We continue from Decadent Delights.
Refreshment Port continues its recent tradition of offering a unique item or two at whatever EPCOT’s seasonal festival happens to be.
For this year’s Festival of the Arts, we have Lobster Poutine replacing the Lobster Nachos that we’ve seen in the past:
Don’t tell the Canadians about this. Only one thing upsets them. And it’s when their poutine isn’t served with the traditional toppings of brown gravy and cheese curds. Perhaps next year, they’ll serve “Traditional Poutine” and “Not Traditional Poutine.” I don’t know if our neighbors up north write strongly-worded letters or not, but Disney is about to find out.
Here’s my previous review of the potato-chip-based option with the same toppings:
Lobster Chips: House-made Chips, Lobster, Lobster Bisque Cheese Sauce, Pickled Jalapeños and Citrus Cream – $10.50
This is a relatively sizable plate of of thick, crunchy, salty chips topped with quite a bit of chunky Lobster Meat. The Lobster Bisque Cheese Sauce is exactly that – rich, decadent, and cheesy with a pleasant, creamy lobster flavor. The Pickled Jalapenos are legitimately spicy, and while there aren’t a ton of them, they do a nice job of bringing the fire to a couple of bites. There are also a few slices of milder Red Pepper along with a little bit of the cool, zesty Citrus Cream to round things out. Last year, I compared the dish to something you’d pick up at your local Crab Shack, but I think the sheer amount of lobster involved elevates these higher than what you’d receive at your typical chain restaurant. It’s not nearly as uppity as a lot of the dishes that we’ll see around the Festival, but it sure is satisfying. On the downside, the cost is up $1.51 in price over last year, when the same dish cost $8.99.
And for this year:
Lobster Poutine: Lobster, Lobster Bisque Cheese Sauce, Pickled Jalapeños, and Citrus Cream – $10.50
This is basically the same idea, using Disney’s standard, softer french fry as the base instead of the crunchier potato chip. The dish ends up being heartier because of it – there are a lot more french fries than there were potato chips. But I’m not sure it comes together quite as well as the toppings are insufficient given the sheer number of lightly-salted, fairly limp fries underneath. Or, on the other hand, you’re receiving more calories for the money, which may be a good thing if it saves you from spending $50 on a pizza for one at Via Napoli and then proudly showing the receipt with no tip circled on social media. Overall, I’m not sure where I come down on these. There are 12 to 14 great bites with the same flavors as described above, and then several dozen plain french fries to do something else with after you’ve exceeded your lobster allotment. The large portion is also a bit of a departure from most Festival dishes, where the samples are smaller with more emphasis on detail and culinary pizazz. I’d probably skip them unless you’re sharing the dish among four or five people. The fries are filling and it’s going to make you a little less enthusiastic about trying the delicious dishes ahead at The Masterpiece Kitchen. On the other hand, if you’re tired of paying $9 for an eighth of a grilled cheese sandwich, you may revel in the opportunity to go big with your boat of fries. Certainly, if you have to pick up lobster at the Festival, this is a smarter buy than what you’ll find in Italy.
That’s 15 bucks up in the Old World. Really.
As far as what’s served at Refreshment Port this year:
Taste: 8/10 on the properly-covered potatoes
Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc – $12
We’ve seen this particular wine on past menus at fancy restaurants, so one does wonder what it’s doing at Epcot’s french fry stand:
Here it is on California Grill’s list circa 2013, when it cost $90 a bottle. That probably means the price is $400,000 just to look in its general direction of the label now.
The Spottswoode is an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, rich and textured with a delicious, fruity nose with pear, peach, and nectarine notes. It’s easily in the top five best wines served at the Festival, and pairs beautifully with the seafood-y richness of the Lobster Poutine. (Sorry again, Canada.)
Barrel of Monks Brewing Raspberry Beret – $9.50
Boca Raton may not be where I traditionally look first for my Belgian Ales, but the brewery brings a nice, refreshing, fruity option this year. There’s definitely a little Belgian witbier going on in there, but the primary flavors are citrus and coriander with a crisp, tart finish. It’s not nearly as sweet or as fruity as some of the previous offerings, which means it won’t overpower whatever else you’re eating with sugar and artificial syrup. You might give it a shot because it’s unlikely you’ll find it elsewhere. In fact, this may be it.
Overall, Refreshment Port brings a filling dish with the Lobster Poutine (sorry Canada) and a couple of above-average alcoholic options. It’s a fairly solid year for a kiosk that used to have trouble mixing vanilla soft serve. So they have come a long way. On the other hand, one wonders if you want to trust someone who hasn’t quite mastered vanilla soft serve with a $10+ plate of seafood fries. Live life on the wild side, I always say.