Editor’s Note: The Buffalo strip is now a three meat combo of buffalo steak, venison loin, and wild game sausage.
Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge is one of these, but it’s actually the perfect spot if you’re looking for a quiet, out-of-the-way restaurant where you can enjoy some truly innovative eats.
Over the past several years I’ve dined at Artist Point four times and while my first visit was a rocky start, the subsequent three visits have been delightful. I’d love to hear YOUR comments about Artist Point!
Artist Point, because of it’s location in the Wilderness Lodge, is themed to the American Northwest. You can expect Craftsman furniture, a slightly art deco feel, and sturdy, simple decor.
The artwork is the true draw in the main dining room at Artist Point (natch). The walls sport gorgeous murals by celebrated artist Thomas Moran, who is noted for his “larger-than-life interpretations of the West during the late 1800′s.”
Smaller paintings were inspired by Albert Bierstadt works. Bierstadt sketched landscapes of the Shoshone Indian country in 1859 while accompanying General Lander’s expedition on the route that later became the Oregon Trail.
Artist Point has a lovely view of the Silver Springs Pool and Courtyard, the Fire Rock Geyser of Wilderness Lodge, and Bay Lake — a natural lake on Disney property lined with tall pine trees and punctuated with Discovery Island.
As you can see, this really is a lovely spot to dine in Walt Disney World, and the fact that it’s not the FIRST restaurant everyone thinks of means that you can score reservations at a later date than the more popular signature restaurants.
On this visit, we were dining with a couple of good friends. We noticed a few distinctly Asian items added to the menu, which was new since our last visit. One that I was particularly interested in was the Sake flight on the drinks menu.
I couldn’t help but order it, since I’d been having a Sake-esque trip anyway (new Sake cocktail in Epcot’s Japan, for example). This sake flight was from Momokawa sake company — in Oregon! Yep, this was all American-made sake; very interesting!
The flight included its Diamond, Silver, and Pearl varieties (the pearl being the Nigori sake). I wish I could be effective at describing the sakes to you, but I’m not very far along in my sake education! I enjoyed the Diamond sake the most (it’s said to have an off-dry melon flavor), but it’s probably better to read the descriptions on the menu for a broader overview! I promise I’ll get more educated in sake so that I can make better recommendations in the future!
Next up, a Kung Fu Girl Riesling! I’m pretty sure I ordered this simply because of the name, but the result was a lovely sweet Riesling that I enjoyed very much!
The meal started out with a lovely corn and pomegranate amuse bouche — very much enjoyed by everyone at the table. (By the way, the amuse bouche thing is happening more and more at Disney’s signature restaurants, so keep an eye out for it on your next visit.)
We dug into the bread next, which was presented with a black sea-salted butter. A gorgeous combo.
And then we were presented with a little surprise! The restaurant manager treated us to a sample of this fun beer, cheese, bacon, and popcorn soup (read more about it here!)!! Find this one over at Whispering Canyon Cafe next door!
NOW, it’s time to dive into the appetizers! (I know, right?! We’ve had a full meal already!) I went with my favorite Smokey Portobello Soup, even though I don’t really like mushrooms! This soup is deeelicious, and there are enough other (richer) ingredients to make the mushroom flavor just an essence. Believe me, there’s a reason why this dish never leaves the menu here at Artist Point!
One of my dining companions ordered this Mixed Field Greens salad with Shaved Stone Fruit, Sun Flower Seed Granola, Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, and Ice Wine Vinaigrette! Wow — quite a mouthful, but pronounced to be excellent!
Another dish that was very much liked at the table was this appetizer with Salt Roasted Heriloom Beets, Truffled Goat Cheese, Cider Poached Pink Lady Apples, Spiced Walnuts, and Mulled Wine Vinaigrette.
Finally, the fourth appetizer in which we indulged was the Dungeness Crab Cake with Asian Slaw and Shaved Radish. Another slightly Asian dish on the menu, this one received high marks as well.
Once we’d done away with those apps, it was time to dive into entrees!! I was pretty much jealous of everything that was ordered at the table, but was in love with my choice, too! Just listen to this: “Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Corn Pudding, Caramelized Figs, Piquillo Pepper Relish, and Serrano Ham Crisp.” Come on?! How do you not order something that has “sweet corn pudding” and “serrano ham crisp” in the description? Plus, I always like to order the pork dish on the menu since it’s such a difficult meat to cook well (a little test for the kitchen!).
Anyway, this was amazing! Just one look at the photo and you can see that it’s a love affair for the eyes as well as the stomach. The pork was cooked well (possibly a bit too well for my liking, but it was fine), and I very much appreciated that there was enough of the “extras” on the plate to last throughout the entree. For example, I didn’t run out of corn pudding before I was finished with my pork. (Hate it when they don’t give me enough of the side dishes!).
Speaking of the corn pudding — wowza! It was indeed sweet and savory, though not salty at all. It complemented the subtle flavor of the pork perfectly. And that serrano ham crisp and pepper relish were just enough POW to give a strong overtone to an otherwise balanced dish.
Also ordered at the table was the Buffalo Striploin (love that they still server Buffalo here; you can also get it at the California Grill from time to time). Buffalo is difficult to flavor well since it’s naturally a lower-fat meat, but this earned positive remarks.
A Beef tenderloin with peppercorn butter was a WOW dish as well.
And I think we were all a little jealous when this Halibut came out looking so beautiful.
We had to run out to our La Nouba reservation and therefore weren’t able to have dessert at this meal (sad face), but you can check out my previous Artist Point review to see the kinds of dishes that are offered for Dessert (like the famous berry crumble/compote — depending on the chef)!
Overall, this was another successful visit to Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The menu continues to deliver innovative dishes with a few surprises thrown in like the Buffalo strip and the Asian additions. I mean, come on — who finds a Sake company in Oregon to highlight?! That’s awesome!
If I had one qualm, it would be the relative simplicity of the tenderloin dish presentations. The halibut and pork were presented like parties on a plate! I wish the others had the same flair. (I know, a pretty paltry criticism, eh?) Our last visit to Artist Point had much more interesting sides and presentations it seems.
They say it takes a few positive experiences at a restaurant to negate one negative experience, and I’m well on my way back to fully recommending Artist Point!
What have been your experiences with Artist Point? Let us know in the comments below!