As we mentioned in our update on the California Grill renovation, this popular restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will be unveiling new dishes when it reopens.
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California Grill is expected to start taking reservations within the next few weeks for its end of August opening. But right now, in an off-site kitchen, California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki is creating delicious new dishes!
“We’re really trying to think of creative new ways to use our wood-fired oven,” says Piasecki. Those meatballs are one way, with pork, lamb, and veal spiced with house-made harissa.
An oaky, crispy crust makes them perfect for dredging in Meyer-lemon-scented chimichurri with a side of marinated picholine olives and a little orzo. “Perfect for sharing,” says Piasecki.
Sourcing as much as possible locally is a priority for Piasecki. The Cape Canaveral prawns are a great example. He roasts them head on in the wood-fired oven and serves with oven-roasted tomatoes, charred lemon, and a handful of peppery baby arugula. (And he’s using the shells to make prawn oil.)
He’s also creating house-made duck charcuterie – prosciutto, sausage, rillettes, butter, and mousse, all made with duck and served with house-made pickles, chutneys, and a whole-grain mustard.
Look for an enticing new entrée, which includes beets roasted three ways with pan-seared halibut. The beets are salt-crusted and oven-roasted, with beet syrup and beet microgreens. When paired with parsnip “silk” and a rich macadamia nut vinaigrette, it’s a healthy dish.
The state-of-the-art kitchen will have new custom, cast-iron planchas (flat-top grills) installed for cooking fish. “Dual temperature zones so we can sear the fish on one side, then slide to the other with a lower temperature for cooking the rest of the way,” says Piasecki.
An expanded sushi area will boast a classic look with a glass case showcasing the gorgeous seafood.
Let the chef show off and order the 12-course “omakase” menu! Leaving the selections up to the chef, diners be offered a modern take on traditional Japanese dishes.
New tables and chairs are being set up, and the new lighting fixtures are “spectacular!” says Piasecki. We can’t wait to get our first look!
What are you looking forward to sampling at the California Grill? Any old favorites that you hope to still see on the menu?