I was kindly invited to a complimentary dine-around at the restaurants at Gaylord Palms Resort the last time I was in Orlando, Florida (you can see my photos and description of the Sora Sushi Bar here).
Gaylord Palms Resort is just a few miles away from Disney World’s main gate, and is a quick taxi ride or drive away from any Disney park or resort. On my evening at Gaylord Palms, one of the most impressive restaurants I got the chance to sample was a Gaylord brand signature spot, Old Hickory Steakhouse.
For those who haven’t been to Gaylord Palms Resort, the many guest rooms surround a huge indoor atrium separated into the resort’s three distinct themed areas — Key West, St. Augustine, and the Everglades. Old Hickory Steakhouse is located in the Everglades district, which is evident in the architecture and decor of this completely stand-alone restaurant.
Old Hickory Steakhouse is a traditional and upscale restaurant, with a chef who’s as excited about his incredible 1855 Certified Premium Angus Beef as he is about your dining experience (I know. I met him.). And he’s doing a phenomenal job; the restaurant has won numerous awards.
And as you’re brought to your table, you’ll see that the Everglades theme is carried throughout the restaurant — right down to the simple and chic table settings. You’re inside the atrium, but your place settings are still covered by netting!
The location is beautiful, and you really do feel as though you’re enjoying a magically climate-controlled dinner outside (this can be a BIG deal in the ever-changing and extreme Florida weather). The atrium is so massive that you still get to experience the colors of sunset and nightfall throughout your meal. I can highly recommend this restaurant for a romantic date night, or for an important business dinner.
While walking to my table, I got sidetracked by a gorgeous cheese cart (which they had to pull my camera and me away from, incidentally). As it turns out, this selection of artisanal cheeses is a signature of Old Hickory steakhouses in the Gaylord resorts, and it’s truly a highlight of the meal.
The cheese selections change seasonally, so you’re sure to be greeted with the best of the best for the time you’re visiting.
(Doesn’t that look amazing?!? You KNOW I’m a cheese plate freak.)
The menu gives you the opportunity to order cheese plates of different sizes, and the cart will be brought to your table so that you can choose which cheeses you’d like. Our choices were made for us, but they were all delicious. We especially liked the Primadonna and the extremely aged Gouda, which had a carmel-like taste and texture. One of the most interesting cheeses we tried was called “Barely Buzzed,” and featured a crust of crushed coffee beans.
Don’t forget to sample some of the cheeses with the bread accompaniment, which includes several different types of freshly-made bread items and butter. And, of course, add to your bite of cheese one of the several sweet sides, including honey comb (YUM!), sweet potato paste, and a date bread.
Soon after we sampled our cheeses, our table was filled with side dishes and sauces. Old Hickory Steakhouse allows you to order side dishes for the table, and we had the chance to sample some green beans with bacon and artinsanal mac and cheese with lobster. I’m a big fan of green beans (believe it or not), and these were fantastic; but the mac and cheese was just as rich and creamy as it looks. I doubt I could eat a whole dish of that stuff, but I would gladly try!
Now, don’t forget that we haven’t even gotten to our main course — the steaks that the Old Hickory is well-known for! I had the filet, and it was outstanding — very tender, flavorful, and buttery. I’d rank it at the top of the list, along with Yachtsman Steakhouse, Shula’s, and Le Cellier in Walt Disney World.
And, for those who like to use condiments (um…me!!), Old Hickory offers your choice of four sauces: Béarnaise, Au Poivre, Bordelaise, and Diable.
Of course, there are a number of other entree options you can choose from, including Buffalo, Ostrich, Pork, Scallops, and fish. You can also combine some of the yummy appetizers, soups, and salads to create vegetarian meals.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample dessert at Old Hickory — we headed to another restaurant for dessert — but the options sound great: I’d love to sample the White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding or the Key Lime Cheesecake! You can see some of the other options here on the dessert menu.
Wrap-Up, Specs, and Info
I had a wonderful meal at Old Hickory Steakhouse. The ability to really interact with the cheese cart — getting a chance to look at all of the options and select your favorites — is a great perk, and the steaks and sides are outstanding. After our meal at Gaylord Palms, I quickly found out that we have an Old Hickory right here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area! I can’t wait to head over there and sample our Texas version of the restaurant!
You can check out the current Gaylord Palms Resort Old Hickory Steakhouse dinner menu here. The Old Hickory lounge is open daily from 4:30pm until 11:30pm, while dinner is served nightly from 5:30pm until 10 pm; you can make a reservation online, or call (407) 586-1600. Business casual attire is requested.