I recently “met” (not yet in person yet, but I hope soon!) a few Disney foodies who have sought out some great culinary experiences. I’ve begged a couple of them to put together guest posts, and the first is this fantastic review from Chelsi Murphy of the new Flying Fish Chef’s Counter at Disney World’s Boardwalk! Take it away, Chelsi!
The Flying Fish Café is connected to The Disney Boardwalk Resort. It has been consistently one of our favorite restaurants through the years. When it was announced in April that Chef Tim Keating would be offering a Chef’s Tasting Wine Dinner at the Chef’s counter, we knew that we would have to book it for our next trip out in July.
The Flying Fish Cafe is a beautiful and whimsically decorated restaurant overlooking the busy hustle and bustle of the Boardwalk. The Chef’s Counter is to your left as you walk in and gives you an up close and personal view of Chef Keating and his crew preparing the night’s menu.
Upon being seated, we were greeted by Sommelier Keith Gimbel and asked if we would mind having our picture taken for a special treat at the end of the meal. After this we received our menu for the evening and asked if we would like to change anything or if we had any food related allergies the staff needed to be aware of. Since we eat just about everything, we gave them the heads up and our evening of food and wine started.
Chef Keating at this point came from behind the counter with his Amuse Bouche: Boule of Smoked Salmon, Maine Jonah Crab, and Tobikko — Frisee, Shaved Fennel and Fennel Dill-Emulsion. It was an amazing opening bite (or two) to start off the night; salty, rich and bright. At the same time we were poured Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’ Alsace Brut, NV. I could have drunk this all night. It was crisp, lightly sweet, and cut through the salt of the smoked fish and fish eggs perfectly.
Next came the first course, a Crispy Tempura-Crusted Soft Shell Crab with Spring Radishes, Cucumber, shaved Lotus Root and two Fragrant Asian Sauces. This was served with Selbach-Oster Kabinett Riesling, Mosel ’08. I could have eaten this all night! I love soft shell crab and this looked like the Soft-Shell Mountain from Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. It was amazing and super crispy. The Riesling was another perfect pairing, and I was surprised how much I loved this wine; again, slightly sweet and acidic to go with the fried crab.
The second course was Porcini, Pepperberry and Wattleseed-crusted Bay of Fundy Salmon with truffled Preserved Lemon Butter Emulsion served with Francis Ford Coppola Votre Sante Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ’07. The Salmon was beautifully cooked and the preserved lemon butter was good enough to lick off the plate. Don’t worry – I refrained! This was the only wine pairing of the night we were not thrilled with. There was nothing wrong with the wine, just not our personal favorite.
Next up was the Duck Confit-laced Orrechiette Pasta with Roasted Muchrooms, Arugula, Artichokes and Perorino Romano. This was served with Feudo di San Negroamaro, Puglia-Italia ’07. I think this was my husband’s favorite of the night. At this point I knew we still had two courses so I had left half of mine and he was considerate enough to finish it for me! The pasta was cooked perfectly and the duck was rich and salty. The Negroamaro was amazing and was able to stand up to the rich duck dish.
Next to last course! Slow Braised Colorado Lamb Shank with Saffron Risotto Milanese and Red Wine — Lamb Reduction. It was served with Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi ’07. What bad can you say about meat cooked all day in red wine? It was wonderful, tender, juicy and rich. Then it’s served with a nice big bold red wine — it was comfort on a plate.
Dessert Course: Early Crop Sweet Florida Peach and Beekeepers’ Honey Delice Fantasie served with Saracco Moscato d’ Asti, Piedmont-Italia NV. It was like a cross between a Napoleon and a Flan with fresh Peaches. Crisp and on the light side, which was perfect after all the richness we’d just enjoyed. The Moscato just smelled of peaches and was a wonderful way to end the night.
While we were finishing up our wine and speaking with Chef Keating, we were presented with two gift menus that had the picture of us from the start of the meal:
Our Chef’s Tasting evening was a great event. The hands-on service from both the Chef and the Sommelier made you feel as if you had your own personal signature event from the Food and Wine Festival. In our opinion, well worth the $143.00 per person. The Disney web page says you can book without the wine pairings, but when we called this was not an option and they made it clear it was an experience for guests 21 and up. We loved it so much we have it booked again VERY soon!
Thanks, Chelsi! My mouth is watering from looking at those pictures and hearing your descriptions! I can’t wait to try this Chef’s Counter myself! To read more about Flying Fish Cafe, see menus, and check out other Disney Food Blog posts about the restaurant, see our Flying Fish Cafe info page!