Google+ Followers

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Steakhouse of one's dreams

     Ever since fellow blogger and fervent Disney investor Joshua Kennon wrote with praise about his visit, I have wanted to go to the Yachtsman Steakhouse.  This restaurant, which opens only for dinner, is located within the Yacht Club Resort, in the Epcot area of Walt Disney World. 


     Because I am local to the area, I have been around Epcot a few times, yet it required the use of my faithful GPS to arrive at the place.  The resort is themed as a typical Maine yacht club.  The entrance to the restaurant is not grandiose, and the décor and general ambiance are quite unassuming, yet the quality of the food offered is prime, and the service efficient.  One can hardly expect this to be a high-end restaurant by its looks, especially by the way the clientele dresses (I think Disney should emphasize the importance of dress code even more for this place).


The restaurant’s main dining room faces the pool area of the 
resort, and showcases an especially made, wooden chandelier.  
The window theme just above gives the feeling of typical Maine 
construction close to the seashore.
    When I arrived I was asked to wait for a few minutes while my table was getting ready in an area facing a frigorific with prime cuts of meat aged to improve flavor.  If I wasn’t very hungry at the time, the view certainly woke up my taste buds.


     My first choice was an aperitif plate of a most excellent charcuterie.  The selection consisted of a bacon-wrapped boar terrine, which was cooked to perfection with pieces of aged Gouda, dried cherries and pistachios.  It was flavored with ginger, mace and clove, which gave the terrine a unique balance of sweet and savory, all wrapped in heavenly smoked bacon.

     There was also a truffled sucling pig pie, very much as it is traditional in England, baked in pastry and served with little cubes of port gelée.  The gelée homogenized the dish together within the mouth, providing the perfect measure of flavor, whilst each and every component could still be identified.  Perhaps my favorite was the warm lardo toast, served on sourdough and garnished with arugula, pickled onions and parmesan shavings.  Lardo is an Italian specialty, where the fat of the pig is hand-rubbed with salt and cured with spices (in this case peppercorns and rosemary), and then aged.  The Yachtsman’s ages theirs for 2 months, and the result is the best lardo you would try out of Italy.

     The Spanish style chorizo had large chunks of pork, heavily spiced with pimentón (sweet Spanish paprika), garlic and cumin, and reminded me of the likes of my mother, who always had some at hand to snack on.  The one thing I did not find it quite belonged on this selection was the beef merguez sausage, an African specialty which is not really charcuterie (charcuterie to me is always pork, pork and more pork).  Yet everything else was so good, it did not deter to the excellency of the dish. Grainy mustard and pickles were succinctly placed as accompaniments, as well as the warm bread basket and butter with roasted garlic to make a proper amuse-bouche.  I chose a dark ale to wash down all that amazing goodness!


The bread basket comes with a slab of salted butter and half a roasted garlic.
It was perfect to pair with the charcuterie plate.
     Since this is a steakhouse, the main course was, of course, steak.  The menu offers several prime cuts at an also very prime price.  I went for the biggest one, a 16 oz. Boneless Rib-Eye, perfectly charbroiled to medium-rare.  It was topped with a touch of Point Reyes blue cheese butter and served with a halved bone with richly exposed marrow which, in turn, could be perfectly sucked up by imbibing the sweet brioche herbed roll it came with.  Very few times I have had meat this good, and so well accompanied and perfectly served.  It was undoubtedly a succulent dish, yet it was not heavy.  The waiter poured me a glass of Château Aney Cabernet, but there are also exclusive wines like Caymus to accompany the excellent cuts of meat served.  I chose this light red that was more herbal than fruity, somewhat creamy and quite unobtrusive to the flavors of the meat.


     The desserts are presented as a composite.  I tried two.  The apple profiterole had no sugar added, and it was light and fruity and everything a dainty dessert should be.  The profiterole had the texture almost of a macaroon, with a floral apple mousse inside.  It was surrounded with caramel apple crunch, alongside a quenelle of chopped rosy apple and a tuille made out of Cheddar cheese.  The latter provided the cheese note to the end of a heavy meal, without actually having eaten any cheese.  Small drops of chocolate and raspberry sauces framed the dish as in a painting.


     My second choice just had to include some chocolate, particularly after such a rich meal.  Again, a perfectly light dessert of a single rectangular slice of chocolate cheesecake, topped with chocolate ganache and accompanied by a purée of Asian pears and a quenelle of butter walnut ice-cream.


    Undoubtedly, the Yachtsman’s Steakhouse is a restaurant to talk about.  The service is quite competent.  Waiters recommend dishes diligently and they know how to pour wine to taste it first.  One can tell they are gourmets themselves.  You should take anyone there who you want to impress, but also knows how to savor the indulgences of a good meal.  I cannot overemphasize reservations, which should be made well in advance.  You won’t get in otherwise.