As I mentioned on Thursday, EPCOT’s Connections Cafe and Eatery is in soft opening, meaning that a little at a time, the venue will be open and serving, but without the fanfare of a grand opening. Doing so allows the cast members to work out the kinks and get to know the new space and everything that goes into the daily operation.
Soft opening also means that you and I get to try new food! And if it’ll be a bit before you’re able to step into the new quick service, fast-casual dining location, I thought that I might bring you up-to-speed on what I’ve tried thus far. Throw on your stretchy pants; it’s time to eat.
Number one: I did not wear my stretchy pants today. I probably should have. Ryno, Craig, and I made some great decisions when it came to today’s review (you can watch it below), and it was definitely a moment when I could’ve just sat there for hours eating and eating.
When the preview menu was released, I mentioned that all I wanted was a fresh, creative salad. Friends, we’ve gotten a menu with two out-of-the-box salads, and I tried the General Tso Chicken Salad today. It was beautiful to look at, and tasty to eat. One thing: the salad was swimming in dressing. The dressing had a nice punch and slight heat to it as you might expect with General Tso’s, but the amount of dressing was off. The next time that I purchase this salad (and yes, there will be a next time), I’ll ask for the dressing on the side. Diced red peppers, petite kale, edamame, mandarin oranges, and crunchy wonton noodles all made for a delightful salad. I would love to see the option of grilled chicken available should a guest favor that over the fried chicken strips. The salad is $11.49, and in my opinion, worth it.
We also tried the Banh Mi Burger, which features a miso-marinated gourmet beef blend, pickled veggies, and sriracha mayo on a sub roll. This wasn’t my favorite, and I feel that the burger should perhaps be thinly sliced beef instead. The patty, while an upgrade from standard Disney burger fare, was a bit too thick and the ratios just seemed off. The pickled vegetables were nice, and if you’re heat-averse, don’t fear: the sriracha mayonnaise wasn’t too overpowering. The Banh Mi Burger is $11.99.
Next up is the plant-based Curry Spice Pizza ($10.99). There’s a bit of everything on this slice of pizza: Tikka masala, sliced potato, carrot, peas (lots of them), diced tomato, all topped with lime “yogurt,” and it comes with a Mediterranean side salad. This is, in my opinion, fairly overpriced for a small slice of pizza and side salad. That being said, I’m glad to see something creative for the plant-based peeps in the park, and I’m hoping that the slice size grows just a bit. The flavors were good, but the execution was just a bit off.
Dear friends, we’ve gotten to the best part of the bunch. The next two menu items were the stars of the party, for so, so many reasons. Holy cannoli. Let’s first take peek at the French Bistro Burger ($12.99). A gourmet beef blend of short rib, chuck, and brisket is used here, and the patty itself rings in at 7 ounces, compared to the standard 5-ounce Disney burger. It’s topped with caramelized onions, slices of bacon, sautéed mushrooms, Dijon mayo, and generous SLICES OF BRIE. The whole thing rests lovingly on a toasted brioche bun. Side note: can we all just agree that more things in life should be topped with melted Brie? Goodness. Gracious. This burger is excellent. I loved it, and will be repurchasing it on the very next day that I have a hankering for Brie and a big appetite.
And last but certainly not least food-wise, the Hand-breaded Chicken Sandwich. This little baby (which really isn’t little at all) is $11.99 and worth every cent. It’s brined in pickle juice before being breaded and fried and topped with pickles and signature sauce. It’s moist, very pickle-y, and that breading? Unreal. This is not just any old chicken sandwich; this is incredibly good, and worth a stop by Connections Eatery all on its own.
I also tried the Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca ($4.99). I enjoy trying non-alcoholic specialty beverages, and while I didn’t pick up any hint of mint, if you like watermelon, you’ll enjoy this. Warning: if your Agua Fresca sits for a bit, give it a stir to mix things back up again. Ryno pointed out that it looked like things had settled in the cup, and I was so glad that he did.
Obviously, there’s more on the menu than what we tried today. I’m looking forward to continuing to eat my way through Connections Eatery’s offerings in the days ahead.
If you get the chance to stop by and eat at Connections, please let me know your favorites!
Want to watch the three of us as we eat our way through our first meal at Connections? The video is below: