Hear Ye, Hear Ye
… there have been some recent additions to the menu at everyone’s favorite Publick Dining Room: Liberty Inn, found in Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion!
It’s time to strap on your tri-corner hat and buckled shoes (‘cuz I know you’ve got those handy!) and get ready to travel back to colonial times to check out some of the contemporary fare at this Counter Service option.
True, it’s primarily known as a place to grab a quick burger and fries or a hot dog. So it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re tempted to ask, “Why stop at Liberty Inn when there are so many unique options all around World Showcase?” Well, as mentioned, they’re changing things up a bit, and I must say I’m somewhat intrigued with the direction things are going…
Come on in!
Even if you’ve never stepped into Liberty Inn (and it’s somewhat easy to miss, blending into the back of the Pavilion), you likely won’t be surprised to know that the atmosphere reflects the colonial era, since that’s the general feel of the rest of the Pavilion. The place where this themeing is most evident is the collection of the thirteen original colony flags lining the brick wall.
Add a few touches such as candle “lanterns,” and you’re all set for time travel.
With ample natural light streaming in from the huge windows, white trim, and high ceilings, the indoor seating area always reminds me a little bit of the beauty of Crystal Palace.
I gotta say, the iron chairs aren’t exactly the comfiest in all the World, but they do fit that “conservatory” feel.
Moving back to the wall of flags, I made sure to snap a picture of the Maryland flag specifically, since I chose an entree honoring this state.
And with that, I guess now is as good a time as any to explore the new menu options!
Here’s the rundown of the updated menu! Among the “regulars,” you’ll still find the New York Strip Steak, and, of course, a good ol’ Bacon Cheeseburger. The “Chick’n” Breast continues to provide a vegetarian protein option.
New to the menu is the Surf and Turf Burger (a burger topped with a Crab Cake), Lousiana-style Shrimp (shrimp served with a Cajun tomato broth and served over rice with peppers and onions), and the Red, White and Blue Salad made of field greens, Craisins, pecans, apples, and Blue Cheese, all mixed with a Sherry Vinaigrette.
Also new to the menu are Maryland Crab Cakes topped with Spicy Tartar Sauce and served with Old Bay Fries. Like any other self-respecting east coaster, my choice was made the minute I read the words “Old Bay Fries.” Here we go…
Before I go off on an Old Bay tangent, clearly the main component here is the Maryland Crab Cakes, topped with Spicy Tartar. There are some highlights and lowlights here — let’s cover the lows first.
I’m used to a thicker crab cake — these are definitely on the thin side. Because they are thin, the breading (which I found to be slightly over-seasoned) overwhelmed the crab a bit.
But the good news is that, yes, it is real crab meat (as opposed to imitation), and once you dig in, the meat tastes good, and does a fair job of representing Maryland’s star dish. I bet it would go well on that new Surf and Turf Burger, too.
The Spicy Tartar has a nice little kick, but is by no means hot. However, even though it is tasty and a fun idea (basically a regular mayonnaise-based tartar with a little heat), I would have preferred it on the side — again, just due to that less-is-more preference here. It’s an accompaniment that I feel would work really well as an option to have with fried fish, actually.
Are they best crab cakes I’ve ever had? No, for the reasons mentioned above. But I still think it’s a fun counter service option.
Next, I was happy to receive a very hearty helping of those Old Bay Fries. Basically, if you’ve ever lived in an area where you can find “Crab Chips” (potato chips seasoned with Old Bay) in your local grocery or convenience stores, then you likely understand what a thing of beauty this is.
For those less familiar with Old Bay, it’s a mix of about 18 herbs and spices (primarily paprika, dry mustard, and celery salt). The exact, official recipe is a McCormick secret, but it’s a deeply loved blend that is primarily used on seafood. Old Bay diehards, however, can come up with about a bajillion other uses, and I find potatoes to be just about the perfect conduit — though corn on the cob is a close second!
Anyway, I found these fries to be seasoned just right — not overdone, but plenty of that spicy goodness to go around the whole batch. These were more of the star of the show, for me, than the Crab Cakes. But as a whole, I enjoyed the entree along with the option for a little more variety at Liberty Inn.
Liberty Inn is often seen as a place to go to appease young or less adventurous eaters who aren’t very tempted by the other offerings around World Showcase. But I like the new additions and appreciate the attempt at honoring a few American classics that are more than burgers and fries. Though it’s currently just a couple of new items (the Crab Cakes along with the Louisiana Shrimp), I think it would be really cool to see this idea expanded.
What do you think? Just for fun: would you have any ideas from your home state or region to add to the menu? (And for our purposes, we’re not limiting this conversation to the original thirteen colonies here 😉 ). Speaking just for myself, I know I tend to overlook the huge variety and influences involved in American cuisine when I’m in Epcot, and I think it’s cool how the Liberty Inn is trying to reflect a bit of regional fare while keeping the staples.
What do you think of the new items at Liberty Inn? Please let us know with a comment!