Review by Kevin Klose - 2/08
Based on a tip from an acquaintance, I was told to try Boatwrights “because you are going to love it.”
Called Disney Dining and made my reservation for a party of four and was looking forward to “loving it”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Boatwrights Dining Hall, it is located in Port Orleans Riverside Resort. It is a deceptively large restaurant made up of several rooms on different levels.
We arrived at the podium at our correct time to be told that we had no reservation. While one of our party members , who sits in a wheelchair was in the process of trying to figure this out (and we are talking a grand total of two minutes) a woman literally climbed up and over her, letting us all know that her “buzzer went off.” She cut in front of us and then turned and offered her explanation of “we’ve waited almost 5 minutes for this.” As we all stood silently by, mouths wide open, she was told that they had just tested all the buzzers and it wasn’t her turn. It was difficult to not laugh out loud, but I controlled myself as she skulked away to wait yet again.
We….who didn’t climb over anyone…were seated within 2 minutes of getting our buzzer. We were shown to a table right in front of the fireplace and on a chilly night thought this to be quite a prize only to find that it was a gas fireplace and offered no heat at all.
Our server approached our table and without a hello asked if we were on the Disney Dining Plan. When told no, she then asked if we wanted to order drinks. Friendly.
Boatwrights menu (a single sheet) is a bit different in that the first items listed are non-alcoholic specialty drinks like a Chocolate Banana Smoothie or a Frozen Cappuccino. I found this a bit odd. Maybe people start their diners with a Strawberry Milkshake and I’m not aware…who knows.
After the frozen dessert drinks (???) are the appetizers. There are two salads, a Seafood Cocktail, Crawfish Cakes and a Steak and Red Bean Soup.
We chose the Spinach Salad ($5.99), the Crawfish Cakes ($10.49), the Steak and Red Bean Soup ($6.49) and we ordered an adult sized portion of the Chicken Noodle Soup ($5.49).
The Spinach Salad was tasty with a bacon herb dressing. It also contained roasted beets, mushrooms and goat cheese. Apparently, goat cheese is not that expensive because I received a tremendous amount. I actually had to remove more than half.
The Crawfish Cakes were with fennel, mango slaw and remoulade. There were two silver dollar sized cakes on a bed of sliced mango. The cakes were a bit dry and hard to eat, as any time you touched one of the cakes, they crumbled. We had to use a soup spoon to get them to our mouths. I thought these were overpriced and not worth the time.
I am told that the Steak and Red Bean soup was very good. I had a hard time getting past the color. I can only describe it as murky. It came with a scoop of sour cream on top which did nothing to make it more appealing as the cream dissolved into the soup. Again, I was told it was quite tasty and I am willing to believe that
Warm corn bread was served with soft honey sweetened butter. Delicious!!! Ask for more.
On to the entrees…there are seven entrees offered ranging in price from $16.99 to $29.99.
The entrees will take some explaining….well…not so much the entrees but the side dishes. One of our party ordered the Grilled Pork Chop ($20.99). This is accompanied by Maque Choux and Apple Butter. I’m sure there are those out there that know that Maque Choux is corn relish, but no one at our table was aware of this fact. We asked if we could substitute a potato and were told that the only potato available was the Three Cheese Hash Brown potatoes. Sold! Another one of our party ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Waffles and Collard Greens ($16.99) Again, the potatoes won out over the waffles. The third person ordered the Slow Roasted Prime Rib with those same potatoes and Cabernet sauce ($21.99) and finally, I ordered the Jambalaya ($17.99). which is Spiced Chicken Thighs, Andouille Sausage, Shrimp, Rice and vegetables.
The Three Cheese Hashed Brown Potatoes are mashed potatoes with a bit of cheese and onions and browned on a grill. I will spare you the rant about this not being hashed brown potatoes, but suffice to say these were disappointing.
The pork chop (notice I only mentioned one) was tiny. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken was boneless breast with a very thick coating. The prime rib was bland and the Jambalya was an unusual presentation. I was served a bowl of seasoned rice with a chicken thigh, half a sausage and two shrimp lying on top. I’ve never seen Jambalaya served this way. There was no sauce or liquid of any kind. Maybe I’ve not had enough varieties of Jambalaya to have encountered this one before, but it wasn’t very good.
None of our food was awful…just disappointing. These are not bargain prices and at this price point, I think people have a right to expect decent, well prepared food. This was neither. Our neighborhood Applebees serves better food at less than half the price.
As you can tell….we didn’t “love it.”
Our meal was approximately $117.00 before the Disney Dining Experience and $114.00 after, but the new total included an 18% gratuity which was not deserved….but that’s another conversation entirely.
Unless convenience is your only motivation, your dining dollars can be much better spent elsewhere on Disney property.