Where to eat: Lunch at Walt Disney World's Be Our Guest
Written by Robert Niles
The Magic Kingdom's new Be Our Guest restaurant promises French bistro fare, and, having spent a week in France this summer, the menu sure did look familiar: a Croque Monsieur, a salad Nicoise, a quiche, a carved poultry sandwich (the MK's is turkey - not chicken - but we'll call that close enough).Tweet
I'd intended on ordering the Croque Monsieur, but after looking at its photo on the restaurant video-board menu, I changed to the Tuna Nicoise Salad instead. Disney's Croque Monsieur looked simply like a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, instead of the luscious ham sandwich bathed in Grueyere and Bechamel that I'd seen so often in Paris. To complete a three-course menu, I selected the potato-leek soup and triple-chocolate cupcake, as well.
(To read more about Be Our Guest's unique lunchtime ordering system, and to see a screenshot of the video menu, please see my blog post from the weekend: At Be Our Guest, Disney solves the problems with counter service ordering)
The potato-leek soup ($4.49) might have been the best bowl of soup I've enjoyed since the scallop chowder in Tokyo Disneyland last December. This is a rustic version of the French classic, laced with bits of potato instead of offering the silky consistency found in the Julia Child recipe. But every bite offered hearty potato flavor, touched with the mild, green-onion-like flavor of leeks. On a chilly November day, the soup hit the spot - making crave the chance to get it without having to wait in the 20-minute queue that greeted me at the restaurant's door.
Disney's Tuna Nicoise Salad ($13.49) is served with four slices of seared tuna steak, along with a hard-poached egg, potatoes, olives, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, on a bed of vinaigrette-dressed mixed greens. Disney's nailed the tuna here - rich slices of sushi-grade fish, served warm on the edges with a lightly-peppered crust. The hard poached egg threw me off a bit (I'm used to a runny yolk in poached eggs), but I suppose hard-boiled eggs are a more traditional salad accompaniment, so I went with it. The salad was supposed to have green beans, but if there were any in mine, I missed them. I barely noticed the diminutive olives, too. But the tuna and spicy greens were so good that I didn't mind.
My daughter has a theory: "If it doesn't have chocolate - it's not dessert." So I went with the triple-chocolate cupcake [$2.99], a decadent creation with a pillow-soft crumb of chocolate cupcake surrounding a chocolate buttercream filling. The whole thing's topped with a rich chocolate ganache. Disney gilds the lilly with an inscribed "Be Our Guest" flake of chocolate and a raspberry. Bring on the choco-gasm!
Yeah, I finished it all.
Clearly, Be Our Guest is not only the highlight of this phase of the park's Fantasyland expansion, it's the best meal I've ever had in the Magic Kingdom. I'd love to hear from readers who have tried some of the other selection's on Be Our Guest's menu. But if you want an outstanding three-course menu of affordable French bistro classics, you'd need a magical enchantment of your own to find a better combination of soup, salad and dessert than this.
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