Join us in welcoming back Guest Author Paul Kuconis! His latest review features dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors located at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World.
When I think of Contemporary Resort-based restaurants, California Grill and Chef Mickey’s immediately come to mind. It’s hard to miss the glass dome sitting atop the Resort — ‘Oooh, there’s California Grill!’; and Chef Mickey is always in sight from the monorail.
But there is a hidden gem neatly tucked away — The Wave…of American Flavors — and entering through the front door makes it easy to miss. We always arrive by boat from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge so we walk by it often. Well, we finally decided to stop ‘passing by’ and made reservations during our last visit.
The first thing I saw was a video marquee highlighting the culinary options presented inside. To me this presentation is very much in keeping with the ‘contemporary’ theme of the resort. OK, now I know what they serve, so let’s head inside.
The entrance is rather neat. First, it establishes the stainless steel theme I noticed throughout my meal, and the tunnel takes me to a different place — that of sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients.
As we approached the reception desk, I noticed the earth tones in keeping with the sustainable theme. Also, the wall partition presents the wave theme.
We had nice wall art to look at while we waited for our table. A very contemporary rendition, in keeping with the resort.
Even the ceiling features carry the wave theme with contemporary light fixtures. It all works well together as the earth tones carry throughout the restaurant.
A nice touch, and a very subtle one, is the wave embroidered on the linen napkin.
After we sat down and perused the wine list, we decided on a bottle of Bonterra Chardonnay 2012. I enjoy a nice chardonnay and this wine fits the bill. It’s from Mendocino, one of California’s better known wine regions with predominant vineyard acreage in chardonnay.
A very nice wine. An initial impression of rich, buttery cream quickly turns to aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, followed by tropical aromas of pineapple, citrusy lemon and crème brulee. The wine is refreshing on the palate, with a minerality that is both bright and clean, drawing you into a vibrant tartness and lemon zest.
Although that description sounds very complex, it’s not. Bottom line for me is, does it have a nice flavor? And yes, this one does! Notice the stainless steel wine cooler.
After we ordered we were served bread and butter — Multi grain bread with ground flax seeds and butter with Hawaiian sea salt. (Notice the stainless steel bread bowl.) The bread was nice and fresh and the butter was just soft enough to spread easily and allowed the salt to mix in giving each bite a nice crunch. The ground flax seeds provided a visual balance to the sea salt atop the butter. Nicely done!
I always look for menu offerings that I haven’t had before. The Sustainable Fish Taco fit the bill. To me, it also fit the theme of the restaurant, sustainable and locally sourced. I’ll try that!
Oooh! Very nicely plated with a stainless steel taco tray! The fish used were Snapper and Swordfish and fit nicely with the Apple-Jicama slaw and a mild white sauce drizzle, topped with micro greens.
The apples used were Pink Lady (a trademark and the variety is more correctly known as Cripps Pink). Cripps Pink apples are a cross between the Australian Lady Williams and the Golden Delicious. At any rate, this variety was new to me and had a very nice flavor and texture.
The slaw and sauce complemented the mildness of the fish and made for a nice bite. Providing a contrast in textures; the crunch of the apple and jicama worked well against the smoothness of the fish.
Yuzu Gelato was served providing a palette cleanser and a nice finisher. Yuzu a citrus fruit, originates in East Asia and looks like a very small grapefruit. The yuzu’s flavor is tart, closely resembling that of a grapefruit with hints of mandarin orange. A very nice way to end an awesome appetizer!
OK, how can my entrée top my appetizer? A tough task indeed.
I settled on the Dry-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak, medium rare. Flat iron steak, which comes from the shoulder of the steer, has a deep rich flavor and similar to (and substitutable with) skirt or flank steak. It is also known as a top blade steak. (I also wanted to experience the locally-sourced vegetables.)
Nicely plated! (As usual with most dishes prepared at Disney restaurants!)
Perfectly grilled! Just look at the color and the juices. The dry rub had a nice hint of pepper. Not too much to overpower the steak, but enough to bring out the flavor.
The citrus aioli with its tang added a nice complement to this cut of meat. The aioli also worked well with the frisee and strawberries — a nice mix of sweet, texture, and tang.
The strawberries were unbelievably fresh and ripe and melted in my mouth. The potato leek gratin was extremely good.
We decided on the Creamy Flight dessert sampler. With three desserts in one, how can you go wrong?!
Left to right: Sticky Toffee Cheesecake with Butterscotch Sauce topped with Heath Bar crunchies; Lemon Crème Brulee with a Lemon-scented Biscotti; and Chocolate Truffle Mousse dusted with cocoa powder and topped with gold leaf. Notice the stainless steel plate; a nice theme carried from bread to dessert.
Each dessert item was awesome. And rich. The contrasts in taste texture and visual appearance (plating) made this dessert a nice cap to a fine night out.
In closing, do not let this restaurant go untried. Seek it out and enjoy! I did.
Have you stopped by The Wave for a meal? Let us know your favorite dish!