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Time to revisit a fan and Disney Food Blog Favorite: Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion!
Signature Dinner, One Year Later
You’ll remember that we visited Le Cellier last March for dinner, just after Le Cellier dinner became a signature meal on the Disney Dining Plan (meaning it now will cost you two table service credits to dine there, rather than one).
At that time, we were focused on whether the menu could really deliver an experience that was significantly different than it had been before, and whether dinner would be worth the much higher prices than you’ll find at lunch. We walked away somewhat let down by the meal — especially disappointing was the ribeye with maple butter, a flavor combo that just seemed all wrong — but we were confident that they would pull it together. We also wondered right along with you if lunch would also become a signature meal, and if dinner would continue to be a signature meal.
Fast forward a year from that first signature dinner! It’s time to see what, if any, evolution has taken place!
In the year since we last visited, only two real changes have taken place in the dining room during the Signature dinner meal. Remember those snazzy little maple leaf napkin rings that I told you about last year? Those are gone from the tables, as are the table votive candles and their pretty little holders.
If I had to guess why, I would figure that they were so cute, they proved to be irresistible to snag as a souvenir. 😉 But that same upscale, wine cellar feeling with arches, candlelight sconces, deep reds, and dark woods throughout still signal that you are someplace lovely, cozy, and probably surrounded by snow.
As you can see, the lack of table candles and napkin rings makes dinner pretty indistinguishable from the lunch setting.
After we were seated, our server, Gabby, greeted us cheerfully. She was wonderful from the get go! We learned that she was on her second Le Cellier tour with the International Program, and she proved to be helpful and knowledgeable as we made our choices. Of course, we started with a few drinks.
First up: the the Unibroue Beer Flight, which features three distinctly different beers made by the Quebecois brewery and available on tap: Ephémère, a white ale with hints of apple; Blanche de Chambly, a champagne-style beer that’s only partially filtered; and Trois Pistoles, the darkest and most complex of the samples. He enjoyed all of the selections.
On the way in, I noticed this Champagne Flight and snapped a photo for you. But in the end, I utterly forgot to order said Champagne Flight, and opted for another awesome option!
Ice Wine Flight! If you aren’t familiar with ice wine, it’s a dessert wine made from grapes that have actually frozen on the vine, thus concentrating and intensifying the sweetness of the juice that is pressed from the grapes (or other fruit).
The flight consisted of a wonderfully diverse trio: the Neige Premium Apple, the more widely available Inniskillin Vidal, and the red Meeker FroZin. All of the wines were sweety-good, but my heart will always be with that standard Vidal!
On to a few of the real eats! As we noted in our lunch review last October, the tall bread “vase” has been replaced by a bread basket, and while you still have the pretzel bread sticks, the other sourdough and multigrain bread offerings have morphed into rolls.
No worries, though — the pretzel bread is still just as good as it always has been!
Now, of course I couldn’t help but order one (two) of my favorite thing (things) in all of Disney World — Le Cellier’s dinner “Poutine”!
You’ll notice that “poutine” appears in quotes on the menu. That’s because if you ask any self-respecting Canadian what poutine is, this will not be it. Normally, the thick, french-fried potatoes are covered with big, white cheddar cheese curds and a brown gravy to boot. It’s bar food at its finest.
Here, the dish is a more refined iteration, even from the lunch version. The dinner “Poutine” includes hand-cut fries, sharp (but small) Black Diamond cheddar cheese curds, and, in lieu of a gravy, a red wine reduction. It’s the perfect balance of savory, salty, and tangy.
See those two “Poutines”? They were supposed to be shared among the four people at the table. Guess who polished off the lion’s share? They were SO amazingly good. No, really. This is the stuff that potato fantasies are MADE of. And if you ever find that you have Le Cellier Dinner Poutine leftovers, you know who to call.
We also ordered the Artisinal Cheeses as an appetizer. You can find these on the dessert menu, too!
I’m finding more and more that I’m enjoying all of the cheeses, not just the mild ones, on the cheese plates — which I guess means that I’m expanding my palate (or Disney is using blander cheeses). As is the Disney norm, this plate consists of cheeses that range in flavor and consistency.
One of my favorite touches for the Disney cheese offerings? Honey pairings! Here, the honey was specifically paired with the brie, but I really enjoyed it with all of the cheeses. Every one of them was delicious — even the bleu wasn’t too heavy for my taste buds.
As we told you in March, both the lunch and dinner menus have undergone changes since launching as a signature dining spot for dinner. We highlighted the menu changes for the lunch menu previously, but let’s take a look at what’s changed on the dinner menu.
Menu Items No Longer Offered
Braised Oxtail Ravioli
Chicken Chipotle Sausage
Roasted Venison Medallions
Roasted Duck Breast and Leg Confit
Medallions of Beef Tenderloin
Charred Pork Tenderloin
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Maple-Glazed Rainbow Carrots
Truffled Crushed Potatoes
Menu Items Now Offered
Dungeness Crab Salad
Selection of Beets
Wagyu Beef Shortrib
Roasted Free-Range Chicken
Pan-Seared Pacific Cod
Truffled Macaroni and Cheese
Roasted Marble Potatoes
Menu Items Unchanged
Black and Blue Beef Steak Tartare
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Artisanal Cheeses (although selections have changed)
Cheddar Cheese Soup
Le Cellier Lobster Chopped Salad
Grilled Bone-In Ribeye (still served with that strange sweet maple-pink peppercorn butter)
Canadian “Prime” New York Strip
Pacific King Salmon
Potato, Leek, and Goat Cheese Quiche
Where some entrees have remained on the menu, a few of the accompaniments have changed as well.
And now it’s time to dig into some entrees!
After the disappointment of sweet maple butter on an otherwise incredible bone-in ribeye last March, I decided that I would have my absolute favorite this time as to avoid any more disappointments — the Mushroom Filet. As it is so incredibly good, and everyone around the table knew I wouldn’t share, two of them wisely ordered their own!
Cooked to perfection with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, the filet is served on a bed of creamy wild mushroom risotto, with a savory truffle butter sauce and micro chervil bringing a little fresh color to the plate. I love this risotto SO much that I usually order extra.
This night, however, I decided to splurge on additional truffle butter sauce. Because really, can you ever have enough of things that have the words “truffle” and “butter” in them? Seriously. I ate an entire second order of truffle butter sauce. (Yes. I have a long-standing date with my treadmill.)
My dad was the lone filet dissenter (thankfully, for variety’s sake) and went with the Canadian “Prime” New York Strip, which came with a potato pavé, wilted spinach, and a vin rouge reduction.
The potato pavé was basically a fancied-up gratin, consisting of thinly-cut potatoes fused together with all manner of cream, butter, and cheese. Dad rated the meal top-notch.
After we got over the bliss of all that beautiful Canadian beef and potato, it was time for dessert.
We went for a couple of selections. First, there is the trio of chocolate. It was fine. It was good. It was largely unremarkable. Here are a couple of “things to know” before you order this dessert:
1) See that darling lava cake? You would think there would be a liquid chocolate center. Not so. The lava was outside of the cake only, as though it had been supplied at plating time. That was a little confusing.
2) The other issue with this dessert sampler is the “Nanaimo” bar. Nanaimo bars, like poutine, can start riots if they are not properly termed. Normally, a Nanaimo bar is all manner of yummy, rich things thrown together — a no-bake cookie crust, a thick vanilla-butter “icing-like” center, and a covering of melted chocolate. This is not that. Gabby, our wonderful server, agreed with our suspicions, confirming that this “Nanaimo” bar really was just a little piece of chocolate cake. Sigh. Not BAD, but not a Nanaimo bar.
Here’s a picture of the non Nanaimo “Nanaimo” Bar.
We also tried the white chocolate cheesecake. Why are signature desserts so ridiculously tiny and tasteless for the most part? This was cute and fine, but I’ll take ‘Ohana’s big, rich bread pudding over a tiny scrap of a signature dessert anytime, any day. I guess I’m just more of a comfort food person than a “tiny food” person. 😉
You may be tired of hearing raves and applause for Le Cellier, but it remains one of the most consistently fantastic dining spots for us in Walt Disney World (and we eat at a lot of Disney World restaurants… a LOT).
The menu strikes a good balance between much-loved favorites and new items with a seasonal flair. Except for the misstep of the sweet ribeye, I am not disappointed when I dine at Le Cellier. Ever. (As long as I order the right things.)
And that, my friends, is why I will continue to fight for a reservation at this lovely dining spot in the heart of Epcot.
What has been your impression of Le Cellier through the years? Have you had as good an experience as we have? Share your thoughts and opinions with us below!