After taking an extensive look at lunch at one of Disney’s best new restaurants, we’ll pop over to Yak & Yeti to see if we can find out what constitutes an American Kobe Beef Hot Dog. The majority of these pictures are from Sunday July 17th with an occasional throwback to July 10th and even more rarely July 9th.
Construction continues on Pandora – The World of Avatar, a project that was announced out of nowhere all the way back on September 20th, 2011. The current year is 2016.
While Tiffins/Nomad Lounge are woefully unpopular at the moment, probably in part due to the fact that both are located at what is currently a dead end.
This will someday be along the main thoroughfare into an imaginary(?) alien world.
There’s still not a whole lot you can see over the walls, though what is visible is tall and impressive-looking at a distance. Hopefully some new aerial shots will materialize.
Otherwise, the biggest news coming out of Animal Kingdom is undoubtedly the addition of a hot dog and cheeseburger at Yak & Yeti quick service:
“American Kobe Beef” is of course completely meaningless here. Or it means as much as me calling this an American Kobe Website. There is otherwise a great deal of legal wrangling over what Kobe means as producers from the Hyogo Prefecture region of Japan attempt to secure a “geographic indication label” similar to what the Comité Champagne was able to secure on behalf of Champagne, France just over a decade ago. That’s why the least expensive bottle of champagne at the local Total Wine will run you $30 while a bottle of Andre Brut is $3.99. But even then, there are loopholes. Andre Brut still puts “California Champagne” front and center on its labels because it had used that name prior to the March 10th, 2006 cutoff as stipulated here. Sparkling wine produced elsewhere is going to be sparkling wine or prosecco or cava or what have you, even if they would like to market themselves as champagne for the positive connotation. So perhaps Yak & Yeti is attempting to use “American Kobe” in perpetuity by slapping it in front of their $14 hot dog on the menu because Hyogo is granted its own designation.
Otherwise, the two new items replace the Korean Stir-Fry Barbecue Chicken pictured above, which was not all that good in the first place.
Hamburgers at Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes, a quaint countryside sanctuary set in the heart of the Himalayan Mountains, make no thematic sense whatsoever of course. But as V explains so succinctly in V For Vendetta, if we are looking for those to blame, we need only look into a mirror. But the good news is perhaps that the $14.99 American Kobe Beef Cheeseburger served with American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Asian Pickles and French Fries isn’t completely terrible.
Landry’s, a company that operates everything from Rainforest Cafe to Morton’s The Steakhouse to Bubba Gump to Claim Jumper to Yak & Yeti Restaurant realized that they were losing business to those hunting down burgers at Restaurantosaurus.
And if adding burgers and hot dogs makes it possible for more people to enjoy Yak & Yeti or eliminates the need for dad to hunt down a hot dog in DinoLand while the rest of the family waits in line for Honey Chicken in Asia, then that all seems positive. What I have more trouble getting behind is the blatant misrepresentation of what’s being offered by calling it “American Kobe” and the upcharge that it brings along with it.
The burger is 50% more expensive than other entrees for what is just a regular old frozen hamburger patty that’s even less substantial than Disney’s own quick service burgers. It’s literally just a larger version of the kids’ cheeseburger that they’ve served for years.
So while Landry’s can get away with calling it American Kobe, just keep in mind that it translates here to Average (at best) Quality. If you’re after a burger, consider heading to Restaurantosaurus for the expansive toppings bar. You’ll pay less money too. And it’s air-conditioned. And there are dinosaurs. And fountain drinks are refillable.
We also sampled the $13.99 American Kobe Beef Hot Dog served on a Brioche Bun with French Fries and your choice of toppings: Plain, Banh Mi, or Kimchi. Upon ordering, the cast member neglected to ask if I wanted it any way other than plain and I forgot to mention that I wanted it topped with whatever was most bloggable. The hot dog, which is not really served on a “brioche bun” as far as I could tell, is even more sad-looking without the “kimchi” topping, which is more akin to a handful of what you’d pull out of a bag of Fresh Express salad mix with a bit of vinegar added. There is nothing “kimchi” about it at all.
But again, this is our fault. Nobody that orders this hot dog is going to want fermented vegetables that have been stored underground for months spread on top.
So we receive a polish sausage topped with salad. Again, it’s not completely terrible. The dog itself has a decent snap to each bite and “picky eaters” will have another option here in a hot dog that is much more plain than the $14 price tag might insinuate.
And it is perhaps worth noting that Yak & Yeti has called the burger that they serve inside their sit-down restaurant a “Kobe Beef Burger” – 10 oz. grilled American Kobe beef burger, sesame-soy mayonnaise, and crispy shoestring fries topped with choice of shiitake mushrooms and scallion compote or Asian slaw for years and years. And it’s actually one of the better burgers on property and not a bad value at $20 all things considered.
The fries served with the quick service entrees arrive with a nice seasoning that actually elevates them above most Disney quick services, I think. Though I would have preferred them to be a little crispier.
tl;dr (too long didn’t read): Yak & Yeti has hot dogs and cheeseburgers now and it’s all our fault and they taste okay but they are at least $5 overpriced each.
After something like 487 consecutive days, the limited time only(!!) daily chef special changed from Chicken Curry to Korean BBQ Rib Tips also served with an authentic side of french fries.
Somewhat concerned that we were going to die of hunger after throwing away 95% of the burger and hot dog, I revisited the $5.99 side of two pork egg rolls. You could do a lot worse for your money, but I’m not sure that these previously-frozen, fried-in-large-batches egg rolls necessitate a purchase alongside an entree. They are a decent snack though and if you would prefer to share an entree, would help add some heft to your meal for just three bucks each.
The $3.99 Chicken Fried Rice on the other hand is a terrific value – flavorful and served in a large, fun carton.
Overall, Yak & Yeti adds a couple of entrees that are probably going to sell very well and in turn potentially make it easier for families to eat here without having to make a stop elsewhere. As a society, should we demand better? Probably, but I’m not sure if the Yak & Yeti hamburger situation is where I’m going to make my final stand. The world ends November 8th anyway. I don’t even know why they are still building Avatar other than maybe it will add a couple new PokeStops, thereby increasing attendance more than any billion dollar attractions could. Star Wars Land is off guys – replaced with the potential to catch a Vaporeon. *the crowd goes wild*
Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages is located around the corner from the quick service. Here’s that menu:
It is sort of a “hidden gem” on the beer front as the Funky Buddha Florida Hefeweizen comes in a 16-ounce cup on draft for less than you’d pay for a 12-ounce bottle up the road at Thirsty River. The line is also usually no more than three people long, so it is often a quicker experience than waiting in the main quick service line so long as you’re ordering items that are offered here. But one other thing of note is that they now offer turkey legs, though they are different than the ones Disney sells. I will order one the next time I am in the mood to throw $15 away. Probably tomorrow.
Next up we’ll check out what else is going on around the Park, pick up a lotus blossom popcorn bucket and see what other souvenir vessels that might be available, and potentially consider (the incredibly low) summer crowds in June and early July compared to the (much higher crowds) in the middle of July.