Still, Mythos is one of the better in-park restaurants, much better than last week's pick. And I agree that the servers genuinely seem to enjoy working there. I'm not surprised - the room is very comfortable and serene.
It saddens me that Universal hasn't been able to connect with an audience in a way that would allow Mythos to continue to pursue an aggressive menu in a way that would reward diners who are looking for that type of cuisine. Ultimately, that was the whole point of this award - to communicate to the public "Hey, this restaurant offers something beyond burgers. If you care about great cuisine, please give it a try."
Ordering a burger in Mythos defeats the point. But if that's what Mythos feels like it has to offer in order to sell to the public, well, then that defeats the point of the award.
Hey, we tried.
Restaurants the world over are suffering badly right now and they all have to do something to maintain a sufficient number of covers to stay open.If Mythos has to introduce burgers onto it's menu so that the more discerning diners can continue to have what they prefer then so be it.Finding the wisdom of Solomon in a Land of wonder should applauded rather than criticised.It could be that without a concession to the mass audience Mythos might disappear altogether. It doesn't much matter to me if everyone else in the establishment sat knee deep in burgers so long as the menu still catered for my tastes too.That Mythos has made efforts to stay solvent and popular and still retain a decent standard is deserving of an award in itself don't you think ?.
To me, though, it stinks that the public didn't turn out for what Mythos once offered, forcing the restaurant to become what it now is - an outstanding restaurant but not the fine dining one it once was.
Let's put this in the context of the Universal Orlando resort, though. I do believe that many potential visitors to the resort over the past three years put off their visits, choosing to wait until Harry Potter opened. That left attendance suffering at UOR, and the resort turning to discounts to keep the attendance numbers respectable.
When you're using discounts to drive traffic, though, you end up with a value-focused clientele, one that's not looking for fine dining. Thus, the burgers, etc.
With the "premium"-focused crowd now returning to UOR after the opening Harry Potter, I hope that Steven Jayson gives it another go at Mythos - perhaps offering a "Hogwarts Feast" tasting menu in the evenings, inspired by the food of England and Scotland, as a way to tie into Harry Potter and to attract visitors who are open to a fine dining experience again.
Mythos did what it had to do. But Jayson and his team have talent that they're not showing right now. I wish for them to find a way to show all of that talent again. With Harry Potter bringing attendance back to the resort, that opportunity might be here.
In spite of my own personal wishes for fine dining I still think that food apartheid should be off the menu.
The more I think about this though, the more I believe that I'm right about the dynamic of what happened with Universal's attendance over the past three years. And that Universal will soon have the market opportunity to get more ambitious with in-park dining again. I hope that it will.
I don't want to have to look outside the park for a full range of food experiences. As parks provide a variety of entertainment and rides within parks, they should offer a range of dining options as well.
Theme park crowds are often associated with... well, stupidity. These are people who would rather herd like cattle for hours to experience seconds of cheap thrills rather than, say, hike the Appalachians or visit a museum. Admittedly, theme park crowds aren't always the brightest, but there are people who genuinely appreciate the little details and technological advancements in parks.
I've had some excellent dining in Orlando. California Grill and Jiko, for example, are two of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at. In terms of in-park establishments, I loved the meals I used to get at Mythos. I also have enjoyed several Epcot restaurants, though they, too, have had similar adjustments. Akershus, Norway's restaurant, used to be the best establishment in World Showcase, offering delicious, authentic Scandinavian food in a relaxed, dimly lit stave. Now they've converted it to a character dining experience, probably due to lack of attendance. Then there's Tokyo Dining, a newer establishment that serves Japanese tempura and sushi. Tempura is a pretty safe dish - who wouldn't love something battered and fried? - but they weren't too adventurous with the other dishes, adding deep fried tofu to the miso soup.
I'm not saying we should eliminate fast food from theme parks. There will always be guests who would rather eat a burger and fries than sushi or salmon, and that's fine. I love a good burger and fries, but after eating fried food for a day or two, I start to feel uncomfortable. I also love the experience of table service establishments, especially when the atmosphere is as nice and the setting is as cool as Mythos'. I don't, however, like paying table service prices to get another burger and fries dish.
When I'm powerhousing through two weeks of theme parks, however, I grow tired of fast food quickly. It tastes fine but isn't nearly as satisfying, nor as energy-rich, as some of the dishes provided at higher-end establishments. That applies to counter service, too.