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Guest Review: Dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Join us in welcoming back Guest Author Paul Kuconis! His latest review features dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors located at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World.

When I think of Contemporary Resort-based restaurants, California Grill and Chef Mickey’s immediately come to mind. It’s hard to miss the glass dome sitting atop the Resort — ‘Oooh, there’s California Grill!’; and Chef Mickey is always in sight from the monorail.

But there is a hidden gem neatly tucked away — The Wave…of American Flavors — and entering through the front door makes it easy to miss. We always arrive by boat from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge so we walk by it often. Well, we finally decided to stop ‘passing by’ and made reservations during our last visit.

Atmosphere

The first thing I saw was a video marquee highlighting the culinary options presented inside. To me this presentation is very much in keeping with the ‘contemporary’ theme of the resort. OK, now I know what they serve, so let’s head inside.

Video Marquee

Video Marquee

The entrance is rather neat. First, it establishes the stainless steel theme I noticed throughout my meal, and the tunnel takes me to a different place — that of sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients.

Entrance to The Wave

Entrance to The Wave

As we approached the reception desk, I noticed the earth tones in keeping with the sustainable theme. Also, the wall partition presents the wave theme.

Reception Desk

Reception Desk

We had nice wall art to look at while we waited for our table. A very contemporary rendition, in keeping with the resort.

Wall Art

Wall Art

Even the ceiling features carry the wave theme with contemporary light fixtures. It all works well together as the earth tones carry throughout the restaurant.

The Wave Themed Ceiling

The Wave Themed Ceiling

A nice touch, and a very subtle one, is the wave embroidered on the linen napkin.

Themed Linen Napkin

Themed Linen Napkin

Eats

After we sat down and perused the wine list, we decided on a bottle of Bonterra Chardonnay 2012. I enjoy a nice chardonnay and this wine fits the bill. It’s from Mendocino, one of California’s better known wine regions with predominant vineyard acreage in chardonnay.

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012

A very nice wine. An initial impression of rich, buttery cream quickly turns to aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, followed by tropical aromas of pineapple, citrusy lemon and crème brulee. The wine is refreshing on the palate, with a minerality that is both bright and clean, drawing you into a vibrant tartness and lemon zest.

Although that description sounds very complex, it’s not. Bottom line for me is, does it have a nice flavor? And yes, this one does! Notice the stainless steel wine cooler.

A Nice Pour

A Nice Pour

After we ordered we were served bread and butter — Multi grain bread with ground flax seeds and butter with Hawaiian sea salt. (Notice the stainless steel bread bowl.) The bread was nice and fresh and the butter was just soft enough to spread easily and allowed the salt to mix in giving each bite a nice crunch. The ground flax seeds provided a visual balance to the sea salt atop the butter. Nicely done!

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

I always look for menu offerings that I haven’t had before. The Sustainable Fish Taco fit the bill. To me, it also fit the theme of the restaurant, sustainable and locally sourced. I’ll try that!

Sustainable Fish Taco Menu Item

Sustainable Fish Taco Menu Item

Oooh! Very nicely plated with a stainless steel taco tray! The fish used were Snapper and Swordfish and fit nicely with the Apple-Jicama slaw and a mild white sauce drizzle, topped with micro greens.

The apples used were Pink Lady (a trademark and the variety is more correctly known as Cripps Pink). Cripps Pink apples are a cross between the Australian Lady Williams and the Golden Delicious. At any rate, this variety was new to me and had a very nice flavor and texture.

The slaw and sauce complemented the mildness of the fish and made for a nice bite. Providing a contrast in textures; the crunch of the apple and jicama worked well against the smoothness of the fish.

Sustainable Fish Taco Appetizer

Sustainable Fish Taco Appetizer

Yuzu Gelato was served providing a palette cleanser and a nice finisher. Yuzu a citrus fruit, originates in East Asia and looks like a very small grapefruit. The yuzu’s flavor is tart, closely resembling that of a grapefruit with hints of mandarin orange. A very nice way to end an awesome appetizer!

OK, how can my entrée top my appetizer? A tough task indeed.

I settled on the Dry-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak, medium rare. Flat iron steak, which comes from the shoulder of the steer, has a deep rich flavor and similar to (and substitutable with) skirt or flank steak. It is also known as a top blade steak. (I also wanted to experience the locally-sourced vegetables.)

Dry-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak Menu Item

Dry-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak Menu Item

Nicely plated! (As usual with most dishes prepared at Disney restaurants!)

Dry-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak

Dry-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak

Perfectly grilled! Just look at the color and the juices. The dry rub had a nice hint of pepper. Not too much to overpower the steak, but enough to bring out the flavor.

The citrus aioli with its tang added a nice complement to this cut of meat. The aioli also worked well with the frisee and strawberries — a nice mix of sweet, texture, and tang.

The strawberries were unbelievably fresh and ripe and melted in my mouth. The potato leek gratin was extremely good.

Grilled to My Specifications

Grilled to My Specifications

We decided on the Creamy Flight dessert sampler. With three desserts in one, how can you go wrong?!

Creamy Flight Dessert Menu Item

Creamy Flight Dessert Menu Item

Left to right: Sticky Toffee Cheesecake with Butterscotch Sauce topped with Heath Bar crunchies; Lemon Crème Brulee with a Lemon-scented Biscotti; and Chocolate Truffle Mousse dusted with cocoa powder and topped with gold leaf. Notice the stainless steel plate; a nice theme carried from bread to dessert.

Desserts

Desserts

Each dessert item was awesome. And rich. The contrasts in taste texture and visual appearance (plating) made this dessert a nice cap to a fine night out.

Overall

In closing, do not let this restaurant go untried. Seek it out and enjoy! I did.

Have you stopped by The Wave for a meal? Let us know your favorite dish!

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9 Comments

  1. Brandon says:

    Went to the Wave for my birthday a few years ago and has a great experience. We got a last minute reservation and it was well worth it. Great atmosphere, service and food! Looking forward to visiting again on a future trip.

  2. Hannah says:

    We have been to The Wave a few times. It was very nice. We also enjoyed the crafted beers. A great relaxing meal before walking back to Wishes at the Magic Kingdom.

  3. Kathy P says:

    We try to eat at the WAVE at every visit. Never disappointed, food is delicious, great service, chef even gave me his yummy bread recipe by email!!! Going again this fall!!

  4. Galloping gourmand says:

    Made a reservation for October. It will be my first time at The Wave for a meal although I enjoyed the lovely bar menu about 2 years ago. Because it’s seasonal the menu has changed numerous times since the . The simply cocked scallops were great.

  5. Angelina says:

    have to say that though everything looks tasty, I don’t think this would be high on my list as there are too many other awesome restaurants to try. Course I’m just dreaming since I’ve never been to WDW…lol. Also the presentation of the appetizer seems a little off, anyone else think so?

  6. Judi says:

    Wonderful review! We enjoy at least one meal here on every visit to WDW. It’s a hidden gem, truly. It’s usually a nice quiet respite from the busy happenings of the hotel and the Magic Kingdom too ~ if you haven’t tried it, give it a shot .. you won’t be disappointed!

  7. John says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever actually had food at The Wave, but every time we do a Chef Mickey’s breakfast, we stop and rent boats afterward and then pop into The Wave for a few cocktails and beer flights while the kids visit the arcade at The Contemporary. They make some great drinks, and the bartenders are always super friendly.

  8. Cindy says:

    Kathy P – any chance you would share the bread recipe?

  9. Kev says:

    That Bonterra Chardonnay is a lovely surprise when reading this post!
    Not only does it taste great, but it’s one of the few wines that isn’t loaded up with sulphites as a preservative.
    In other words, I appear to be able to drink as much as I like of it without getting a splitting headache ;-)

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