I’m not sure if this is fortunate or unfortunate framing as it appears DiVine is sporting a bamboo tail with a lamp at the end.
With Pandora opening the door to alien life and four Avatar sequels now with “firm” release dates, anything seems possible.
This review is from the afternoon of April 20, 2k17.
Yak & Yeti is a table service restaurant offering conditioned air, fine food, and drinks located in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom in between the Flights of Wonder theater and the walkway towards Maharajah Jungle Trek and Kali River Rapids.
The quick service arm is located outside to the right – I’ll cover a couple recent visits with reviews of the Honey Chicken and Korean BBQ Ribs at the end of this post.
The restaurant is operated by Landry’s, which is the same company behind Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex, in addition to Bubba Gump, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Claim Jumper, and others.
Thematically, Yak & Yeti may be the most underappreciated restaurant on property.
The host/hostess should tell you that all of the artifacts around the restaurant are “authentic” and sourced from throughout Asia.
And while the restaurant is usually crowded, and the atmosphere is best described as “lively,” the two floors are broken up into separate rooms that “feel” intimate and separated from the hustle and bustle of everything that’s going on.
If you’re a party of one or two, I suggest requesting a table on the first floor or a window table on the second floor or you’re liable to be seated at one of the tables that line the stairwell.
And while these tables aren’t “bad” per se, they’re along the main thoroughfare into the various rooms and there isn’t a whole lot to look at compared to some other locations around the restaurant. The tables along the windows on the second floor are particularly scenic.
Larger: https://i2.wp.com/easywdw.com/reports13/yak_yeti_menu_spring_2017.jpg or directly from the Landry’s site: http://www.yakandyetirestaurant.com/menu.asp.
Pricing here remains relatively reasonable with a number of entrees coming in at $20 or less, including several Wok selections, in addition to the Lo Mein and a couple of burgers. Prices also aren’t up a whole lot in recent memory. The Crispy Honey Chicken is up just a buck compared to the price four years ago. The Kobe Burger is up $1.50. The Wonton Soup is up 50 cents. So we’re not seeing the price surges that have plagued a number of Disney restaurants that we’ve been covering over the last couple of weeks.
And I like that $5.49 “Wonton Soup – Pork wontons, clear chicken broth & vegetables,” which arrives with three piping hot dumplings in a flavorful broth. The crispy wonton strips provide a nice textural contrast and are kind of fun to dip in the soup on occasion. A nice way to start a meal for not a whole lot of money.
I’ve also enjoyed the $9.99 “Wok-Fried Green Beans – Battered green beans, sweet Thai chili dipping sauce” in the past, with a ton of really crispy, fresh green beans served alongside an addictive sweet and spicy sauce. Very shareable.
This time, we went with the $14.99 “Dim Sum Basket – Pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su bao and pork siu mai steamed on a banana leaf, soy lime dipping sauce,” which is served in this precious bamboo box.
And while I had heard good things, the basket largely fell flat. Nothing was particularly hot and if I was going to describe just about anything in the basket, I’d use the word “gummy,” which is not typically a word you want associated with food that isn’t in the shape of bears.
The Cha Su Bao, or, “Steamed BBQ Pork Buns,” were incredibly dry with a paltry amount of pork with no nuance to the flavor profile whatsoever – just stale soy and sugar. I feel like they need to be watered in order to grow or something.
Nothing else was memorable. The pot stickers were as cold as they were bland. The pork and shrimp siu mai weren’t distinguishable from each other on flavor and both seemed to suffer from an unfortunate crunch to the outside and a mushy interior. I’m willing to chalk it up to bad luck, but I’m not sure the portion size makes this a tremendous value even if everything tasted great. There’s two of each thing for a total of eight small pieces. You could cut things in half to share, but otherwise parties of 3+ will have to do some picking and choosing. And there may be no winners. As we’ll see shortly, entree portions are so large that a hefty appetizer may be unnecessary, but sharing can be a fun way to sample a variety of flavors without being burdened with a gluttonous amount of one thing.
Cocktails are $10, which is on the merciful side of the spectrum:
There isn’t a tremendous amount of variety with a third of the selections being rum-based.
An example of the $9.99 “Big Bamboo – Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Don Q Cristal Rum, Banana Liqueur, and Tropical Fruit Juices.” And while the refreshing cocktails don’t typically pack much of a punch, they are served in large volume. This is a tall glass of a very fruity cocktail with some banana and coconut notes as you would expect, all of which are immediately washed away by what is probably mostly pineapple juice.
This time, I ordered the $9.99 “Dalacini Mine Cart – Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, Disaronno, and Lemonade with Monin Desert Pear Syrup.” This seems to continue a trend where restaurants don’t change the name of the item, but change all of the ingredients. The Mine Cart used to be Skyy-Vodka-based with Banana Liqueur and Blue Curacao. This is very much not that. But I was again impressed by the versatility of the Fireball, which offered a pronounced cinnamon kick that was quickly mellowed by the tart lemonade and the subtle, earthy flavor of the desert pear that’s sweetened up with pure cane sugar. Surprisingly refreshing and quite sizable, even if it doesn’t necessarily pack a concentrated punch.
Currently, the drinks are available in a “Buddha Cup” for “just” $7 more.
In addition to being a prized ceramic vessel, it does a nice job of summing up Disney Twitter in one statue. No matter who you tweet at, this is the essence of who you’re talking to.
We ordered ours with the $9.99 “Yak Attack – Don Q Cristal Rum, Mango Daiquri, layered with Tropics Wildberry Puree.” I think the current iteration is an improvement over the previous, which was overwhelmingly sweet to the point where it was difficult to drink. Today’s version offers a much more pleasing, thinner consistency that still offers a burst of tropical flavors, but is much more refreshing than Diabeetus-inducing. It at least “feels” like the drink portion is smaller in the Buddha, so you might ask if the drink can be served in a regular cup or ask about adding the souvenir at the end of the meal. They bring you a fresh Buddha nicely packaged after you’ve finished, so you don’t have to walk around all sticky-icky.
Draft Beer is also available, in addition to some bottle choices. The Funky Buddha draft is a standout value in the 22-ounce size, where it’s also eight cents per-ounce less than the 16-ounce size. If you’re not sure you want to commit to the 22-ounce, just tweet me and I’ll scamper over from Nomad Lounge and finish it off for you.
Wine and sake are also available.
And non-alcoholic options.
Can you say it’s from the peaks of Mt. Everest if it’s not from the peaks of Mt. Everest? Why doesn’t Beringer White Zinfandel say it’s from Champagne, France? Either way, Amanda is tres presh.
A seasonal menu that I hadn’t seen advertised anywhere else was delivered to the table along with all of the other various menu pages as we were seated. It’s nice to see the option to order fresh fish prepared in a variety of ways with additional topping choices. You can rest assured that whatever you order is going to be prepared to order, unlike a lot of Disney restaurants that only offer six or seven entrees that they’re continuously churning out whether anyone has ordered them or not.
Some additional entrees enclosed.
Tom ordered the $19 “Sriracha Seafood Mac & Cheese – Shrimp, Scallops, Havarti Cheese, and Sriracha Sauce topped with Toasted Parmesan Panko Breadcrumbs.”
This exceeded expectations on all fronts – including portion size, which we were already anticipating to be overwhelming. The macaroni was cooked to a nice al dente and held up nicely against the incredibly creamy, rich, buttery cheese. The amount of Sriracha was just right – enough to offer a nice tang, but not so much to overwhelm the natural flavor of the plentiful seafood, which seemed to be present in every bite. The breadcrumbs on top added a nice little crunch and helped soak up some more of the cheese and crunchy vegetables. I love Tiffins for the subtlety and variety of flavors, but it’s hard not to see value in comfort food like this in its own right. Really good.
I didn’t do a very good job of capturing the immense size of the $19 “Korean Fried Chicken & Waffle – Hand Battered Chicken, Buttermilk Waffle, Gochujang Maple Syrup, Kimchi Slaw.” But that is not a small bowl of slaw to the right and the fried chicken cutlets are piled on top of each other with each nearly spanning the entire waffle. You could easily share this among just about any two adults and still leave stuffed, particularly with a shareable appetizer to start. The chicken was otherwise crispy with a juicy interior that really “felt” like it had just been tossed with the flour, buttermilk, and spices and freshly fried to a golden brown.
The waffle underneath had a crispy exterior and a nice pillow-y interior, which helped soak up the viscous syrup, which had just a touch of salty spice from the Korean chili paste. A real winner on flavor, and again, a huge portion. Like 25 Disney chicken nuggets worth of meat.
Nothing about either meal is anywhere close to bordering on authentic, but that might be okay. I thought the Kimchi Slaw was more palatable than offerings I had recently tried at Morimoto Asia and Nine Dragons. There was just a little bit of vinegar and the sweetness from the variety of crunchy vegetables contrasted really nicely against it. I had no problem finishing the bowl.
Overall, Yak & Yeti remains a great option for those that don’t want to leave the Park and aren’t interested in a more expensive, froufrou meal at Tiffins. Don’t get me wrong – Tiffins is my favorite theme park restaurant, but I’m not always in the mood for a $47 lamb chop. Yak & Yeti offers a much more boisterous atmosphere with food that should be pleasing at prices that aren’t atrocious. On the downside for some, the restaurant does not accept Tables in Wonderland and Annual Passholders only receive 10% off of entrees.
With that unfortunate amount of positivity out of the way, I have been less enthusiastic about my last few visits to the quick service next door, which currently sports this menu:
You can pull up my full rant on how meaningless “Amr. Kobe” is here.
But suffice it to say that the phrase translates to “below average fifteen dollar hamburger.” But just because something is on the menu doesn’t mean that it has to be ordered. And I just spent some amount of time praising chicken and waffles at what’s supposed to be an Asian restaurant.
Food here has always been somewhere on the fast food Chinese spectrum, comparatively speaking, whether you want to put it a little above or a little below Panda Express or Mongolian Wok.
Currently, I’d put it on par at best. This is what 11 bucks worth of “Honey Chicken – Tempura Chicken, Carrots, Snap Peas, Honey Sauce, and White Rice” looks like. It’s less chicken than you’d get with Disney’s 8-piece nuggets, and nothing about it is particularly fresh, with the chicken fried long ago and the sauce added not long after, making for a mushy bite with a generic sweetness.
It’s a shame because for a time, they really had it going with high quality crispy chicken and a flavorful sauce, served in those fun takeout containers with the Yak & Yeti branding. But now it’s just a black takeout container with below average food. Disappointing. The portion of Honey Chicken inside the restaurant is larger and more flavorful for $8 more.
“6-Month Chef Special” would probably be more accurate than daily, but they do offer these $13 “Korean BBQ Rib Tips – Tender smoked pork rib tips slathered with our chef’s own Korean BBQ Sauce. Accompanied with french fries.”
My expectations were devastatingly low and I guess they were met. At a minimum, it was a lot of food. The “ribs” are mostly boneless and if you can get past the fat, gristly mouthfeel, and off-puttingly sweet flavor, about 98% edible. The fries are better than Disney’s standard fried potato, in my opinion – meaty and with a little bit of a zesty Old Bay vibe.
So my advice would be to strongly consider budgeting a little extra time and money to enjoy a superior meal in a relaxed setting at the conditioned air restaurant. On the other hand, there are better quick service options available at Flame Tree Barbecue, Harambe Market, and potentially Satu’li Canteen with Pandora opening in just over a month. So it’s not like these are your only two options. We’ll see what the landscape looks like late next month.