Written by Joe Lane
Published: June 15, 2004 at 5:32 AM
I'm no food critic. I know what I like and I eat what I like, but when it comes to discussing the taste, texture or presentation of a meal, I fall rather short of reviews written by professionally paid journalists. So when it was suggested earlier this year that I try to offer a couple of restaurant reviews, I was intimidated to say the least. One of my first (and few) offerings talked about The Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney, which I enjoyed and gave an outstanding rating in response.
Naturally, people tend to disagree. Our own Robert Niles thought the RFC was "like "It's Tough to Be a Bug," with its interesting, detailed queue and theater--leading up to a lousy, unimaginative show. A theme restaurant with mediocre food's just as disappointing in my book." He mentioned the Mythos at Islands of Adventure, saying they had an exceedingly better cuisine. I myself had previously been to Mythos once before and had been rather disappointed with my meal, but I chalked that up to having an unsophisticated palette--being a college student, you tend to develop a taste for fast-food, as that's all you can afford on a daily basis. Plus, the fact that Mythos was rated number one for 2003 told me perhaps my experience had been an unusual one.
So I made a deal with Robert (although he may not remember it). I'll go back to Mythos and he'll go back to RFC and we'll give 'em a second try. It took me nearly six months, but I finally worked in a meal at the restaurant this past weekend. I'm proud to present my first official review of the restaurant and I must say, despite the saying about first impressions, I think second time around was much better.
I arrived roughly about 12:45 in the afternoon and was seated immediately. One of the first things you notice about Mythos is the theme. The restaurant is built in a giant mountain in The Lost Continent of IOA, across from Poseidon's Fury and just beyond the entrance to Seuss Landing. The outside of the crag features a few ominous faces. Inside, the walls and ceiling have the appearance of being worn away by water, making a nice look of an underground water cavern, but with plenty of light. Large crystals provide additional lighting, and the floor is decorated with tile artwork. There's even a small waterfall and a little stream in the middle of the dining hall.
My waitress did her job very well--she was cheerful and friendly and helpful in suggesting menu items--like the Cedar Planked Bay of Fundy Salmon. I passed on the fish, however, because I'm not that big of a seafood fan. I also forced myself to avoid selecting one of the pastas or the Mythos Hamburger--my goal was to try and choose something I wouldn't usually order, but something I knew I could eat and still enjoy. I decided on a starter of Creamy Mushroom Soup and the Grilled Chicken Club.
The soup tasted of mushrooms, hence the name, but it wasn't overpowering. It had a pleasant taste--the cream of the soup consisted of tiny pieces of mushroom, and it was topped with a mushroom foam, which I was apprehensive about eating at first, but found it to be just as good as the rest of the soup. It went well with the bread that was served--a new multi-grain bread that the restaurant recently started serving and the taste was rich and easy to chew.
The Chicken Club was topped with applewood bacon and ranch dressing. It also had an interesting combination of a yellow tomato slice along with the red tomato slice. This reminded me of the Tomato Salad I had ordered months ago during my first visit--which I had been grossly disappointed with. But what I didn't know then was that taste and texture varies little between colors of the vegetable. The bread was moderately toasted, the chicken wasn't too dry and wasn't too juicy and the bacon really added to the sandwich with its smoked flavor. The fries served along with it were of the shoestring variety. I prefer beefier fries, but these managed to have a pleasing taste and texture despite their similar look.
The soup cost $4.75. The club, $10.25. Along with a $2.25 Coke (with free refills), plus tax, the total ran up to $18.38. This is sans a dessert item, which would run anywhere from $5 to $7 dollars per item, making this meal just a tad bit cheaper than a starter, main course, and dessert from RFC--and as we all know, cheaper IS more attractive. But what really sets Mythos apart is the caliber of quality in the food. The skill of the chef shows in how an everyday meal like a chicken sandwich can find enhancement through culinary craft, and this is what gives Mythos that extra inch above RFC.
So, when it's all said and done, Mythos certainly lives up to the hype. It's no wonder the restaurant was voted number one by folks. Whether it will retain the title in this year's 2004 Theme Park Insider Awards is yet to be known, but regardless of the outcome, Mythos will remain a must-eat restaurant. Until next week, folks, keep on ridin'.