We’ll stay in the Crescent Lake area for a moment as we retreat from the sun and head directly for Crew’s Cup Lounge at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Earlier this week, I reviewed the breakfast buffet at the Ale & Compass Restaurant, along with some drinks and entrees available there in the morning as well as later in the day. If you’re considering the Yacht Club as a potential place to stay, then you may also wish to see what you can expect from the refurbished rooms as detailed in this post. If you’re looking for quick service food in the area instead, then I have a review of The Market at Ale & Compass here and a look at what you can expect to find from the expansive Hurricane Hanna’s Grill in this review.
Hurricane Hanna’s is actually a pretty good stop, offering this Seafood Roll with Waffle Fries or Apple Slaw for under twelve bucks. It’s probably better than any of the sandwiches along the BoardWalk, including those that you’ll find at the BoardWalk Bakery.
The purpose of Crew’s Cup has changed a bit over the years.
Prior to the expansion of Ale & Compass Lounge in November 2017, Crew’s Cup typically opened at 12pm and served a substantial food menu most of the day. With Ale & Compass now open from 11am through 1am most days, Crew’s Cup operates a lot more like Territory Lounge than Tambu Lounge, opening at 4:30pm and closing at 11:30pm with the main food menu served from 5pm through 10pm, just like the attached restaurant.
Here’s Crew’s Cup’s lunchtime menu from December, 2013:
Oh, the sweet days of the House-cut Truffle Fries. And if you think a $13 hamburger sounds expensive, just wait until we get to the current menu.
In 2015, this is what you’d expect to find during dinner, from 5pm to 10pm:
It’s a similar idea with some elevated offerings like the $33 Steak Frites and $26.49 Cabernet-braised Short Rib. The burger is also up a dollar in two years.
Crew’s Cup now primarily serves as a holding area for those waiting for their Yachtsman Steakhouse reservations next door. But as we take a look at some choice menu items, it remains a solid option for those looking to enjoy a couple of drinks and appetizers in a casual, relaxed setting. The Disney lounge experience isn’t necessarily that much different from your standard table service restaurant experience, but the lounges are usually even more casual and a little more “hands-off.” Service, particularly at Crew’s Cup, remains attentive, but with fewer tables and fewer people, the experience “feels” a lot more like you’re left to your own devices. You’ll also be able to choose your own seats at Crew’s Cup and other lounges, so you can belly up to the bar if you’re feeling more social or pick out a table that appears to be a little more secluded. At Crew’s Cup, I love the comfy booths with the high wood backs. You’ll feel like you’re the only people in the place, at least if you’re able to ignore all of the people that can see you from the sides. As usual, I just keep my eyes closed, which may explain the quality of some of the pictures that follow.
Now with A Brief History of Crew’s Cup Lounge behind us, let’s focus on what you’ll currently find:
There’s a decent amount of variety here whether you’re looking to share a couple of appetizers or sit down to a meal. While I enjoy the Lounge experience for food that’s easy to pass around alongside cocktails, I’d probably opt for a classic sit down restaurant experience if I was looking to drop $34 on Fried Chicken or $36 for Prime Rib. Although to be fair to the chicken, it does say that it’s fried twice, so maybe you are also paying two times for it, resulting in the high price. A pricey Skirt Steak is also available, alongside less expensive hot dogs and hamburgers. I made a big deal about the lack of seafood at breakfast at Ale & Compass, but you’ve got a couple of options here with the Captain’s Platter featuring Jumbo Shrimp, Mussels, Oyster Shooters, Scallop Ceviche, and Charred Octopus Salad or the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Lobster Bisque Bread Bowl.
We’ll start with the reason why you might consider seeking Crew’s Cup out specifically.
This trio makes up the $16 “Prime Rib Sliders – Toasted Signature Onion Rolls, Horseradish Cream, Au Jus.” The Onions Rolls served with dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse are among my favorite things. Fluffy and delightful, buttery and soft, the fragrant aroma of the flaky pull-apart Rolls will arrive just before the delicious platter is set down. Each of the Rolls is cut in half and stuffed with quite a bit of tender, juicy Prime Rib – I’d be surprised if it was less than six or eight ounces in all. I would have liked more of the Horseradish Cream – you might ask for extra on the side if you like a lot of spicy tang. Of course, you can also ask for it to be left off. The Sliders are served with Au Jus. I don’t think the little sandwiches require it, but the broth did help soften the Onion Rolls a bit and make for an even richer bite.
The Hand-cut Fries are nice and crispy with plenty of coarse kosher salt for an extra blast of flavor. As the fries cool, they do become oily, so you’ll want to get going quickly here too. They’re certainly a unique take on Disney’s standard frozen french fry.
It ends up being a filling, satisfying meal and a fantastic value for $16. You could also opt to share them, but I don’t think you’ll want to. We’ll take a closer look at the side of fries in a moment.
As usual, I didn’t capture the immense size of this $13 “‘Everything Pretzel’ – Beer Cheese, Yuzu-pickled Vegetables, House-made Mr. Tractor Kolsch Mustard,” but that’s a regulation condiment cup there in the top left expanse of the twisted bread knot. Even If you go in expecting it to be giant, I think your expectations will still be far exceeded. There’s quite a bit of the “Everything” seasoning, which makes the flavor of the pretzel closer to an Everything Bagel than your typical soft pretzel. Immediately after it’s served, the dough is soft and chewy, but as time goes on, it’s going to get harder and harder to the point where it’s virtually inedible within an hour or so. You’ll want to go to town quickly. Fortunately, that should be pretty easy. Mr. Tractor is a beer from the Crooked Can Brewery in Winter Garden, Florida, which is located about 45 minutes north of the Walt Disney World Resort. Their Kolsch beer adds a subtle malty character to the spicy Mustard, while the Beer Cheese is as rich, creamy, and comforting as you’d expect. The Yuzu-pickled Vegetables are appropriately sour and briny with just a little bit of sweet zest on the back end.
Overall, the Everything Pretzel is among the most shareable appetizers on property and a great value. Just be ready for a lot of bread.
The $14 “Lobster Bisque Bread Bowl – Toasted Sourdough Boule, Crème Fraîche, Maine Lobster” was less remarkable. That may have something to do with the fact that whenever I see a bread bowl on the menu that I expect it to be filled with salad. As it stands, the Bisque was proficient – rich, thick, and creamy with a little bit of sherry and a lot of heavy cream. Unfortunately, it lacked the sweet chunky bites of lobster that you’d hope to find swimming around and the Crème Fraîche was lost entirely in the overwhelming richness of the soup. The Sourdough Bread Bowl was also less rustic and toasty than you’d probably hope. On the plus side, it’s probably at least 1,500 calories, so you’ve got some value there. If soup really sounds good then I would not dissuade you from ordering it, but I don’t think it’s going to be a standout and it would be a pretty heavy way to start a meal here if you were eyeballing a main course.
Crew’s Cup typically offers a couple of unique cocktails, but you’ll need to check out the chalk board behind the bar area to find out what they are. And don’t be particularly surprised if they’re somehow sold out. I missed out on a Maple Manhattan and instead went with this standard $13.25 “Walk the Plank – Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey, Orange Juice, Orgeat (Almond), and Lemon Juice garnished with Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries.” It’s strong and refreshing.
Crew’s Cup also serve Disney’s standard lounge menu, which includes this $12.25 “Moscow Mule – Russian Standard Vodka, Lime Juice, and Pure Cane Sugar topped with Fever Tree Ginger Beer.”
The “Magic 75,” the bar’s take on your classic French 75, was a little more unique. The Hendrick’s Gin and Lemon Juice are brought out in a separate container and are then poured into the very purple non-alcoholic base.
When combined, we were supposed to see a major shift in the color of the drink, which doesn’t seem to make a terrible amount of sense considering that we’re just adding lemon juice and gin to purple juice. Alas, not much happened. You would think that they would have learned their lesson from AbracadaBar, where none of the drink tricks ever really worked either. Anyway, it’s unlikely that this drink will be available when you visit, but the tart lemon flavor overwhelmed everything else and nobody knew what was in the purple drink. It might have just been some sort of Kool-Aid. The bartenders are typically good here, so if there’s something that you’re after, just ask if they can make it. The answer is probably yes.
99% of success in blogging is doing things that you don’t want to do, which brings us to the $16 “Yacht Dog – House-made Signature ‘Yacht Dog’ – 14-Day Dry-Aged Prime Beef, Mayonnaise, House-made Ketchup, Fried Onions, Mr. Tractor Honey Mustard, Parker House Bun, Hand-cut Fries.”
I was actually pretty curious about this thing. You don’t see a lot of hot dogs on the menus of the lounges attached to signature restaurants and the description made it sound interesting, “Dry-Aged Prime Beef” in a Hot Dog? Made at the resort? On a Parker House Bun? With House-made everything? Unfortunately, it basically tasted like any other hot dog. I don’t think I would be able to differentiate this from your standard Oscar Meyer link sausage. The bun was light and fluffy and the Hot Dog was tender, but there was nothing about it that really stood out. It was also on the small side compared to the other items that we ordered. It “feels” like it makes a lot more sense to order the Prime Rib Sliders, where you know you’ll be able to enjoy the flavors of the beef.
Finally, we have the $20 “Classic Crew Burger – Mr. Tractor Honey Mustard, Miso Bacon, House-made Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Lettuce, Tomato, Bread & Butter Pickles, Onions, Cheddar Cheese, Hand-cut Fries.” This is a proficient burger, though it’s probably not on the same level as a Crew’s Cup Burger from five or six years ago. All of the ingredients are incredibly fresh and the burger itself is substantial and nicely seasoned. The Miso Bacon in particular stands out – the meat is tangier with a richer flavor than just about any bacon I’ve ever encountered. The Honey Mustard helps sweeten things up a little bit and the House-made Ketchup adds a deep tomato flavor that I appreciated. I don’t think that it does enough to demand a purchase, but if you’re in the mood for a burger in the evening then it certainly fits the bill.
During the day, I would direct your attention towards the $18 “Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Burger with Caramelized Onion on a Parker House Bun with Applewood-smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Herb Mayo” that we saw over at Ale & Compass Restaurant. They’re both good burgers. If anything, there might be one too many things going on with the Crew’s Cup version.
Here’s the menu over at Yachtsman next door:
We do see some similarities. Both Crew’s Cup and Yachtsman offer the same Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Cheese or Charcuterie Board, Caesar Salad, Captain’s Platter/Tower, and Twice-Fried Chicken. Of course, Yachtsman adds a lot more upscale items, like the $125 A5 Wagyu or 28-ounce Porterhouse for Two. If anybody actually clicks into any of these reviews, the website may be able to afford to go back.
Overall, the lounge delivers on what it promises – a cozy location to enjoy very good drinks, appetizers, and potentially a heartier meal. Crew’s Cup is the darkest of the various Yacht Club eateries, which may add a layer of privacy that you won’t find at Ale & Compass, whether you’re visiting the Lounge or Restaurant. The seating setup is also more intimate at Crew’s. If you’re dining alone, then the bar at Crew’s Cup may also be a better bet if you’re considering some of the pricier entrees.
We may move over to the most casual eatery in the area with Beaches & Cream next.