Review: California Grill

California-GrillMeyer and I snuck away from all the family fun one night on our trip to Walt Disney World.  We took the opportunity to try the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort.  This was a really neat opportunity as Meyer had dined at the Contemporary as a little boy at the then Top of the World restaurant.  Check-in for the California Grill is on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary. When you check-in you are given a pager.  You are then welcomed onto an elevator that takes you directly up to the 15th floor of the resort.  We had no wait as our pager started to buzz as soon as we walked towards the elevator. If you do have a wait, you can have a drink at the bar which is a part of the restaurant.  As soon as we walked off the elevator we were impressed with the sights-of the wine collection.  There were many of our favorites laying in their wine refrigerator.  That started off the meal on a great step.
California-Grill-sushi We were seated a a two top at the the banquet-so I had a view out to the Magic Kingdom, while Meyer faced me. Oh the luck of being a lady.  The restaurant is nicely decorated with a nod to 1960’s design. There are some fun light fixtures and pops of bright colors.

We were first given a menu for the sushi menu, mine of course because of my gluten issues was the allergy menu. Although I wasn’t in the mood for sushi,  I did appreciate that I could be accommodated on the sushi menu.

Our waiter was helpful with the menu but missed on a few points. This is really the first experience at Disney that I was disappointed with the staff at a restaurant.  I say this as I could compare his service with the waitress serving the table next to ours as the lady at that table had a gluten allergy as well.  What a rare coincidence!  Our waiter was  a bit too into telling me that the wheat bread that Meyer was able to eat was better than the tapioca roll that he served me. That was a bit frustrating as of course if I could I would have eaten the wheat rolls as well.  My other gripe is that although our server was knowledgable, he never offered to bring the chef out to review the menu with me.  I’m not sure if he didn’t believe I had a serious allergy or what but his service was not up to the standard I found at every other Disney restaurant experience.  As a comparison, the waitress brought the chef out to the table next to us–unfortunately by that point I was already eating my entrée. So I didn’t say anything.  I kick myself that I didn’t catch the server’s mistake. I should have requested the chef to come out to me.

stone-fruit-kale-saladBut I’m not going to let a misinformed or under educated waiter ruin my meal nor my experience.  I did choose carefully off the menu but had a delicious meal nonetheless.  I started with the Stone Fruit and Kale salad. It consisted of Masumoto peaches, cherries, Marcona almonds, goat cheese, with a cherry vinaigrette. It was delicious.  I do love kale but the peaches and cherries were a wonderful compliment to the kale along with the nice deep flavor of the almonds and the richness of the goat cheese.

Alaskan-halibut

 

For my entrée, I chose the Alaskan Halibut.  It was served with a parsnip silk, roasted heirloom beets, arugula, a macadamia nut vinaigrette, and beet syrup.  It was light and delicious.  A perfect meal after eating a few too many buffets at Disney.  The parsnip silk was like a thick purée-full of rich flavor and silky in the mouth.  I love beets so it wasn’t much of a choice to order this dish. I’m so glad that I did.

Halibut-closeup

We chose to forgo dessert.  We were full, the waiter was getting on my nerves, and the Magic Kingdom was calling our name.  We did however, stop outside on the observation deck to take some photos of the lovely view.  You can’t beat seeing Cinderella’s castle from that bird’s eye view.  It was the perfect was to end a delicious meal.  Meyer and I will certainly go back to the California Grill.  We look forward to having a bit more time to enjoy the bar before our dinner, having a different server, and staying to watch the Magic Kingdom’s  fireworks from the perfect view point. View-from-California-grill

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