Last week we gave you a First Look…
… and now we’re back with our full review of STK Orlando, the newest dining venue in Disney Springs!
STK Orlando is the latest addition to the list of Signature Dining restaurants in Disney Springs, which also includes Morimoto Asia and The Boathouse (with Paddlefish and The Edison still on the way).
But STK hasn’t only joined the dining line-up in Disney World — the Orlando location also joins fellow STK restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and D.C., with more to come.
So let’s see how STK’s big city vibe fits into Disney World’s shopping, dining, and entertainment district with our first visit for dinner at STK Orlando!
If you checked out our First Look, you already know that STK Orlando is located in the The Landing of Disney Springs; however, the location is easily viewed from the area’s new Town Center. Here is the view as you approach from the Orange Parking Garage.
The exterior, therefore, fits right in while retaining its own unique look, with its resemblance to a refurbished train station from the early 1900s.
Once you climb the stairs leading you to the front of the restaurant, you’ll see STK among its more familiar neighbors.
You’ll also notice one of the opportunities for outdoor dining with the tables lining the walkway.
Once you’re inside, the vibe immediately transitions from charming refurbished train station to urban sleek.
From the front desk, there are two dining areas immediately to your right (this is a change from the preview event we attended, when one of the dining areas was cleared of tables). Clean lines, white tables and dark floors define them both.
Stunning floral arrangements, Bocci pendant lighting fixtures, and STK’s signature ceramic longhorns provide the accents.
Two more key fixtures set the scene downstairs: first, one of the two bar areas.
And second, the DJ! I assume there will be a variety of DJs providing music at STK Orlando, but our evening was filled with super fun 70s and 80s tracks with dance beats behind them. (This won’t be the last time we discuss the music, though, as it plays an important factor in your experience.)
Now, we’ll take a trip upstairs to check out the scene (just FYI, elevator access is available as well).
The upstairs indoor dining room includes a second bar and further seating for full dining. Overall, the feel is more casual and relaxed, while still providing an upscale setting and stellar service.
But I think the area most people are excited to see is the open patio dining area on the second floor. Fortunately, it doesn’t disappoint…
We didn’t really get a feel for this space during the preview event since it wasn’t arranged for dining. But we are happy to say that the day-to-day arrangements for this area are pretty great, offering some terrific views (it also helped that the weather was just about perfect on the night of our visit).
Oh, and if you’re curious about what’s in the building’s rounded turrets, here’s what you’ll find on the second floor — an open air fire pit surrounded by high-top table seating.
I have to admit, I didn’t think there would be a lot to look at from here, but the new Town Center and recent additions to The Landing have really changed things around these parts!
And it’s funny, because obviously Disney Springs is not a huge city, but the patio really does offer a nice bit of that urban, night-on-the-town feel.
Aside from the views, the other key difference between downstairs and upstairs is the volume of the music. The DJ’s tunes are piped throughout the building, but the volume is kept at lower levels upstairs, so you can more easily manage a conversation with your traveling companions. When you’re downstairs (which is where our meal took place), the volume of music increases throughout the evening — in fact, you’re even encouraged to get up and dance if you’d like. At 5:00 pm when we arrived I thought the levels were pretty average, but as the evening went on there were moments when my friends and I were yell-talking to each other to be heard.
Basically, if you’re looking for a high-energy party atmosphere with a chance to kick your heels a bit, downstairs is your place. If you’re hoping to enjoy conversation with your friends and family, upstairs is your better bet. (If you’d like to sit in a specific spot, our server advised that it’s best to call STK Orlando directly to make your reservation, noting your request. Though seating in your preferred area can’t be guaranteed, the staff will do their best to accommodate requests.)
Okay! This is a steakhouse, isn’t it? So let’s dig in…
Your meal at STK starts with complimentary bread. A batch of incredibly soft rolls topped with STK’s Blue Butter (melted blue cheese butter) is served with a small dish of pesto for dipping.
Don’t let the blue cheese deter you if you aren’t a fan of the flavor. I’m not, but it’s not prominent here and the bread is delicious. It stands on its own without the pesto.
Before we scoped out the cocktails, we also received water. I know, we don’t typically show you pictures of water here on the DFB 😉 , but I have a reason for it…
I don’t think my water was ever down more than a sip or two during the entire evening. The staff at STK takes good care of its guests. Service was top-notch throughout our meal, from our fun and attentive server to the rest of the management and assisting staff.
That said, we did try some STK Cocktails: the Strawberry Cobbler and the Secret Affair.
Strawberry Cobbler is Belvedere Vodka and fresh muddled strawberry served with a graham cracker rim.
Even with its fun name and sweet rim, the flavors are otherwise simple and direct; this beverage really did taste like fresh strawberries.
The Secret Affair was the more complex of the two, made of Purity Vodka, lime and watermelon, with Tajin chili powder lining the rim and a red chili pepper garnishing the drink.
As anticipated, there is an intense kick from the rim right from the first sip, but eventually it gives way to the milder fruity tastes of the cocktail.
Both beverages struck me as unique, but I’d recommend saving the cocktails for a bar visit instead of a full meal. If you plan to enjoy a drink with your meal I’d suggest pairing your entree with a wine that will enhance the flavors of your entree instead. (There is a full book in addition to this list below.)
We tried a few appetizers next, but I’ll note that at STK you’re asked to order all your food at once, not including dessert. Our server explained that this helped him work together with the kitchen to keep the flow of the meal going (don’t worry — you’ll have plenty of time to explore your choices and ask any questions).
We started with an appetizer exclusive to STK Orlando: the Crispy Rock Shrimp with a chili remoulade.
The really nice thing about this dish was that the golden, crisp breading and the accompanying remoulade both offered delicious flavors and textures, but ultimately neither overpowered the shrimp. I’m not huge into shrimp, but I found these addictive.
We also went with the Lil’ BRGs, a signature STK appetizer. Wagyu beef is topped with a special sauce, caramelized onions, cheese and a tomato on a sesame seed bun.
I can’t say one bad thing about the taste of these burgers — the meat was fresh, tender, and wonderfully flavorful, and the caramelized onions added just the right amount of sweetness.
But here’s what you should know: I think the Lil BRGs look larger in the photograph than they really are. You’ll notice them next to the small side of house made pickles, and they’re actually no wider than that mini condiment dish. You’re paying $20 for two burgers that are… well, really Lil’.
Granted, Wagyu beef is probably some of the best you’ll have anywhere and it’s pricey wherever you go, but I did want you to have a heads-up on the size — these are smaller than your usual sliders, for sure.
Let’s turn our attention to the Entrees.
And why don’t we start with the main event: STeaK 😉 ! Under the “Large” listings of the Steak choices (made for two to share), we chose the 32 ounce Porterhouse. The dish comes to you already sliced… and it’s a beautiful moment when it arrives.
It really was terrific steak — I can’t think of one thing to change. It was prepared exactly to our medium rare request. The char was beautifully done, and the meat was so tender you could easily cut it with a fork.
A friend of mine in our group used to work at Charley’s Steak House, which is consistently rated among the best in the country, and he remarked that this steak was on par with cuts there. The price is $92 for the 32 ounce. I mention that because as a price comparison to other Disney spots, the 32 oz Porterhouse at Yachtsman Steakhouse (aged 21 days) is currently $119, but that one does come with a trio of classic steakhouse sides. If you add three sides to the 32 oz. Porterhouse at STK coming in at $10 each, the total would be $122.
The Porterhouse comes with your choice of two of STK’s eight sauces. You can choose to add any of the offered sauces to an entree for $2, or you can try them all for fun for $12. We did just that (even though, in all honesty, the meat didn’t require any sauce — it tasted great on its own.)
Going clockwise from the left, the lineup is Chimichurri, Béarnaise, Au Poivre, the STK, the same Blue Butter we enjoyed on the bread, Red Wine, Horseradish, and STK Bold.
The standouts were the Blue Butter and the Au Poivre with its outstanding peppercorn flavor. I also really enjoyed the Red Wine sauce, even though it was fairly standard.
The STK signature sauce has a very definite hot kick — it’s like a honey sriracha. The STK Bold, on the other hand, is a more traditional steakhouse sauce with its expected — but certainly strong — Worcestershire and other usual flavors.
Our other entrees included an STK Orlando exclusive: the Florida Grouper served atop Maitake mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, and truffle lobster brown butter.
The Grouper was definitely good and fresh, but I wanted to be much more “wowed” by this dish than I was. That said, the accompaniments were terrific, specifically the tasty mushrooms.
The Glazed Beef Short Rib is served with a unique green apple confit and horseradish cream.
It was fall apart tender with a slightly sweet glaze providing a hint of crisp; simply delicious.
Sides at STK are ordered a la carte and served family style. We couldn’t resist trying the Mac and Cheese since it’s another STK signature dish… and since it’s Mac and Cheese 😉 .
The thick, bubbly layer of cheese on top tasted primarily of a sharp cheddar, and we also picked up on asiago.
It was incredibly rich, and it pained me that I could only handle a few bites because it tasted so good.
I didn’t think there would be anything particularly remarkable about the Parmesan Truffle Fries, but they were a really nice surprise.
I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a potato dish, but these fries are melt-in-your-mouth good. Even when I was convinced I couldn’t take another bite of anything, I made room for a couple more of these.
The biggest hit of the sides, though, may have been the Sweet Corn Pudding. I can’t help but associate this dish with Thanksgiving, but this was like Sweet Corn Pudding from the Best Thanksgiving of My Life.
Now, I LOVE sweet corn, so there’s that. But this comfort dish, with its texture almost like a custard, was nearly more reminiscent of a dessert than a side.
And speaking of Dessert…
… isn’t there always room for ice cream? ICE STK is a mini cone sampler.
Each of the ice creams was hard-packed and tasty, with Cookies and Cream, Birthday Cake, and Rocky Road as the flavors.
A bit of chocolate fudge was the finishing touch in the cones.
Super fun, but a little hard to share — unless there are three in your group, in which case it’s just the small matter of who gets which cone 😉 .
Our server also recommended the Caramelito Bar. The menu description doesn’t tell you much — it just mentions cocoa nib marshmallow and chocolate bavarian cream, but there’s more to it than that. Topped off with a piece of chocolate decorated with the STK logo (sans name), three light layers of marshmallow and mousse are piled on top of a dark chocolate layer that is so dense it’s close to a ganache.
For such light, fluffy layers, it’s very decadent; fortuantely, the generous size is great for sharing. It was a sweet ending to our first meal at STK Orlando.
A few logistics before we leave STK Orlando: in its opening days, STK Orlando was only open for dinner. However, the location began serving lunch as well on May 31st. Advance Dining Reservations can be made via the Walt Disney World website and by calling (407) WDW-DINE for dates beginning June 25th. Guests arriving earlier may reserve via the STK Orlando website or call directly at (407) 917-7440 (and remember, this is the best way to make your reservation if you’d like to note a seating preference).
At the time of this publishing, STK Orlando does not accept the Tables in Wonderland discount, but it does count as a two Table Service credit as a Signature Dining option on the Disney Dining Plan (though it is not currently listed as such on the Disney World website, we confirmed it with our server and a call to the location as well).
Well, the physical AND dining landscape has certainly changed in Disney Springs, hasn’t it? In regards specifically to Signature Dining, STK Orlando joins the more recent offerings of The Boathouse with its high-end yet breezy nautical feel, and Morimoto Asia with its striking contemporary style. Now STK Orlando is offering its own big city vibe right in the heart of Disney Springs, giving guests a taste (ha!) of the new nightlife in the area. Sleek settings, signature service, and tempting dishes could provide all the ingredients for a great evening out for those in the mood for an upscale experience in the new Disney Springs.
Is STK Orlando on your list of future dining destinations? Please let us know with a comment!