It’s happened! Our very first visit to Red Rose Taverne is in the books!!
“What’s Red Rose Taverne?” you ask? It’s a pop-up restaurant — Disney style! An homage to all things Beauty and the Beast — just in time for the feature film to hit theaters in less than a month.
And instead of going to the trouble and expense of building Belle/Beast/Gaston their own place, those clever Imagineers decided to borrow Pinocchio’s digs for a bit. Yep — if you’re looking for Red Rose Taverne in Disneyland, head to the spot where Village Haus is in Fantasyland and you’ll find it!
As you can guess, this is a temporary situation. So intrepid Dining in Disneyland expert Heather Sievers didn’t waste any time getting there to try — well, pretty much everything on the menu.
See? It works. It’s not much of a stretch to think you’d find this medieval-esque building in a small, provincial town in France, mais oui? Clever types will note the sides of the Village Haus Sign peek out from beneath the Red Rose Taverne banner. And note that even though, Miss, this is France, Minute Maid is still the sponsor.
And now, we get to play a fun little game that I like to call Who Is Paying Attention to the Deets? In this archway at the entrance, you usually find Pinocchio being escorted right into trouble by Gideon and Honest John. A red curtain conveniently transforms the space.
Inside, you’ll normally find Pinocchio perched above the ordering area. He’s been packed away for a little while and replaced with an Enchanted Red Rose under a glass dome.
Throughout the space, ample curtains and artwork cover over the original murals and pictures, and introduce the characters at hand. It’s interesting that you have a mash up of cartoon and motion picture characters. For instance, here’s Gaston in all of his splendid, animated glory…
…But over at Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard, you see everyone’s favorite housekeeper-turned-teapot as she’ll appear in the live action flick.
The cozy dining area was packed pillar to post on opening day. I’d say the word is out, wouldn’t you?
But it’s the food we’ve come for. Let’s take a look.
I suppose it’s difficult to disguise a menu board frame, so they didn’t bother. Actually, with the steampunk feel to the graphics, you might think that Maurice had a hand in this corner of the decor.
But let’s focus on the food!
Featured selections include a combo of themed items and some entrees that are a little less so. If your whole party isn’t into BatB, no worries — you’ll find food that will please everyone.
Chip’s Dishes — aka the Kids’ Menu — offers some less exotic fare for the under-nine crowd.
We decided to have… well, um, all of it. (Or nearly all of it, anyway.) We’ll break it down for ya.
Let’s start with the Greens!
The Chef’s Chopped Salad is the only salad on the menu. A combo of Lettuce and Cabbage, plus Bacon, Apple, Hard Boiled Eggs, Blue Cheese, and Garlic Croutons, it was tossed lightly with an Apple Vinaigrette.
We really enjoyed this one. The produce was fresh, and the toppings were a great combination. We especially loved the julienned apples, with their tart-sweet crunch. The croutons were crunchy and fresh and the apple vinaigrette was very good as well. While we enjoyed the salad as-is, adding Chicken is an option if you’d like to up the protein value.
Next, we tried two of the three Flatbreads. (We opted to skip the Pulled Pork Flatbread on this visit.)
First, we dug into the Garden Mozzarella Flatbread. It’s really pretty and colorful and fresh-looking, right? With Fresh Mozzarella, whole Tomatoes, and fresh Basil, we expected a lot here. Unfortunately, it wasn’t amazing. We felt it lacked flavor, and the fact that it came out cold didn’t do it any favors. It’s fine, but I wouldn’t rush out to get this one again. There are much better options ahead.
We also tried the Poutine Flatbread. And seriously — we were hoping to love this. But alas, we didn’t.
Although it wasn’t really bad, the toppings on this were pretty sparse. There wasn’t much Slow-Cooked Beef, and we didn’t see any Cheese Curds at all. While there were a few Pommes Frites sprinkled around, the rest of the toppings were sort of jammed in the center of the bread.
As with our other flatbread, this was served cold as well, clearly signaling a timing issue in the kitchen. Obviously, this was an opening day issue, so we’re willing to give it another chance after the kinks have been worked out.
On the other hand, the Slow-Cooked Beef Poutine, one of the two dishes we were most excited to try, was a homerun. It hit many traditional Poutine notes while also taking a few liberties, with its combo of Braised Beef and Gravy over Seasoned Waffle Fries with the requisite Cheese Curds. It’s topped with Pickled Onions for a piquant contrast.
The flavors here were a hit and we would 100% get this again! That said, regular fries might be an awesome option, although the waffle fries do stand up well to the heavy toppings. And the pickled onions might not appeal to everyone. Grilled onions would be a really great switch.
We also tried ALL of the sandwiches. They come with your choice of Pommes Frites or Apple Slices — and the Frites taste just like the ones from Café Orleans! Now, if they’d just give you the dipping sauce as well.
First, we’ll dig into the one that Heather was the most excited about — Enchanted Cauliflower Sandwich.
The sammie is loaded with Veggies. You’ll find a grilled Cauliflower “Steak”, Spicy Lime Aioli, Battered Green Beans, Lettuce, and Tomato.
Heather loved this sandwich. The hearty slice of cauliflower was filling, and the tempura green beans are somewhat similar to the Panko-Breaded Long Beans from Trader Sam’s — yay!
Just a word of caution, though: the aioli tasted more like mustard than mayo to us. If you’re not a mustard lover, you may want to request the sauce on the side.
Overall, though, this is a great addition to the park. It’s really nice to have another vegetarian option within Disneyland.
The Chicken Sandwich à la Lumière, on the other hand, wasn’t our favorite. To begin, there’s a whoooole lot goin’ on here. The Grilled Chicken Sammie comes topped with Apple Slaw, Onion-Bacon Jam, AND Fried Cherry Peppers. Any ONE of those things probably would have been plenty. It was spicy, it was sour, it was sweet…in a nutshell, it was a sandwich with an identity crisis.
All of those toppings were also trying to mask a dirty little secret: the Chicken Breast was dry and overcooked. C’mon, Disney. Restaurant magic dictates you can make a succulent chicken breast. Let’s make it happen. And besides, we love Lumière TOO MUCH for his sandwich namesake not to be awesome.
Next up, we tried the Angus Cheeseburger. This is your average Disney burger. No problems to report, and no highlights to share. If you want a Disney burger, this is your guy.
But then, we come to what is easily the heartiest dish on the menu: Beast’s Burger. It’s an Angus Beef Patty topped with Slow-Cooked Beef, Gruyere, Caramelized Onions, Lettuce, Tomato, and Horseradish Aioli. Basically, it’s the love child of a Roast Beef Sandwich and a Burger.
You guys. This is SO. MUCH. MEAT. The flavors are a fantastic combo, but you reeeally have to be a big meat lover to eat this one.
Also, I’d totally ditch the raw veggie toppings here. They just seem weirdly out of place with all of this meaty, slow-cooked goodness.
We were already full — but no way were we passing up the signature desserts at Red Rose.
We didn’t show it to you on its own before, but we just had to try Gaston’s Famous Brew. The drink was a refreshing combo of Apple-Mango Punch topped with Passion Fruit Foam. While we’re not big foam fans, you need it here to approximate the frosty head of a beer — which this is definitely not. (DL, unlike Magic Kingdom, is still a dry park, except for Club 33.)
But back to the drink — Heather loved it. It sounds like a less sweet alternative to WDW’s Le Fou’s Brew. Kudos to Disneyland for coming up with something different! (Especially since you can get Le Fou’s Brew in Disney California Adventure under the name of Red’s Apple Freeze in Cars Land.)
We were also super happy to see a Mrs. Potts Krispie here as well.
But now, we come to what you’ve all been waiting for: the Grey Stuff Gateau! This cult classic finally makes its way West, and it was totally worth the wait!
You’ll find White Chocolate Cookies and Cream Mousse, wrapped around Red Velvet Cake with a Raspberry Center, built on a scalloped Shortbread Cookie platform.
While it was great, Heather would like the option for a solo bowl of The Grey Stuff.
But we’ve saved the most beautiful option for last. Behold the Lemon Rose Cake. Seriously. I needed a moment just to stare that this.
Officially, the description of this one says that it’s a Lemon Mousse Cake with Strawberry-Rose Filling.
This one surprised us a little, actually. While the flavors of the lemon mousse definitely came through, the strawberry rose filling seemed more like Raspberry to us. Heather also saw little round berries that reminded her of Lingonberry. There was a fun surprise layer of Chocolate Crunch just above the Chocolate Cookie base.
Anyhoo, whatever this dessert actually is, it was yum! If you’re scared of floral flavors, no need to fret. We didn’t notice the rose in the mix at all.
We visited Red Rose Taverne on opening day, and there were definitely a few missteps as a result. Food was taking much longer than we expected and the lines were LONG. We saw lots of people return food for issues of temperature or other problems, which probably didn’t help the kitchen’s efficiency.
It’s a little strange, since this isn’t strictly a “new” restaurant. Still, it’s somewhat understandable, given a new menu and a large crowd for the opening.
As for how long we can expect to enjoy the Red Rose Taverne, there is NO word on that. It’s totally at the discretion of the parks. Regardless, these dishes are pretty great overall, so we hope that they find a permanent home, even if Red Rose Taverne doesn’t stick around long-term.
Overall, I’d recommend a visit to Red Rose Taverne. The food was good and even great in some spots, and hey — it’s cool to eat at a place that might not be there a month from now.
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So now, tell us what you think! Will you be dining at Red Rose Taverne in the near future? Leave a comment and tell us if the Grey Stuff Gateau is on your must try list!