Adventures in Dining

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Artist Point March 20, 2007 June 9, 2007

Filed under: Disney Restaurants — hpandaw @ 8:48 pm

We had dinner at Artist Point, a table service restaurant located inside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, with a business casual dress code. Our reservations were for 6:30 pm, and our party included four adults. Of the four of us, my husband and I are pescatarians (will eat seafood but not meat), and my mother and father in law will eat meat.

We were seated quickly, and our server Jim was EXCELLENT. His pacing was great; he was friendly and personable without being pushy or obtrusive.

Jim said that the chef recommended the Braised Penn Cove Mussels with Fennel and Grilled Sourdough Toast. The mussels were fresh that day, so that is what my husband ordered.

He said that the mussels were good; the best part was the broth and the bread that went with it. It was a little too fennel-y for me (I’m not a fennel fan), but he enjoyed it very much. The mussels were very well cooked. They were not overcooked at all, and he even had one that was slightly undercooked, which was unusual for mussels. He could not finish the broth, though, because the fennel became too overpowering as he ate.

I started with the Smoky Portobello Soup with Roasted Shiitakes and Chive Oil. This was GREAT, and my favorite thing of the night. I couldn’t believe there was no smoked gouda in this dish, as it tasted very much like smoked gouda. It was thick, creamy, and rich, but not so rich that I couldn’t finish the entire bowl! The croutons in here were excellent; the crunchy texture contrasted nicely with the creaminess of the soup.

My father in law chose to get the prix fixe menu, the Chef’s Northwest Selection, and for his appetizer he chose the Fresh Field Greens – Roasted Beets, Hazelnut Gremolata, Crater Lake Blue Cheese, Blackberry Vinaigrette. The salad was good; the dressing was light, not overpowering. There wasn’t a lot of dressing, so the lettuce wasn’t drowned. He would have liked more nuts in this, for the crunchy texture, but it was a very good salad.

My mother and father in law also split the plate of artisanal cheeses for their appetizer. Sadly, we cannot remember the names (we don’t think we were actually told them). There was a blue cheese, which had a bit too much of an ammonia taste for me. I am a fan of some blue cheeses, but I like them to taste more like an animal and less like amonia. There was an aged cheddar, which was quite mild and enjoyable, and my favorite was a hard cheese made from goat’s milk. It was very goat-y, just the way I like it

For our entrees, my husband ordered the Pan-seared Scallops with parsnip apple puree, and shiitake shallot ragout. He didn’t terribly care for the puree. It was interesting but not his cup of tea, because it was a little too sweet for him. The scallops themselves were well-cooked, though just a bit overcooked. They were well-seared and well-seasoned, and they were large.

I had the Potato Chive Pot Stickers with edamame, Swiss chard, mizuna and soy vinaigrette. These were okay, and they actually grew on me as I ate them. My first impression were that they strongly lacked flavor, beyond the flavor of oil from the very oily dumpling wrappers. The server had warned us that they were spicy, so I was nervous about ordering them. I don’t tolerate heat very well, but these were not hot at all. The wrapper was very thick, and it overwhelmed the potatoes inside. Potatoes are not extremely flavorful to begin with, so I thought they were a poor choice to pair with the thick, oily dumpling wrappers. I noticed that portions were not as large as they used to be. In the past, I could never have cleaned my plate with an appetizer, entree, and dessert, but the portions are much smaller and more manageable for me now.

My mother in law ordered the Hatfield Pork Chop on Tillamook Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Maytag Crust. She said it was very good, not overdone, so it was thick, juicy, and tender. She is not a big sauce person, and this was not too sauced. The mac & cheese had a nice blue cheese crust, and she thought it was very cheesy and tasty.

My father in law ordered the Grilled Buffalo Sirloin Steak – with sweet potato-hazelnut gratin and sweet onion jam. He said it was very good. The buffalo was cooked just right. He wished that the onion jam had been served on the side, because it made the buffalo too sweet. The potatoes were fine: not outstanding, but he did like the hazelnut crunch.
Sadly, we did not take a picture of this.

My father in law’s dessert was the Artist Point Cobbler – Seasonal berries and housemade black raspberry ice cream. Again, this was much smaller than it used to be. He had it before, and he didn’t know what he was expecting, but it was just a bunch of berries in a pastry crust, for all intents & purposes. The pastry crust was fine, but the berries were very tart, and he wanted some sweetness. The berries were a nice size, but overall, he felt disappointed in this dish.

My mother in law had the Coffee Two Ways – Mochaccino bread pudding and vanilla latte creme brulee. The creme brulee had more coffee flavor than the bread pudding. She really likes coffee flavor; the cappuccino gelato at Portabello Yacht Club is one of her favorite desserts. The bread pudding was more like a mini bundt cake than a bread pudding, but it was very moist, warm, chocolatey, and flavorful. She wished that it had had more coffee flavor, but I (who am not a fan of coffee desserts) wished it had had less coffee flavor! So if you really like coffee, you will probably find this lacking in coffee flavor, and if you don’t care for coffee, it might overpower you.

My husband had the artisanal cheese plate for his dessert, and I, on the recommendation of our server, had the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Spiced Poached Pears, Chocolate Bourbon Ice Cream and Raspberry Sauce . This was bone, bone dry. I didn’t enjoy the cake at all; I wished that it had had more raspberry sauce, or something to moisten it and add flavor. I ate it with the ice cream, and it was still far too dry. In retrospect, I don’t know what I should have ordered, because none of the desserts appealed to me.

Overall, we had a good time. The service was excellent and the food, with some exceptions, was enjoyable. The atmosphere was quiet and pleasant; there was a family with small children by us, but they were not loud or bothersome in any way. It would have made a nice romantic dinner, due to the low noise volume. There was a manager circulating, but she did not once approach us or other tables. We were disappointed by this, since we expect that from a more upscale restaurant. By Disney restaurant standards (Victoria & Albert’s excepted), though, this was an exceptional evening.

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