Posts Tagged by short rib

Friday Feast: Jiko

01 Jiko_Sign

I’ve visited Jiko a few times over the years, but I have recently discovered a love for this restaurant. Not only is it located at one of my favorite hotels, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the food is just beyond amazing. B and I ate here once and he wasn’t as big a fan as I was, so who better to bring back for an amazing meal than your best girlfriend. Enter Amanda….my foodie partner in crime! We had 2 amazing meals here this year and now Jiko is our favorite dining location in Walt Disney World. In fact, Amanda is celebrating her Mom’s birthday there tonight…Happy Birthday Mom!

Partners in Crime :)

Partners in Food Crime 🙂

Our favorite place to eat at Jiko is the Chef’s Counter. There are six seats here that overlook their partial show kitchen where they make all of the appetizers. This includes the flatbreads which are cooked one of the super hot brick ovens. The ovens get up to 685 degrees and only take 5 minutes to cook the flatbreads! The chefs (most of them) are very friendly and happy to answer any of your questions. If you’re a foodie, this is a great place to become more immersed in your meal.

00 Jiko_Chef's Counter

Chef’s Counter!

00 Jiko_FlatbreadsSo let’s dive in! Many are hesitant about dining at Jiko because of the “exotic” cuisine. But in reality, it’s not all that exotic and just purely delicious. Here are some of the menu options:

Jiko Apps

Jiko Apps

Jiko Soups & Entrees

Jiko Soups & Entrees

Ok, some of the ingredients might be strange and unusual, but just give it a chance. How can you go wrong with this amazing bread and butter to start?! There are two kinds of bread, honey wheat and rye focaccia with flax seeds, and the butter is a sundried tomato butter combined with cilantro, turmeric and ginger. Yes, it’s amazingly delicious. Oh and if you have an egg sensitivity like I do, let them know and they will separate the bread for you…pretty cool!

Honey Wheat Bread includes eggs

Honey Wheat Bread
includes eggs

Rye Bread egg-free

Rye Focaccia
egg-free

On both visits, Amanda and I split the same appetizers. After having the Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin for the first time, I’ve pretty much been dreaming about it ever since. The meat is insanely tender, the pap (a traditional African corn porridge) is amazingly creamy and the spices are insane. This tiny little appetizer packs a flavorful punch!

06 Jiko_Wild Boar

Amanda and I are cheese addicts…if there’s a cheese plate on the menu, we’re getting it! Jiko has a great one with some interesting accouterments, including a date and mango jam, ground pumpkin seeds, plum gelee and a honey crisp.

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate

08 Jiko_Cheese MenuMouth watering yet? Let’s move on to the entrees. The most famous entree at Jiko is their Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. When the restaurant first opened, it came with an amazing Mac & Cheese. The menu was changed to the current Spoonbread Souffle, which I’m sure is good, but no comparison to the Mac & Cheese. Good news, you can still request it and the kitchen is happy to oblige!

011 Jiko_Filet

Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon with Mac & Cheese

If you’re a fan of beef, you might also like the Short Ribs. These are perfectly tender, but beware that they are quite spicy. Amanda ordered this on our first visit and while I thought the beef was good, it was a bit too spicy for me.

013 Jiko_Short Ribs

Spicy Beef Short Rib

On our second visit, we both went the seafood route at the suggestion of our amazing waiter Hassan (who we had both times!). I was ready to get the Filet Mignon again, but was also intrigued by the Yellow Snapper. And I’m so glad he convinced me to go with that! The Pan-seared Yellow Snapper with Tea-smoked Lentils is beyond amazing. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was probably the best dish I’ve had in WDW. The sauce is a Citrus-Curry Beurre Blanc and if I could put this on everything I would. Basically, order this dish….

Yellow Snapper

Yellow Snapper

Tea-Smoked Lentils with the Yellow Snapper

Tea-Smoked Lentils with the Yellow Snapper

Sigh…I want that right now. Amanda ordered another delicious seafood dish, West African “Jerked” Scallops. Girl likes the spicy stuff! These were very good and I particularly enjoyed the Coconut Curry Sauce. However the baby carrots were very underdone and hard to eat…boo.

012 Jiko_Scallops

Jerked Scallops

Well there’s always room for dessert, right? Jiko has a very interesting dessert and after dinner drink menu, and me, I’m more partial to liquid desserts.

Dessert Menu

Dessert Menu

Dessert Cocktail & Coffee Menu

Dessert Cocktail & Coffee Menu

Most of the desserts have eggs, so I steered clear of those. But Amanda raved about both the Coffee Creme Brûlée and the Chocolate Cake. They look delicious!

Kenyan Coffee Creme Brulee

Kenyan Coffee Creme Brûlée

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Cinnamon-Chocolate Flourless Cake

I did try their sorbets, Coconut and I can’t remember the 2nd flavor!, which were quite good. Great egg-free option!

Sorbet

Sorbet

Now the after dinner drinks…I tried both the Zebratini and the Nutty African. YUM! The Zebratini was a bit too sweet for me, but the Nutty African was right up my alley!

Zebratini

Zebratini

Nutty African

Nutty African

Yowza…that’s a good meal! I wish I was there right now! Look how happy I was after my last meal there…

Pure Contentment

Pure Contentment

Have you eaten at Jiko? What is your favorite dish there?

Friday Feast: Yachtsman Steakhouse

It had been at least 20 years since I last ate at Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club Resort and I’ve been wanting to go back after reading some stellar reviews lately.  We were able to get an early reservation during Marathon Weekend and I was excited to get my protein on before the race!  My Mom and her husband R were able to join us, which made the dinner even more special.

When you first enter the restaurant you can’t help but notice the large open kitchen where you can see all the chefs hard at work.  This sort of “show kitchen” is very popular at Walt Disney World and you can find it at most signature dining locations.  I love it because of the accessibility to the chefs.  They are always so friendly and open to talking to you about your meal.

Chef's busy at work

Chef’s busy at work

As we were passing by, I noticed these giant black truffles waiting to be shaved into the next dish.  I really had to resist the urge to grab one 😉

Black Truffle Deliciousness!

Black Truffle Deliciousness!

The dining room is vast with a few smaller alcoves off to the sides.  There is a simple, nautical theme that fits perfectly into the theme of the entire resort.

Interior_1Interior_2Interior_3

We were seated in one of the alcoves that seemed a bit quieter than the main area of the dining room.  I liked this a lot, as it allowed for easier conversation.  The menu is your typical steakhouse fare with some unique offerings thrown in, such as Duck Two Ways and a Ricotta Cavatelli that sounded divine!

Appetizers

Appetizers

Entrees

Entrees

Sides

Sides

I told the waiter about my food sensitivities (gluten, egg, squash & cucumber) and he brought the chef out right away.  I can’t say it enough…Disney is the BEST at making accommodations for dietary restrictions.  He asked me what I was thinking about having and he assured me that all of my choices would be fine.  I was debating on a few different things so the waiter took our drink order and left us to contemplate.

Grey Goose Martini...my usual

Grey Goose Martini…my usual

With our drinks came a delicious looking bread basket that was served with roasted garlic.  Unfortunately their gluten free rolls were not egg free, so I had to bypass on the bread all together.  I really almost threw everything out the window to just dive into those yummy ciabatta rolls and slather it with roasted garlic.  The smell was ridiculous!

Look at that garlic!

Look at that garlic!

B, my Mom and I all ordered the Lobster Bisque for an appetizer.  I love a good bisque and I had a feeling this one wouldn’t disappoint…it didn’t.  It was thick and rich with big chunks of lobster.  So rich in fact, B couldn’t even finish his bowl!  It was served with an Herbes de Provence Biscotti and Roe Chantilly.  Mine was served without the biscotti, but I don’t feel like I missed out on that.

Lobster Bisque with Biscotti

Lobster Bisque with Biscotti

Lobster Bisque without Biscotti

Lobster Bisque without Biscotti

Now on to the entrees!  I was going back and forth between the Filet Mignon, Short Rib, and Striped Bass.  I finally decided on the Braised Short Rib.  This is one of my favorite cuts of beef and I just couldn’t pass it up.  It is served with baby root vegetables, a glazed heirloom apple and natural jus.  The chef assured me that all of their sauces were thickened naturally by slowly reducing them.  No flour thickeners here!

Braised Short Ribs with Baby Root Vegetables, Heirloom Apple and Natural Jus

Braised Short Ribs with Baby Root Vegetables, Heirloom Apple and Natural Jus

I had mixed feelings about the dish overall.  The short ribs and jus were delicious.  They perfectly melted in my mouth like a properly cooked short rib should.  Sadly, the sides fell a bit flat on this dish.  The baby root vegetable were rock hard and seemed to be barely cooked.  This was a disappointment because I’m a huge fan of root veggies.  The apple was ok, but didn’t tie in well with the rest of the dish and I didn’t like that the skin was left on.

B ordered the Filet Mignon, which I was happy about since this was one of my choices I was deciding between.  It is an 8-oz. filet served with mashed potatoes and a Cabernet wine sauce.

Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes and Cabernet Wine Sauce

Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes and Cabernet Wine Sauce

Like my short rib, the filet and the sauce were wonderful.  I was actually a bit disappointed that I didn’t order this.  The potatoes on the other hand were less than stellar.  They were VERY salty and a bit thick.  A nice creamy potato puree would’ve been nicer.  Seeing that this didn’t come with any vegetables, we probably should’ve ordered some carrots or creamed spinach for the table.

Mom is a big fan of duck, so she went with the Duck Two Ways.  The two preparations are a roasted duck breast and duck confit.  It comes with a celeriac puree, roasted chestnuts, kumquats and a port jus.

Duck Two Ways with Celeriac Puree, Roasted Chestnuts, Kumquats and Port Jus

Duck Two Ways with Celeriac Puree, Roasted Chestnuts, Kumquats and Port Jus

As Mom cut into the duck breast, she commented that it was very rare.  Duck is supposed to be on the pink side, but this was a bit much.  She asked the waiter if it was typically served this rare, to which he quickly responded “oh wow, no” and took the plate away.  The manager came over to apologize and shortly there after she was brought a new dish.  This time the duck was cooked perfectly.  I’m not a huge fan, but I tried it and it was really good!  A+ for customer service Yachtsman, A+.

Lastly, R ordered the Calico Bay Scallops appetizer for his entree.  They were more than happy to accommodate this in a larger entree size.  The scallops came in a “Chowda” sauce with oyster crackers, fennel, capers and chorizo.  Anything with chorizo sounds good to me!

Calico Bay Scallops in a "Chowda' Sauce with Oyster Crackers, Fennel, Capers and Chorizo

Calico Bay Scallops in a “Chowda’ Sauce with Oyster Crackers, Fennel, Capers and Chorizo

This dish was the clear winner at the table.  Go figure…the seafood dish at the steakhouse wins.

So I have mixed feelings about Yachtsman.  Some things were great, some were mediocre and some were disappointing.  I wish this was more of an “a la carte” steakhouse where your order your cut of meat then get various sides for the table.

I think I will definitely go back and give it another try, but maybe stick with the NY Strip Steak and a bunch of sides.  Those Roasted Brussel Sprouts with fondue and Asian pears sound ridiculous!  Why didn’t I order those???

Have you eaten at Yachtsman Steakhouse?