Guest author Rebecca Dolan returns today with a restaurant review from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Let’s join her at The Hollywood Brown Derby!
Hollywood Brown Derby
Recalling the golden days of Tinseltown, The Hollywood Brown Derby sits just beyond where Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards converge.
A replica of the once iconic California restaurant, where famous faces of the day met to see and be seen, it exudes ‘30s/’40s style. “Meet me at the Derby” and let your inner star or starlet shine.
The restaurant is located in a Mission-style building complete with tile roof and crawling bougainvillea. The building is fairly understated, but a neon Derby sign on the roof gives it away. A long awning-covered walkway leads the way into the small check in area. It’s in here that guests get their first glimpse of the Derby’s iconic caricatures. Everyone who was anyone was represented on the walls – see how many stars you can spot.
Beyond the hostess desk, guests emerge from the unassuming lobby into the cavernous dining room, which feels like entering into a glamorous Hollywood club. The main floor is flanked on two sides by double rows of booths, the outer two being raised above the rest of the room.
Large art deco-esque chandeliers light the room and rich wood accents the walls. Entrants step first onto one of the overlooks, allowing a full view of their dining companions – famous or otherwise.
The constellation of stars’ caricatures continues onto these walls, from which bronze derby lamps hang over tables.
If you can, try to take a seat in one of the rounded booths – perfect for canoodling with your Hollywood heartthrob or generally enjoying a touch of seclusion.
The Brown Derby’s contemporary American menu isn’t lengthy, but provides a nice amount of variety. Don’t be put off by the level of detail when it comes to its descriptions; the food’s not too hoity toity. (Note: This is a two-credit restaurant on the Disney Dining Plan.)
As this is the birthplace of the Cobb salad, it felt like a must to order the appetizer size as one of our starters. It won’t look like a typical salad, however, since the lettuce and the toppings are all chopped so finely you could, no kidding, eat this salad with a spoon. The kitchen is generous with said toppings; so two people could eat this comfortably.
The lobster bisque was a bit on the salty side, and nothing too exciting. I’ll give it points for being the thickest lobster bisque I’ve ever had. Don’t expect true ravioli to be floating on top, the “ravioli” were more like little dumplings.
The clear winner in the appetizer category was the andouille-crusted prawn, which sat on a bed of greens and grits. This dish stole this Southern gal’s heart, and I would like to lobby the restaurant for an entrée version.
The large shrimp was perfectly cooked, the greens tender, and the grits creamy. There’s only enough here for one, so don’t plan on sharing!
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