Adventures in Dining

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Todd English’s Bluezoo January 13, 2007 June 9, 2007

Filed under: Disney Restaurants — hpandaw @ 8:17 pm

On this trip, we decided to try Bluezoo, Todd English’s restaurant inside the Dolphin Hotel at Disney World, since we’d been hearing good things about it. First, the atmosphere was a bit too “funky” for me. There were lots of neat lighting effects, but I’d expected something a bit quieter & romantic, rather than a super trendy decor.

I don’t eat meat, but will eat seafood (I’m a pescatarian). Now, when you enter Bluezoo, there is a display of the “dancing fish,” several whole fish, bellies slit open, held together by skewers, twirling around in a display. It is extremely off-putting. If I’m about to eat seafood, I don’t want to see entire, slit-open fish twirling around before I place my order. Bleh…

Anyway, we were seated and placed our orders. I decided to order two apps, since I don’t have an enormous appetite. My husband chose an appetizer and an entree.

For my first appetizer, I had the yellowfin tuna tartare, twisted cucumber salad, crispy rock shrimp, orange glaze, and scallion cream. The tuna here was great quality. It tasted very fresh, was not fishy at all, and had a good flavor. However, it was far, far too spicy for my liking. There was nothing in the description that would indicate to me that it was a super spicy food: no peppers, wasabi, etc. listed as ingredients. If I’d enjoyed fiery hot food, I would have enjoyed this dish, but I thought there should be something that warned that this particular dish was mega-spicy.

The cucumber in this dish was very nice; its crispness provided an excellent contrast to the softness of the tuna. I also enjoyed the rock shrimp. While it was a bit greasy, the grease helped to absorb some of the heat, so that the bites with shrimp were bearable.

My husband’s first dish was the teppan seared jumbo sea scallops with braised beef short rib and silky cauliflower puree. He said these were cooked just perfectly, very flavorful on the outside, raw on the inside. They were served a little too cool, though, and should have been warmer. The braised beef short rib was tasty, but was so fatty and greasy that it was difficult to eat. Sometimes it tasted like eating a big gob of fat. This dish was served with a jus that tasted like the braised oxtail jus at V&A’s, and he enjoyed this very much.

My next dish was another appetizer: the Vietnamese crab salad, street vendor style, with melon and mango, aromatic herbs, coconut, and green curry. This was simply awful. Crab meat has such a delicate flavor that it can easily be overwhelmed. In this case, it was paired with a melon/mango mix that tasted like nothing more nor less than a sour pickle relish. It was not designed to bring out the flavor of the crab.

The coconut milk also had a delicate flavor, but the sour relish drowned out every other ingredient. This was a dish that could have been good, but it seemed like the chef tried to throw in a bunch of trendy ingredients rather than worrying about the integrity of those ingredients and how they might pair together/accent each other. I don’t like sour pickles, and this dish was too gross for me. I was a bit peeved that the most expensive item on their app menu turned out to be something so overwhelmingly disappointing.

My husband’s next dish was the seared nori wrapped tuna, served with Tokyo grits, gingered greens, wasabi avocado paint, and a radish hijiki salad. The tuna was extremely rare, as he likes it, but it was odd, because it was very warm, and he’d expected tuna this rare to be cooler. There were grains of sea salt topping this dish, and they were very good: nice and crunchy, and they added a satisfying contrast to the softness of the tuna.

The tuna itself was okay, not great. The Tokyo grits were very odd. They were like polenta, very fine-grained, but they had a sweetness that tasted like honey. Again, it seemed like the chef did not give much thought to effective pairings. The honey did not work well with the tuna – it brought out a fishy taste that was very unappealing.

The gingered greens tasted like spinach, and they overwhelmed the mild tuna flavor. There was an abundance of the greens, and they made every bite taste like spinach. The more delicate flavors did not stand a chance against these greens. The salt was a nice touch; the rareness was a nice touch, but this did not come together as a dish.

We felt like this restaurant tried too hard to be funky and trendy, and, in doing so, sacrificed the good flavors of their dishes. More thought was given to originality of pairings, rather than the actual effectiveness of these pairings. We were disappointed, because we came expecting a high-quality dining experience, and instead found food that was mediocre at best. The ingredients themselves seemed to be of good quality, but they did not work together as dishes.

We were so disappointed in this place that we decided to skip dessert and head back to the Beach Club concierge lounge for dessert & cordials there:


One Response to “Todd English’s Bluezoo January 13, 2007”

  1. Heather, I completely agree with your assessment of Blue Zoo. It could be really great – and some selected dishes are – but some of the other dishes are just trendy for trendy’s sake. A couple of winners on the menu – the Zooberry Martini – wow, I’m not a martini drinker but this was blueberries that have been soaked in premium vodka and then macerated with some lemon zest – this was a totally sippable (gulp-able?) drink. Also, a friend ordered the Cantonese Lobster and it was to die for! Fantastic Asian flavor and perfectly done crispy pieces of lobster – of course it is also the most expensive item on the menu.

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