Thursday, November 22, 2012

The ?Everything On the Menu!!? Dinner Review ... - Disney Food Blog

Mystery has surrounded the creation of the Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest Restaurant ? Disney?s newest dining location ? since we first saw the Be Our Guest Restaurant concept art!

From the announcement that beer and wine would be served for the first time at a Magic Kingdom restaurant to our most recent Be Our Guest guest review, we?ve explored the Beast?s domain from afar.

Be Our Guest Bridge Entrance

Well, not anymore. I finally was able to dine at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World?s Magic Kingdom! And over the course of several meals I (and my various dining companions) ordered everything on the menu. (Well, the adult menu anyway.) I know how important it is to know what you?re getting when you?re planning your dining in Disney World, and I wanted to be thorough with this one for you guys.

After months (and months) of speculation about the decor and menu, stepping inside Be Our Guest Restaurant was truly exciting.

Be Out Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

After dining there several times this weekend, I?m anxious to bring to you my take on the food, beverages, and decor. So, let?s get started?


Guests begin their experience by checking in at the Bridge entrance ? a bit like a Gatekeeper?s area. This is where you make your requests for a dining room if you?d like ? the Ballroom or West Wing (the Rose Gallery is usually used only for lunch, though some overflow tables are seated there during dinner currently).

Once you?re checked in, you?ll be given a pager and asked to wait on the bridge. Once your page goes off, head toward the large restaurant entrance to be greeted by the Beast?s servant who will take you to your table!

Be Our Guest Restaurant Entry Doors

Beast's Servant Leads Us To Our Table

Once you?re inside the castle, be sure to peek into the Beast?s Study. It?s the room where lunch guests make their orders, and is located right through the hallway where the Knights are all whispering to one another!

In the study, you might see Beast himself greeting his guests!

This was a surprise for those of us dining at the restaurant the first night of reservations. We?d all been told that Beast would not appear, but at 45 minute intervals throughout the evening he walks through the restaurant (with great fanfare and cheering) and then settles in his study to greet guests who have finished dining.

I?m not sure how long this will go on or if it?s just a temporary test during the restaurant?s first week, but hopefully he?ll stick around!

Look to see if the Beast is greeting visitors in his study!

But all of that is for AFTER you?re finished dining. First, let?s get you to your table!

You?ll likely be seated in the Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom, which is the largest dining room (by far) with a grand atmosphere. It?s quite dark in here?and very, VERY loud.


The centerpiece of the room is the painted ceiling, adorned with winged cherubs (which I?m hearing are Imagineers? babies?) and massive chandeliers!

Ballroom Seating

The best part about this room is the lovely snowfall projected outside the windows. Watch it for a while?it?s mesmerizing. You might even see a little flurry!

Snow outside of ballroom

Seating here is comfortable and elegant, with marble tables.

Ballroom Seating

All place settings at Be Our Guest are accentuated with a rose-folded napkin.

Rose napkin at table setting

Now, if you?re up for a cozier atmosphere, consider requesting the West Wing dining room when you check in. I did this for my last meal at Be Our Guest this week and have decided it?s definitely my favorite dining room in the restaurant!

Be Our Guest West Wing Dining Room

If you remember the film, this area was off-limits to Belle when she was in the castle. It held the Enchanted Rose and all of Beast?s belongings. The Enchanted Rose is still enchanted here! Its petals drop throughout the night?

West Wing Enchanted Rose

And when they drop, they signify the time limit the Beast has to break the spell! If he doesn?t find someone to love him before the petals all drop, he will remain the Beast forever!

You can see an intricate example of this in the portrait hanging over the fireplace. The portrait begins as a painting of the Prince.

Prince Portrait in the West Wing

And when petals fall, guests will hear a crash of thunder and see a flash of lightning as the portrait starts to transform into a painting of the Beast!

Watch Closely -- The Prince Morphs into the Beast when Enchanted Rose Petals Fall

And here is the full transformation of the painting! It happens for only an instant while the lightning is flashing, then returns to the portrait of the Prince!

West Wing Beast Portrait

This happens about every 20 minutes during your meal, and the thunder in the room gets progressively louder and stronger as it builds up to the portrait change and petals dropping.

I heard several ?unhappy? babies when that thunder was getting louder, and I know that I would have been freaking out as a little one (I still have to cover my ears to watch fireworks, though, so take that as you will!). You cannot hear the thunder in the Ballroom unless you?re sitting right next to the West Wing entrance.

The tables in the West Wing are warm wood with leather seats, and overall, I find this room much more enchanting and cozy than the Ballroom. I?ll be requesting this one from now on.

Be Our Guest West Wing Dining Room Table

Should there be overbooking on your visit to Be Our Guest for dinner, you might be seated in the Rose Gallery.

Usually used only for lunch, this dining room features portraits of many of the characters you?ll remember from Beauty and the Beast, and the centerpiece here is a massive music box made by Maurice (Belle?s father) for Belle and the Beast when they were married.

Rose Gallery Music Box and Chandelier

The figures turn and dance around while music-box versions of the soundtrack you hear throughout the restaurant play. Be sure to walk around the whole display, each side has a different front detail.

Now that you?re comfortably seated and ready to dine, let?s take a look at what?s available, shall we?


The overwhelming theme here at Be Our Guest Restaurant is the Enchanted Rose; you?ll find it here on the front of the menu as well as in mosaics, carvings, chairs, columns, and more throughout the restaurant!

See the full Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner Menu here!

Menu Cover

In addition to the dinner menu, you?ll also be given a beer and wine menu! You can see the Be Our Guest Restaurant Beer and Wine Menus here. There?s a great selection of French wines and French and Belgian beers.

Our friends indulged in some red wine?


And my dining companion ran the gamut of beers over our several dinners here!

Hoegaarden Wit, Belgium Beer

Beer - Saison Dupont, Belgium

Chimay Blue Belgium beer

Kronenbourg 1664

I stuck to the All-Natural Fruit Punch with Organic Cane Juice and Wildberry Extract topped with lemon-lime foam. This was quite sour with the foam, so if you don?t like the first sip, mix in the foam so that you have a more even flavor.

All-Natural Fruit Punch - sweetened with organic cane juice and wildberry extract topped with lemon-lime foam

You can also order an All-Natural Lemonade with Wildberry Foam. Both of these specialty drinks can be ordered in a souvenir light-up goblet for $18.99.

Castle Souvenir Goblet

Warm bread rolls are brought to the table next, with generous pats of sea-salted butter. I have no idea if these were the same bread rolls that are served elsewhere in the Magic Kingdom (they sure do look the same), but served warm and fresh, they were delicious!


Of course, we wanted to sample everything on the menu during our several dining reservations (yep ? I was on the phone REALLY early that day in August to get these reservations!), so throughout the meals we ordered every single appetizer.

First up, the Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages ? a charcuterie board that serves two. This included Serrano ham, Smoked Virginia ham, caramelized pearl onions, Sun-Dried Tomato sausage, Apple Raisin sausage, Champagne pate, Chicken and Duck Liver pate, Soppressata, cornichons (little pickles), mustard, and toasted baguette.

The meats were served cold, and were very flavorful. This is definitely a choice for a more grown-up palate, however. The cured meats packed a real punch, and I particularly enjoyed the sun-dried tomato sausage.

Charcuterie Board - Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages served with cornichons, pickled onions, and toasted baguette (serves two)

I was excited to try the French Onion Soup, since it?s always been one of my favorites. It came out bubbly and gorgeous!

The Gruyere cheese was perfect on top, but I wish the broth had been a bit stronger. I found the soup to be a bit lacking in flavor, so if you like your French Onion soup dark and rich, you may be disappointed. Note that this broth is vegetarian, not beef-based.

French Onion Soup - topped with crouton and gruyere cheese

We also sampled the Potato Leek Soup, which was? a true winner!? Rich and creamy, the soup was thick with potato chunks and leeks, and had an incredible flavor.

Warning that some may find this a bit salty (a common grievance about several of the dishes), but I loved it!

Potato Leek Soup

The Mussels Provencal were absolutely gorgeous.? With plenty of savory, buttery sauce, these were rated highly by my dining companion!

Mussels Provencal with white wine, tomato, garlic, onion, basil, and butter

And the Seasonal Salad Trio, including Roasted Beet, Gold Raisin, and Orange Salad; Green Bean, Tomato, and Roasted Shallot Salad; and Watermelon, Radish, and Mint Salad, may remind some diners of something they?d get at Sanaa or Boma in Disney?s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

An interesting addition to this French-inspired menu, but it definitely offers something different to try!

Seasonal Salad Trio -- Roasted Beet, Gold Raisin, and Orange Salad; Green Bean, Tomato, and Roasted Shallot Salad; Watermelon, Radish, and Mint Salad

If you?d rather stick with familiar territory, try the Garden Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette. It also got high marks from our dining companions.

Garden Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Are you ready for entrees?! We tried each and every one of these for you, too!

First up, the Sauteed Shrimp and Scallops ? with seasonal vegetables served in puff pastry with a creamy lobster sauce. This dish is 1.) Very pretty! and 2.) Rich and flavorful! If you?re a seafood fan, this is a must-try.

My mom (who joined us at one of the reservations) got it with all scallops (so?Sauteed Scallops and Scallops, I guess), and loved it. She said the addition of the veggies in the mix was a nice contrast to the rich seafood and lobster sauce.

Sauteed Shrimp and Scallops - with seasonal vegetables served in puff pastry with a creamy lobster sauce

The Rotisserie Cornish Hen with roasted fingerling potatoes and seasonal vegetables was probably one of the more disappointing entrees on the menu. A bit dry and ho-hum, even the white wine jus didn?t really jazz it up that much.

The roasted fingerling potatoes were a nice, crunchy accompaniment, however.

Rotisserie Cornish Hen - with roasted fingerling potatoes and seasonal vegetables

One of my favorites on the menu (which I actually ordered twice!) was the Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop with au gratin macaroni, seasonal vegetables, and red wine au jus.

I don?t know about Thyme scent or anything, but this was downright delicious. It?s pork, so there?s always the chance that it could be overdone and tough, but my portions were pretty perfect.

The Mac and Cheese was of medium bite ? not too strong, but not mild, either. Eventually I ended up just dousing the whole meal in that red wine au jus and smooshing it all together. It was delicious!

Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop - with au gratin macaroni, seasonal vegetables and red wine au jus

My other favorite? The Grilled Strip Steak with garlic-herb butter and pommes frites.

This dish was truly delicious. A tender steak doused generously in garlic-herb butter is paired with?well?let?s be honest, they?re steak fries?is a great classic combo.

I would definitely prefer a skinnier ?frite? here (that?s what I was used to getting with steak and frites when working in Switzerland), but the dusting of fine salt on the frites was actually very good. And they came with an herb mayo for dipping.

Grilled Strip Steak - with garlic-herb butter and pommes frites

Pommes Frites dipping sauce

The only qualm with the steak: the kitchen seemed to have a bit of trouble cooking to order on our visits. When my companion and I both ordered medium rare cuts, they came out VERY different?

Medium Rare Steak 1

Medium Rare Steak 2

You can see that #1 is on the side of medium to medium well, while #2 is verging on rare. Hopefully they?ll fix this little glitch, since the dish really is delicious.

The vegetarian and vegan dish on the menu (yep ? just one) is the Layered Ratatouille: Oven Baked Zucchini, Eggplant, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Caramelized Onions sliced and layered on Quinoa served with Bell Pepper Sauce. The leaf on top is fried Basil.

This dish had? more flavor than I was expecting, and the Bell Pepper Sauce really does add a zing to the quinoa. The caramelized onions and mushrooms were a great addition, I thought.

Layered Ratatouille: Oven Baked Zucchini, Eggplant, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Caramelized Onions sliced and layered on Quinoa served with Bell Pepper Sauce

Finally, the Pan-Seared Salmon on Leek Fondue served with creamy saffron-crushed potatoes also got high marks from my dining companions. I didn?t try this one? myself (SO. FULL!), but I was angling for a try of that leek fondue!

Pan-Seared Salmon on Leek Fondue served with creamy saffron-crushed potatoes

Whew!! If you?ve gotten this far, you?ve gotta say for dessert with us!

Once you?re finished with your meal and decide to indulge, your server will bring around this dessert cart in order to prepare? your dessert table-side. Note that when the Be Our Guest menu was first released, dessert was included in the price of your entree. Now, it?s $3.99 extra.

Dessert Cart

I?m a little disappointed that at a restaurant this anticipated the only desserts you have to choose from are some cupcakes and cream puffs ? the same ones that are served at counter-service lunch. I?m really hoping that this changes, and that they introduce some truly exceptional desserts to choose from in the future.

But, in the meantime, here?s a quick review of a few of these goodies!

Of course, my first choice was the Triple Chocolate Cupcake with chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate ganache. It was quite good, but very, very rich.

Note those little plastic wrappers? Those are REALLY hard to take off. There?s even a sticker at the bottom holding them on. So usually you?ll see Be Our Guest diners just digging into the little cake wrappers with their spoons. ;-)

Triple Chocolate Cupcake - chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate ganache

Here?s what the cake was like inside?after I wrastled the wrapper off! (And, yes, I meant to write ?wrastled.?)

Inside Chocolate Cupcake

One of my favorite little desserts was this Lemon Meringue Cupcake with Vanilla sponge cake, lemon custard filling, and flamed merinque icing.

This one has some yummy (though a bit too sweet) lemon curd in the middle!

Lemon Meringue Cupcake - Vanilla sponge cake, lemon custard filling, flamed merinque icing and crunch

Another clear favorite was the Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake with vanilla sponge cake, strawberry mousse filling, and cream cheese icing.

That cream cheese icing is luscious!!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake - vanilla sponge cake, strawberry mousse filling, and cream cheese icing

Strawberry Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing inside

And to represent the cream puff contingent we tried the Passion Fruit Cream Puff ? filled with passion fruit mousse and topped with whipped cream.

This was actually better than I?d though, and I?m eager to sample the chocolate cream puff on my next visit.

Passion Fruit Cream Puff - filled with passion fruit mousse and topped with whipped cream

Passion Fruit Cream Puff inside

Finally, the Lemon-Raspberry Cream Puff is filled with lemon custard, and is the gluten-free, No Sugar Added dessert at Be Our Guest. I didn?t try this one, but the general thought is that it?s too lemony (which means I MUST try it, since I?m a fan of ?too lemony?).

Lemon-Raspberry Cream Puff -filled with lemon custard (Dessert is gluten-free and No Sugar Added)

Now, here?s the real fantastic treat! If you?re celebrating (yep ? gotta be celebrating to get it, apparently), you?ll receive ?The Grey Stuff? for an added sweet at the end of? your meal. This cookies-and-cream whipped panna cotta is deeeeeelicious (just ask the dishes!).

For those of you who don?t know how this fits into the story, Lumiere, the candelabra character in Beauty and the Beast, sings to Belle in the song ?Be Our Guest? to ?try the grey stuff, it?s delicious!?

And it is.

The Grey Stuff


So, after dining at Be Our Guest Restaurant several times this week, here are my findings:

Atmosphere and Dining Rooms
Atmosphere is very nice, especially in the West Wing.? I found the Ballroom to be dark (thus some of the picture quality in this review), and very loud. While it?s beautiful ? and the snow outside IS enchanting ? I felt like I was in a giant cafeteria as the tables are set up in awkward rows.

However, the West Wing was smaller and cozier. It also felt a bit more ?magical,? since so many transformations are taking place there while you dine.

Regarding the menu, it?s small (we seriously just showed you everything on the adult menu except for one cream puff). But it?s got a decent selection of appetizers and entrees. And note that the menu is seasonal ? new additions will be introduced several times per year. I would have liked to see a pasta dish, but I guess that?s not all that French, eh?

There has been a lot of feedback about the food being very salty, and this is probably true. But, like I said, I love salty food, so it was right up my alley. If they take the salt away, I?ll probably find the dishes bland. However, the strong feedback on this end will likely end up with a reduction in the sodium content. ;-)

The beer and wine addition was a good fit, I think. However, since the table turnover is quick right now as the restaurant is slightly overbooked, it?s a bit difficult to linger with friends over a bottle of wine. Hopefully that will change in the future, and the pace of the meal will slow down a bit.

And I do hope the dessert menu gets stronger as the restaurant continues to evolve. Right now it?s just too thin for a French-inspired, relatively expensive restaurant. I?m hoping this isn?t the ?wave of the future? for other restaurants?especially since I?m sure it saves Disney plenty of money Dining Plan-wise.

After trying just about everything on the menu, my ideal ordering would go like this: Potato Leek Soup, Grilled Strip Steak, Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake. Healthy? No. But quite good.

We had some seriously great servers on our visits to Be Our Guest. You can tell they?ve pulled the cream of the crop to work here and open the restaurant, and we were very pleased with service.

Food was quickly delivered, and we didn?t exactly feel rushed. Though, as I mentioned, we were aware that table turnover was quick and the pace of the meal was rapid. I?d like to see that slow down a bit in the future.

We were told there would be no characters here, but as it turns out the Beast does walk through the dining rooms and settle in his study to greet guests after they finish their meals. When we were there, the line to greet the Beast wasn?t very long, and we often saw him sitting all alone in his study. I?m not sure how much longer that meet-n-greet will take place, but if you go to the restaurant, head over and give the Beast some love.

Yep, I would recommend this restaurant in its current state. I think several of the dishes are quite good, and the atmosphere is something everyone will want to see at least once.

Don?t forget that you can experience the restaurant for a counter-service lunch with NO reservations. This means you can sit in ANY of the dining rooms you?d like. Since a lot of the restaurant?s pull is seeing inside the Beast?s castle, I?d definitely recommend this.

Remember, you can click here to see a review of the counter-service Lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Have you dined at Be Our Guest Restaurant, or would you like to? Let us know in the comments below what menu item caught your eye!

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