Theme park restaurant review: Disneyland's Cafe Orleans
Published: October 26, 2009 at 9:48 AM
First up: a lunch review. We ate at New Orleans Square's Cafe Orleans, which after years as a slide-tray cafeteria now serves as the table-service go-to destination for Disneyland's renowned Monte Cristo sandwich.
So, of course we ordered one.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Without the NFL, Disneyland is what people in Los Angeles and Orange Counties do on Sundays in the fall. Disneyland was using queues yesterday that I haven't seen filled in years. The park was packed. We waited 30 minutes for a table at Cafe Orleans, shortly after noon - our longest line of the day. (We FastPassed the two special Halloween attractions: Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday.)
As we looked over the menu, just outside the front door, Natalie inhaled as a hungry look came over her face.
"What's that smell?" she asked.
Scanning the menu, I replied: It's the garlic in the french fries.
"We have GOT to get that."
So, 30 minutes later, when we were seated, we did.
Natalie and I tore into them right away. Tangy but not fiery, the garlic added flavor to the crispy fries without overpowering them. And at $5, they ended up being nearly free once I applied my annual pass discount to the meal.
The kids split the $16 Monte Cristo (six bucks cheaper than across the way at the Blue Bayou), and still couldn't finish it. They barely made their way through one piece of the sandwich, each. Then they pulled the ham and turkey from the other pieces, finishing the meat by itself. They left the remaining hunks of fried bread and cheese on their plates.
I can't blame them. This sandwich is rich, a calorie- and fat-laden bomb of tasty goodness that drives most palates into submission after a few bites. Incredibly, Disney offers a non-meat version of the Monte Cristo, filled instead with Swiss, mozzarella and double-creme Brie cheeses.
Just stick a needle in my vein and inject the fat, please.
Trying to be a good boy, I opted for the $16 Crescent City Salmon Salad, a mix of spinach and baby greens, topped with seared Atlantic salmon and an orange vinaigrette.
I love salmon and salads, and the fish and greens here did not disappoint. Too bad the vinaigrette drowned them in citrusy sweetness. The dressing was so overpowering that I found myself loading the accompanying candied pecans on my fork to cut the sweetness.
Next time, I think I might try one of the crepes, either the Seafood Herb crepe, in a Mornay sauce, or the Chicken Gumbo crepe, with chicken, sausage and ham. Frankly, I can't bring the concepts "crepe" and "gumbo" together in my mind, so I'm curious to see how that dish comes off.
With a birthday cake waiting at home, we skipped the desserts. But the kids loved their half of the Monte Cristo, as well as the fries. And I enjoyed my salad, though the dressing kept me from loving it. Service was infrequent, given the large crowd in the restaurant, but eager and friendly when you could draw attention.
I'd love to hear from other Disneyland diners what they think of Cafe Orleans.