Welcome guest author Paul Kuconis with at a look at the Territory Lounge at the Wilderness Lodge. You know we love “Lounge Food!”
For some time now I have read reviews on the various (and awesome) culinary offerings in and around Walt Disney World. I finally decided to present my thoughts on a great appetizer at Territory Lounge. I hope you all enjoy my ‘review’.
We are frequent travelers to Walt Disney World and stay only at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. On our first evening we always visit the resort’s bar area — the Territory Lounge.
The Lounge is very much in keeping with the theme set by the Wilderness Lodge. Wilderness Lodge, to us, is a laid back setting/venue, complete with (predominantly) Aaron Copland music playing in the lobby. Even with Whispering Canyon in the lobby I still consider it calming and relaxing! This is carried through to Territory Lounge.
The Lounge is not as large as most Disney venues, which adds to its coziness and ambiance. The interior is dark with western theme prints hanging on the walls. And the decor includes a lot of wood, just like the hotel lobby.
Although not shown here, there are 2 televisions; both usually set to sports stations. The times we have been there it has not been super busy (unless of course it is raining out and the Trout Pass Pool Bar is not a dry option!). In some cases folks are having a drink while waiting for their table at Artist Point.
On this evening, Luann was our server. She has taken care of us before and even remembered us. That’s always an added bonus!
While I perused the appetizer offerings I started off with a bottle of Kona Brewing Company Long Board Island Lager, with a delicate, spicy hop aroma that complements its malty body. It has the nice carbonation that I like in a Lager.
The ‘pub grub’ menu changes constantly and this can be good or bad. A well-liked item may not be offered the next time you visit, and to the opposite extreme if the menu never changes, it becomes static and boring. Menu balance can be difficult!
I like to try new menu items and I decided on the Togarashi Spiced Tuna Tataki with Wakame Salad and Soy Sauce. Wow, that’s a mouthful (no pun intended)!
Togarashi is a spice blend used throughout Japan as a table condiment, occupying much the same place that salt and pepper do in the American household. Togarashi has a special affinity for Japanese noodles and soups, but can also perk up fish, poultry, and beef and contains Chinese chili, Japanese pepper, orange peel, ginger seaweed, and black and white sesame seeds. This blend is salt free.
Tataki (‘pounded’ or ‘hit into pieces’ in Japanese) is a Japanese-style fish preparation. Foods prepared in this style are lightly seared on all sides and thinly sliced for serving. The center maintains its deep red coloration and is warm throughout.
Luann told me they use either yellowfin or ahi tuna in their preparation and both are widely used in raw fish dishes.
The tuna is served on a bed of wakame. Wakame is a thin and stringy seaweed, deep green in color with a subtly sweet flavor and is used in making seaweed salad and miso soup. Wakame is common in Japanese and other Asian cuisines.
The color contrast was superb, with the red of the tuna and the bright green of the wakame arranged on a white rectangular plate.
The condiments are soy sauce and wasabi paste. I mixed some of the wasabi paste into the soy sauce to give me a sashimi tuna experience.
With the tuna I had a bottle of Napa Smith Organic IPA. I liked the floral aroma of the IPA with a nice malt and hoppy base. It had the tanginess and soft citrus character that I like in an IPA. To me it was a nice pairing with the Tuna.
In closing, I was not disappointed. The flavor profile and mix of sweet, salty, and heat made my appetizer a great choice. I highly recommend this dish and if you are considering sushi/sashimi but are not sure about the raw fish attribute, this is a good starter offering. It was a great start to our vacation!
Note that this menu item might not be available during your visit (we hear there are some good flatbreads on the menu now), but Territory Lounge is known for some fantastic dining options no matter what the menu may offer.
Paul Kuconis has been a Disney Food Blog reader for some time now and a frequent WDW visitor. His first visit to Disneyland was in 1965 and he’s been going ever since, but mostly visits Florida’s Walt Disney World.