It’s time to visit Frontera Cocina once again!
Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless opened Frontera Cocina in the Town Center of Disney Springs just over two years ago. In addition to his restaurant ventures, Chef Bayless is also well known as the host of the PBS show “Mexico—One Plate at a Time.” And Frontera Cocina keeps the focus on authentic Mexican cuisine.
On this visit, we were able to try items from a new specialty menu: the Taste of Yucatan! Additionally, we were also able to sample new items recently added to the regular menu while we were guests at this Media Event.
It really is a pleasure to step back into this colorful, charming space.
And it’s even better when Chef Bayless himself is there!
We’ll start with the new, limited time Taste of Yucatan menu.
The Taste of Yucatan menu features a la carte items (as opposed to a prix fixe menu), so as long as these items are available you can mix and match with items from the regular menu as well. And we’ll be taking a look at some new items on the regular menu, too. But we’ll start with items specific to the Taste of Yucatan menu as seen above.
We’ll start with the Featured Drinks, which include the Spicy Yucatan Margarita: Milagro blanco tequila, achiote cordial, Ancho Reyes liqueur, fresh lime-orange juice, and habanero bitters.
Rather than being spicy (in my opinion), I found it to be very smooth with its unique flavors.
My favorite of the two drinks we tried was La Peninsula, which mixes Montelobos joven mescal with dragon fruit, Huana Maya guanabana rum liqueur, agave nectar, and ginger reduction.
Outside of its gorgeous and vivid color, it’s VERY smoky — and I loved the sweet-and-smoky combo.
However, you really do need to have a taste for that smoky flavor (which I do!) to enjoy this, since it’s prominent.
The starter option is the Mango Guacamole.
This colorful creation takes the super creamy guacamole that Frontera Cocina already does very well, and enhances it with roasted tomatillo, chunks of fresh mango, Tajin (chili-lime spice), cilantro, and red onion.
The additions deliver a really nice tang to the guacamole, and it was absolutely delicious. Our server also informed us that all guacamole starters (including this new one) come with the smoky chipotle and herby salsa as well.
Of the two entrees, we’ll start with the Spicy Grilled Yucatan Swordfish, and this is a solid choice for seafood lovers.
The tasty coating and seasoning were brought to the forefront by the lovely sear and texture. It’s very flavorful and enjoyable.
Cochinita Pibil was one of my favorites of the night.
The pork was super tender, and the habanero salsa served with it is CRAZY spicy and so good!
An absolute highlight of the new menu for me was the Mango Sorbet dessert, which is drizzled with a spicy-tangy chamoy sauce.
Personally, I simply enjoyed how cool, fruity, and refreshing the dessert was. But Chef Bayless shared that when the staff tried it — specifically those with Mexican families or backgrounds — they had big smiles on their faces because it reminded them of their childhoods.
Now we’ll move on to the new offerings on the regular menu. You’ll find the Toto Elotes under the Starters. Fresh chips are topped with roasted corn, lime crema, and red chile Cotija cheese.
This was another favorite of the night! Super flavorful and simply awesome, this is Frontera Cocina’s version of the popular Mexican street corn as a sharable appetizer.
The Beet Mango Salad is the newest of the three salads you’ll find on the menu. It’s made of roasted beets, Mexican mangos, “little gem” lettuces, goat cheese, crunchy pumpkin seeds, red onion, and a chipotle agave dressing.
It’s a good salad, but not particularly memorable. Though I did enjoy the crunch and texture from the pumpkin seeds, lending it a bit of a unique quality.
The Grilled Hatch Green Chile Chicken for Making Soft Tacos (yep, that’s the name!) takes grilled chicken and tops it with Hatch green chile crema, caramelized onions, refried black beans with queso fresco, guacamole, and tomatillo salsa. It’s served with warm tortillas.
I thought both the chicken and tomatillo salsa were terrific.
But the beans and rice — just sort of meh — didn’t stand up to the tastiness of the chicken.
A vegetarian option along those same lines is the Roasted Vegetables a la Mexicana for Making Soft Tacos, with grilled calabacitas, roasted corn, poblano lime crema, Cojita cheese, cilantro, and refried red beans. Naturally, this is also served with warm corn tortillas.
Chef Bayless said it was reminiscent of the way his grandmother used to prepare these in that she would just put everything on the table and each family member would make their own tacos.
I actually enjoyed this one more than the chicken version, finding the garlicky beans to be really flavorful, and just a better dish overall.
Finally, the Chipotle Shrimp dish is comprised of pan-roasted Florida Pink Shrimp, spicy chipotle salsa, roasted calabacitas, avocado, Cotija, cilantro and onions, plantain rice, and warm corn tortillas.
The shrimp were juicy and tasty, but in comparison to the pork dish from the Yucatan menu, this overall dish was just okay.
Still, all in all I’d have to say I was pleased with both the Yucatan menu and the new regular menu items! These offer more great choices to an already solid menu at Frontera Cocina.
Frontera Cocina is located in the Town Center of Disney Springs, and you can take a tour of all of the restaurants in the area — including Frontera Cocina — in our DFB YouTube Video!