NEW!!! The New Ale & Compass Restaurant in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Welcome to the brand new Ale & Compass Restaurant in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort!

The Ale & Compass Restaurant has taken the spot of Captain’s Grille as the casual Table Service Restaurant option in the Yacht Club. (The Resort’s other Table Service restaurant, Yachtsman Steakhouse, is a Signature Restaurant.) It comes to us as part of the new Ale & Compass dining concept for the Resort, which also includes the newly reopen and majorly refurbished Ale & Compass Lounge as well as The Market at Ale & Compass which opened earlier this year.

The Captain’s Grille was — in my opinion — something of a hidden gem. It offered a cheerful, comfy nautical feel and some decent options for surf-and-turf style eating for lunch and dinner, and a terrific breakfast which featured not only a buffet, but also a better-than-average a la carte menu.

The Ale & Compass Restaurant, though, has been completely re-imagined with its own unique feel.

Ale & Compass Restaurant Sign and Entrance

Ale & Compass Restaurant Sign and Entrance

Let’s step in!

Atmosphere

If you ever paid a visit to Captain’s Grille, you’ll remember a somewhat busier appearance to the entrance, since the check-in took place just outside the restaurant. Now, you step inside to see if there is walk-in space available (there was plenty on opening day), or check in for your Advance Dining Reservation.

Walking Into Ale & Compass

Walking Into Ale & Compass

Maroons, navy blues, striped wallpaper and light wood tones have given way to slate blues, grays, and simple, clean lines across the board, from the walls and flooring to the table settings.

Ale & Compass Restaurant Main Room

Ale & Compass Restaurant Main Room

Ale & Compass Restaurant Main Room Seating

Ale & Compass Restaurant Main Room Seating

Ale & Compass Restaurant Perimeter Area Seating

Ale & Compass Restaurant Perimeter Area Seating

Ale & Compass Restaurant Side Room

Ale & Compass Restaurant Side Room

When Disney announced the new Ale & Compass Restaurant, they emphasized a “Gastropub ambience,” and I can see how they were going for that in certain elements like these higher top group tables and food presentation (which we’ll check out in the “Eats” section of this post).

Hightop Group Table

Hightop Group Table

But the main words that came to mind for me when taking in the setting were primarily “calming” and “minimalistic.” It’s like a breath of fresh air in a way.

Ale & Compass Decor

Ale & Compass Decor

Lighting Elements

Lighting Elements

Though its set back a bit from the main dining room, you can still check out the goings on at the on-stage hearth oven.

Approaching the Hearth Oven

Approaching the Hearth Oven

Hearth Oven

Hearth Oven

Let’s check out what they’re making in there!

Eats

The Ale & Compass Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you can see all those menus here. Though we plan to check out every meal, our first visit was for lunch. Though the menu is quite different, one thing Ale & Compass shares in common with the ol’ Captain’s Grille is a menu that offers both surf and turf, here with a take on New England-inspired comfort food. For instance, Starters during lunch include the Lobster and Corn Chowder and Oven-roasted Oysters along with the Grape Leaf-wrapped Goat Cheese (which we enjoyed next door at the Ale & Compass Lounge).

Lunch Starters Menu

Lunch Starters Menu

Lunch Main Plates feature a variety of Hearth Oven “Pies” (including a White Clam Pie), Burgers, and a refreshed version of my old favorite from lunch at Captain’s Grille: Fish & Chips.

Lunch Main Plates Menu

Lunch Main Plates Menu

You’ll also notice two vegan meals on the menu with the Protein Bowl and the Grilled Plant-based “Bacon Cheeseburger,” which we’ll be looking at shortly.

A few Cocktails are featured on the front of the menu.

Cocktail Menu

Cocktail Menu

But you’ll find the full beverage list on the back.

Drink Menu

Drink Menu

You may have noticed those Parker House Rolls with Spreads on the menu. If you did, you may likely surmised that bread service is not included with your meal at Ale & Compass. But when we read that the spreads included Pub Cheese

Parker House Rolls and Spreads

Parker House Rolls and Spreads

Well, that was a no brainer. The Parker House Rolls were incredibly soft and fresh, but really, they were mostly just a conduit for the spreads: Citrus Butter, Bacon Jam, and the aforementioned Pub Cheese.

Citrus Butter

Citrus Butter

You can see the bits of rind in the salted Citrus Butter, lending the nicest hint of citrus that came through even more in the aftertaste. Here’s a word I rarely use: “delightful.” But this Citrus Butter was exactly that — delightful! (Man, I can’t pull that off, can I? But it really was!)

Next to it on the board was Bacon Jam.  (By the way, that’s what I meant earlier by gastropub-style presentation — you’ll see these boards a few times.)

Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam

The smokey, savory bacon in the jam was nicely balanced by sweet carmelized onions, giving it that “jam” taste and feel. Another winner!

And finally, we come to that Pub Cheese.

Pub Cheese

Pub Cheese

It looks simple and innocent enough. But this rich, strongly flavored cheese spread has some great punch to it. It’s so good that I wanted to finish it all with the bread. But knowing we had so much more to come, we ended up taking some of the bread home in takeaway boxes. But the Pub Cheese? We kept it out on the table so we could spread it on just about everything else.

Our other starter was the Oven-roasted Oysters with spinach and creamed kale, white cheddar, and cornbread crumbs.

Oven-roasted Oysters

Oven-roasted Oysters

My husband loves oysters, but prefers them smoked or in a stew and that’s it. He’s not big on toppings such as this.

Oven-roasted Oysters

Oven-roasted Oysters

But I think the toppings offer a good way to introduce someone who has never previously tried oysters. The white cheddar was prominent in the taste, making the oysters overall more savory than “fishy,” while still presenting enough of that distinct oyster flavor.

Oven-roasted Oyster

Oven-roasted Oyster

The Hearth Oven “Pies” (quotes as written on the menu) are featured on the Starter list at dinner, and are also available at the Ale & Compass Lounge next door. Choices are White Clam, Seasonal Market Vegetable, and the one we went with: Caramelized Leek and Chorizo.

Caramelized Leek and Chorizo Hearth Oven Pie

Caramelized Leek and Chorizo Hearth Oven Pie

And that egg on the top?

Caramelized Leek and Chorizo Hearth Oven Pie

Caramelized Leek and Chorizo Hearth Oven Pie

Our server explained that the best way to enjoy it was to break it apart and spread it all over the pie. The Caramelized Leek and Chorizo Hearth Oven Pie is somewhat deceiving in that the flavors present quite simply at first. Since there is no sauce — simply the cheese, chorizo, crust, and egg — you can really taste each element.

Caramelized Leek and Chorizo Hearth Oven Pie

Caramelized Leek and Chorizo Hearth Oven Pie

But with each bite the strength and spice of the chorizo comes through more and more, making this a great option for fans of the spicy sausage. Plus, the crust (which is nicely golden on its own) is also great smeared with Pub Cheese!

The Maine Lobster Roll is served with your choice of thick-cut Fries (which as it turns out, are even better dipped in Pub Cheese!) or House-made Vinegar Chips.

Maine Lobster Roll

Maine Lobster Roll

The lobster — served on soft Artisan French Bread and a single lettuce leaf — is lightly dressed with mayo and chives.

Maine Lobster Roll

Maine Lobster Roll

And I really enjoyed the fact that it was so lightly dressed. I like lobster with just butter, typically, and this style roll can often feature almost as much dressing for filler as lobster depending on where you get it. But here, the dressing just enhanced the lobster rather than overwhelmed it and allowed me to enjoy the fresh quality of the cold sandwich.

We also decided to give the Grilled Plant-based “Bacon Cheeseburger” a go. The soy patty and soy “bacon” are topped with a vegan cheddar cheese, along with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and a vegan chipotle mayo, with lettuce and tomato on the side. It’s served on multi-grain bread, and comes with the House-made Vinegar Chips.

Grilled Plant-based "Bacon Cheeseburger" Meal

Grilled Plant-based “Bacon Cheeseburger” Meal

Not being super accustomed to vegan eating, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and hope I do well describing it. Before breaking it down, though, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised overall! It’s difficult to see the soy patty under the substantial toppings, so it was captured better from the side view below.

Grilled Plant-based "Bacon Cheeseburger" Meal

Grilled Plant-based “Bacon Cheeseburger” Meal

While the soy patty didn’t seem to attempt to mimic beef, it still carried a small hint of charred flavor. Whether that came from the patty itself or the way it was prepared, I don’t know. But it was surprisingly tasty.

Closeup on cheese, "bacon," mushrooms and onions

Closeup on cheese, “bacon,” mushrooms and onions

I didn’t get much one way or the other from the “bacon,” but the vegan cheddar cheese, while not as creamy as regular cheese, carried a good, strong, genuine cheddar flavor. It all came together really well, and I was kind of surprised to find myself reaching for it more than a few times throughout the meal. I’d really be curious to know what some of our vegan readers might think of it.

Time for dessert!

Dessert Menu

Dessert Menu

Or perhaps an after dinner drink?

Dessert Drinks

Dessert Drinks

Dessert Drinks

Dessert Drinks

There are plenty of Twining’s Tea choices as well.

Tea Menu

Tea Menu

Our first of two desserts was the flourless Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake.

Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake

Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake

Topped with gananche and a milk-coffee Chantilly, this is a great dessert for any chocolate lover, regardless of whether you prefer or are required to dine gluten-free or not.

Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake

Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake

It’s entirely chocolatey and decadent. But if you want a real flavor variety experience, you should go for the Trio of Puddings.

Trio of Puddings

Trio of Puddings

You can mix-and-match the mix-ins as you like, but going down the line you’ll see chocolate pound cake pieces (that are more like an English biscuit) in front of Butterscotch Pudding, meringue kisses and raspberries in front of Blackberry Pudding, and ladyfingers in front of Chocolate Pudding.

Not only is this fun, it’s also unexpected. The Chocolate Pudding, with a heavy emphasis on the cocoa flavor, was the least risky of the bunch. But the Blackberry Pudding was so bright and fruity that it tasted more like a fresh sorbet than pudding (it was especially great with both the meringue kisses and the chocolate pound cake).

Pudding Trio

Pudding Trio

And the Butterscotch Pudding had more than a hint of boozy flavor. It tastes like butterscotch schnapps mixed with a creme liqueur, and I wish all puddings tasted just like it.

Pudding Trio

Pudding Trio

It was fun to enjoy something that had obviously had more thought and creativity put behind it than the simple “Trio of Puddings” name implies. I wasn’t expecting it to be such a highlight, but it was.

Nosh or Not?

You’ll want to visit the Ale & Compass Restaurant if:

  • You’re staying at the Yacht or Beach Club and want to take full advantage of the Resorts’ refreshed dining options.
  • You are interested in vegan dining options and want to try out a Disney World restaurant that serves complete meal options for you.
  • You are seeking a spot that emphasizes seafood, but is still just one credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

You might want to skip the Ale & Compass Restaurant if:

  • You prefer a more immersive, highly themed atmosphere when dining in the Disney World Resort restaurants, such as Olivia’s Cafe, ‘Ohana, or Whispering Canyon Cafe.
  • You have several members in your traveling party who aren’t fans of seafood.
  • The Yacht Club (an Epcot Area Resort) is too far out of the way when considering your vacation plans.

Overall

I’m realizing that I said, “I wasn’t expecting…” more than once in this post. In all honestly, though, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting from the Ale & Compass Restaurant. I have something of a soft spot for the old Captain’s Grille, and was sad to hear of the plans for closing and replacing it. But Ale & Compass, taken as its own unique experience, has a lot to offer. It’s much more than a “hey-we-need-a-table-service-place-for-our-resort-guests-to-eat” afterthought. There is lots of thoughtful variety on the menu to feed everyone from landlubbers to seafood lovers to vegans. And while the atmosphere isn’t highly themed or particularly memorable, it’s certainly a pleasant place to enjoy a meal, and I’m already interested to see what breakfast and dinner holds at the Ale & Compass.

The Ale & Compass Restaurant accepts the Disney Dining Plan, and can currently be booked as an option for the Candlelight Processional Dining Package for the Epcot Festival of the Holidays.

Are you hoping to try the new Ale & Compass Restaurant? Please let us know with a comment!

 

Comments

  1. says

    Thank you so much for posting the menus! Despite living locally for 15 years, we’ve never eaten at the Captain’s Grille since it offered little for us vegetarians, lol. SO excited to see the breakfast & dinner veggie protein bowls, and a plant based (veggie) “bacon cheeseburger”? That is just awesome!!! Will go try all of these for sure.

  2. Gigi says

    So glad that they have the Beyond burgers! But, that multigrain bread looks pretty…blah. Hoping I can switch it out for the regular burger roll.

  3. Mary Crocker says

    We have reservations for breakfast here in about a week, we are really looking forward to it. Thanks so much for your review and the pictures. I agree, the new look is very tranquil and soothing.

  4. Russ says

    Glad they refurbished this place, because located in a deluxe resort the Captain’s Grille had dated decor and a mediocre menu. Hope they also restaffed because the service wasn’t that great the last time I was there. The server was upset that we were on the Disney Dining Plan and kept freaking out that we wouldn’t tip him. I’m sure that’s from past experience, but he got seriously annoying about it by the end of the meal.

  5. Beth says

    Did you happen to ask about their allergy menu? The stuff looks awesome, but being gluten-free, I don’t know what would be available to me.

  6. DFB Sarah says

    Gigi, I agree the bread looks a little weak (although I do love a grain!). I suspect the reason they use it versus using the burger buns is because the burger buns are enriched with milk and/or egg and/or butter… But if that’s not a concern, totally ask!

  7. Amanda Y. says

    Would like to know about the allergy menu offerings? Also, is breakfast only a la carte now? No buffet?

  8. says

    I am SO heading over here to try those vegan options!!! So excited that WDW is really incorporating way more for us plant-based eaters. :)

  9. DFB Sarah says

    Amanda, it appears breakfast is only a la carte. We haven’t seen the allergy menus but will update when we do!

  10. Gramma says

    Tried the Ale and Compass–not really impressed. The Maine Lobster Roll is over-rated, especially if one is from Maine. The roll was not a single one, as you depict–it was two of the so-called Parker House rolls that had not been separated. Those are not true Parker House rolls–I know, because my mother made them often.
    Perhaps the well-known chef could check out how they should be made? Parker House in Boston?
    The young waiter was great at promoting the chef and his menu.

  11. Debbie from Florida says

    I’m very disappointed that the breakfast buffet is gone – the kids looked forward to it every visit and I will miss my iceberg wedge – theirs was the best and many other dishes from lunch and dinner.- well be there for a week in March and will have to find some other new choices for meals- new is good, I guess??

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