WDW Dining Reviews – 12/31/15

Laurie brings us her latest dining reviews.  See what she has to say about Coral Reef, Flame Tree, Jock’s and the long awaited Skipper Canteen……

You may be the only person with your set of dietary limitations, but you still matter to Disney. I speak to chefs about issues I see in restaurants. Over time I have seen changes made to restaurants that I will cover today. Special Diets department at WDW and DLR can help you dine with a wider selection of food and beverages. Some diets like soft food are rare but can easily be accommodated by chefs while others are nearly impossible. Now lets see some things that have changed in the past three years.

Coral Reef

I put off my review for later and am happy I did. At the time there were major kitchen errors such as poor knife skills. The manager was running errands for guests instead of managing. IMG_9675[1]The place needed cleaning and the busser was poorly trained. Overall I could not recommend the restaurant as one would have been happier eating at Sunshine Seasons. It was one of my harshest reviews. Over time, I spoke with Kim and other chefs who must have spread the word as Kim’s boss took over the restaurant. The managers manage, bussers know how to set up a table, the place shines, and the food is vastly improved. I can now gladly recommend Coral Reef.

Flame Tree

Early in 2012, I was offered plain ribs and a dry salad. I told the manager that I was disappointed that I had no sides or I would eat there often due to their delicious ribs. I could not eat the beans or the barbecue sauce because of soy. I went back this past December and was in shock. The manager showed me that the beans only have a corn warning. I can now have a gluten and soy free meal without limitations. I can now have ribs, chicken, pulled pork sandwich, turkey sandwich, turkey leg, and beans. I had the most awesome ribs with baked beans that I would eat every week if I could. Not vegan friendly yet. The best thing has to be the watermelon, basil, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette salad. I am so in love with that kind of salad. As you can see, they listened to us guests. 5 STARS

Jock’s The Hangar Bar

I spoke with Bill, the blue badge award winning chef, about the lack of gluten and soy free items. WOW! December I was in Disney Springs researching when I stopped at Jock’s. Chef Bill came out and made my day. I can have Good Dates, plain burger meat sliders with pizza crust, Snack of Ra using Udi’s pizza crust instead of naan bread, Shrimp BLT on pizza crust, kids pizza, and brats. I love the five bratwurst with German mustard, and pickled slaw with tangy pickles. This is now my emergency spot to eat. Cheap and tasty.  There is patio seating and two low barstools which one now has my name and dibs. 5 STARS

Skipper Canteen

Skipper5Last Monday the park was crowded, so I decided to try this new restaurant. Would they offer plain meat, white rice, and dry salad? One needs to know the backstory before entering the home. I may elaborate a wee bit. Imagine young Dr. Falls and his bride leaving Victorian England to save Africans. They arrive on a coastal port where they meet a skipper who takes them deep into the heart of Africa. Over time the men become friends and the skippers take under their care the couple. The couple build an elaborate Victorian home for expatriates and foreigners who need civilization. A few of the skippers are experienced home cooks or chefs, who like other skippers, use their skills to help the Doctor entertain guests. In time, the Doctor and his wife die with a will leaving everything to the skippers. As you walk into the home you will see the mess hall that once must have had elegant balls. Upstairs are offices for the skippers. Through the bookcase you enter a private area for a secret club. Your hostess goes into great deal and points out the butterfly booth. I could go on and on about the books, artwork, architecture, comfortable seating, and carpets.

Skipper2They handed me a huge special diets menu that looked like a dossier. The main issue was not gluten but the soy. Chef Matt and I decided on the fish collar and green papaya salad, bread, and arepas with Monkey Bites. $11 for the fish collar was more than enough for a meal. It reminds me of a chop instead of the usual fish filets. This was pure fish broiled until the skin was crispy. SkipperThis was one of the strangest and best fish dishes I have ever had. The green papaya and carrot salad was a bit spicy, tangy, and crunchy. I was very happy with that dish and would eat it again. The fenugreek honey was not enough as it was so delicious I wanted a whole pot of it. The arepas came with tostones which are a corn cake that is very soft and doughy in the middle. The idea is to fill the tostones with the savory beef. There was a salsa, a couple leaves of cilantro, black beans, and queso freso. I would prefer wrapping this up in a corn tortilla. Overall an excellent dish worth eating again. The savory beef with the salsa and queso freso was a perfect bite.

The grand finale came from the kid menu. Monkey Bites are two inch sections of banana dipped in chocolate, M&M style sunflower seeds, pistachio spongecake, and whipped cream. Skipper4The fake spongecake tasted like real spongecake. This is one of the best desserts in all of WDW. This was one of the best meals and at $27 it was a cheap and filling meal.

In summation, I highly recommend the Skipper Canteen. Disabled guests and special diets guests will find what they need. They even have Halal lamb. They have a wide variety of vegan dishes and can custom make dishes for guests with difficult diets. They offer steak and fish for those not into foreign cuisine. They can take from the kid menu some red potatoes to a make a meat and taters dish. They offer curry stew, rice noodle bowls, steak salad, lamb chops, and pork tenderloin with most accompanied with fresh vegetables and rice. The menu is rather tight which means chefs become familiar with a few dishes instead of trying to remember a wide variety of dishes. Monkey Bites is the best dessert but I have heard the cakes are delicious. The best appetizer in WDW may be the fish collar but they also have shu mai, hot and sour soup, and a salad. I will be back many more times. BEST NEW RESTAURANT 2015