere can be fun and if you’re looking for a casual spot, it’s one of the better choices.
Overall, I think Liberty Tree Tavern is “back” with some major improvements on the meat front. And while I’d still like to be able to order the turkey by itself, with the fountain beverage and dessert included, the platter is only a couple of dollars more than ordering those three things separately. And you can always order more turkey. If the last review put you off of visiting, hopefully this follow-up sounds a little more positive. I was impressed.