This is the website’s third review of The Polite Pig, one of the newest eateries to open at Disney Springs and one of few barbecue outlets on property. I wrote a review of the quick service based on a test meal before opening here, and then followed that up with a review from opening day, here. At the conclusion of the last review, I stated that I was “iffier than I was expecting on The Polite Pig” and “would return in a couple of weeks to see where we’re at.” So here we are.
Since the previous reviews are “literally” from last month, I won’t spend a lot of time reiterating what The Polite Pig is and isn’t. But the space is very casual and perhaps noisier than you would expect. You’ll place your order at the counter and the food will be delivered. Because of that, they’ll ask about a tip before you finish paying, which could add 10%-20% to the cost of the meal. They do take an Annual Passholder or Cast Member discount for 10% off and unlike what they were saying on day one, the meal is one quick service credit on the Disney Dining Plan.
And considering many entrees ring in at $15 or more, this is an above average use of a credit, at least as far as cash equivalent is concerned.
I’m not sure what the problem is, but nothing I’ve ordered at The Polite Pig has ever been served hot.
Which is strange, considering they seem to be doing everything “right.” As mean as this guy looked through the glass, he’s pulling the brisket, which was just smoked behind him, fresh while you watch. But they must not have the capacity in the small kitchen to keep everything hot until people order it, which could be hours after it’s removed from the smoker.
There have been a couple of cosmetic changes to the menu. What used to be listed under “Beer” is now split up into “Florida Craft Beer” and “Domestic.” They’ve dropped the Oskar Blues selection in favor of Mia Domino Pilsner and the Central 28 Underduck Lager replaces the Cigar City Lager. What was once listed as “Cocktails” is now listed as “Hand-Crafted Cocktails.” And the wineries are now listed along with the varietal.
“Hand-crafted” is perhaps not a misnomer…robots are probably not mixing the drinks. But everything from the wine to the beer to the cocktails is dispensed from a tap.
I’m not sure why you would add “hand-crafted” to the title when those ordering the drinks are “literally” going to watch you pull the lever to dispense your watered-down Old Fashioned.
At these prices, it’s not the worst thing in the world.
And they at least don’t troll you on Twitter.
But the small pitchers, which are also full of ice, hold about four drinks-worth of liquid, so you’re saving some money versus ordering four drinks separately.
The Vodka Lemonade tasted like strawberry lemonade mixed with vodka and had a smooth flavor with just a little bit of the alcohol sneaking past the fruity flavors. I think Polite Pig’s drinks focus on being refreshing at lower prices over some of the higher-end mixology you see at places like Morimoto Asia.
On the food front, I’ve noticed a couple of changes since Polite Pig opened last month.
The “Southern Pig” now accurately states that it’s made with “chopped pork” rather than “pulled pork.”
The “Hop Salt Pretzel” originally looked like this.
And is now more of a plural situation as three smaller pretzels arrive. It may or may not be worth noting that these are baked by a different company and delivered.
St. Louis Ribs with a Layla sweet rub ($19). Add a market side for $4, because why not? Grilled Corn with lime butter and breadcrumbs it is! pic.twitter.com/ffkt0yD2G2
— The DIS (@TheDIS) May 16, 2017
The DIS posted this tweet from a couple of days ago that shows their ribs were presented as a thin rack.
When they were originally served pulled apart. I think the rack is a more impactful presentation.
You can also pick up the BBQ Cracklins for a snack credit on the Dining Plan, which may be worth considering. They have a nice crunchiness to them and a salty, meaty flavor along with the spicy, vinegar-forward barbecue sauce served alongside.
OKAY OKAY I’LL GET ON WITH IT. Geeze. Here we have the $17 Brisket with a Coffee Rub and the Sweet Potato Tots with Parmesan Cheese and Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Whiskey-Caramel Glaze.
I thought it would be prudent to return to a couple of things from last time and then try a couple of new items as well.
One other change is that the entrees are served with a “Sweet Roll” instead of the previous “Texas Toast,” but the brisket is virtually identical to our first experience.
And I’m not sure it’s very good. The mouthfeel is incredibly fatty, even on the pieces that look like they’re mostly meat, and there was virtually no flavor to speak of. That’s incredibly strange considering the meat looks the part, although the portion is far from overwhelming given the price point. The roll was almost like a Hawaiian Roll – nice and fluffy with a touch of sugar. But I can’t recommend what we’ve been served twice now.
I love the Brussels Sprouts that have a really nice crispy quality to them and a sweet, brown sugar glaze that sets them apart from any other sprouts I’ve ever tried. Very good and a “must try” if you decide to visit.
I like the Sweet Potato Tots too – nice and crispy on the outside with a softer interior. The sweetness contrasts nicely against the pinch of cheese and they also dip fabulously into the BBQ Ranch that’s available from the condiment counter.
All told, this was $19 worth of food after substituting a second side for the coleslaw, which is more than the sandwiches cost at Homecomin’ and equal to a lot of entrees on the low-end at the majority of restaurants at Disney Springs.
We tried the $11 Smoked Chicken Wings with BBQ Ranch and Pickled Carrots. They were either overcooked or had been sitting under a heat lamp for too long with meat that took a lot of effort to rip off the bone. Each wing was incredibly dry to the point where you can see the skin trying to clamp down on the meat underneath. Like everything else, they weren’t served hot. The carrots had a severe vinegar flavor that we found off-putting.
I ordered the $15 Salmon BLT with Bacon Jam, Marinated Tomato, Romaine, and Aioli. It’s $4 more for a side and a pickle spear, which makes the sandwiches more expensive than the plated entrees, which seems a bit backwards. The quality of the salmon was exceptionally high with the same, albeit unadvertised, maple-mustard glaze as the $18 entree. The bun was fresh and toasted to a nice crunch and the vegetables were all vibrant and fresh. The bacon jam added a salty, meaty character that contrasted with the sweet and sour flavors from the glaze nicely. But served at room temperature, it still left something to be desired. $15 for “just a sandwich” also seems rough given the atmosphere of the interior and the fact that you have to order from a register yourself, in addition to potentially adding another couple of dollars as a tip.
Below is the menu over at THE BOATHOUSE, which offers picturesque views outside and a casual, yet refined interior space:
For the $20 you’d spend at The Polite Pig for a lukewarm entree and side, you could enjoy several entrees here, including some incredible sandwiches and the very good Dockside Buckets. The $14 Filet Sliders are a tremendous value.
I wrote an extensive review of Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ last month. For the same or less money, you could order any of the sandwiches there.
And I think just about anything at either restaurant would be executed better than what Polite Pig is currently offering. Waits to order are typically short in the afternoon, but may hit 20+ minutes in the evening with only two registers going. With so many more consistent options at Disney Springs, I think Polite Pig is an easy skip in its current state.