I had heard a whole lot of good things about Bluezoo. Inn fact, the two Disney food lovers whose opinion I value above all others, AJ from the Disney Food Blog and Lou Mongello from WDW Radio, have outright raved about this place. Since I was going to be in Disney World without the wife and kids, I decided to take the opportunity to see if Bluezoo lived up to the hype. Accompanied by my good friend and frequent Disney dining companion Nicole, I risked wearing pants (instead of shorts) in Florida in May in order to be appropriately dressed for a fine culinary adventure.
We arrived at the Dolphin Resort and took the escalator down to the restaurant. The sign proudly proclaimed Todd English’s name and there was a fancy waterfall in the entryway. However, I found the entryway a little underwhelming, mostly because there were no delicious aromas wafting around and enticing us to move inside.
The pleasant hostesses greeted us with a smile, but my eyes were drawn beyond them to the spectacular decor. The restaurant is certainly much more impressive on the inside than it is on the outside. The gentleman who escorted us to our seats seemed a little wary of us. I suspect he was wondering what I was doing going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant with a lady who looks half my age, or maybe he just thought (as my wife pointed out when she saw the pictures) that the pants I was wearing looked about five years out of style.
Once we were seated, our waitress, Rhonda, promptly appeared. Although I was a waiter for many years and I’m very understanding about how tough a server’s job is, I am also very picky about what constitutes great service. From being patient with our many questions to making excellent (and honest) recommendations, Rhonda clearly loved her work and was a high point of our dining experience.
My first question was if they have any non-alcoholic specialty drinks. I’m always going for those since I don’t drink alcohol but I love getting drinks in fancy glasses. Sadly, they did not have Dry Soda available to pair with the meal. (Yes, that’s right. You can pair soda with a meal. I’m actually surprised that more high-end restaurants don’t carry Dry Soda for that very reason.) I was given the choice of a No-jito or a virgin pina colada. I opted for the nojito since it takes a good effort to make correctly. While I can’t say it paired well with my meal, I can say that it was made perfectly and I really enjoyed drinking it!
Next came the bread service. There were three different types of bread. I don’t remember what they were called, exactly. One was a focaccia onion bread, another was a big yummy loaf of something, and the other was a thin sheet of crispiness. All were accompanied by a creamy fennel butter. If you remember my review of the Kona Cafe, you’ll remember that Nicole can really put away the bread. Consequently, the bread didn’t last long.
At this point we began to discuss appetizers and our personal food preferences started interfering with our plans. Nicole doesn’t eat seafood at all. I don’t care for salad. This made it hard to split an appetizer. At one point, I thought I had a solution: the Teppan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops came with two scallops on top of braised beef short rib. I could eat the scallops and Nicole could eat the rib meat. Rhonda put a stop to that. They were meant to be eaten together and we wouldn’t get the full effect of the dish if we split it up, she said. I decided at that point I had to put aside my simple, meat-and-potatoes-kind-of-guy tastes and embrace the fancy Food Channel special attitude that I normally avoid. I was so glad I did. I could have happily eaten three more orders.
Additionally, Nicole decided to order the beet salad. She loved it and fortunately couldn’t eat the whole thing. I decided to sample what was left since my wife loves beets and would probably hit me if I didn’t try it for her when I had the chance. I ended up eating the rest of it. This is a really big deal for me. I hate most salads and don’t care much for beets, but I would eat this salad any day of the week. It was awesome.
Now for the entrees. Nicole had decided on the Mesquite Rubbed Beef Tenderloin – celery root, asparagus, seasonal mushrooms, warm salsify gel, veal jus.
I was seriously thinking about the Ahi Tuna, but the chef’s creation was extremely tempting: Waygu flat iron steak. I really couldn’t decide. Bluezoo is a seafood restaurant, but I love a good flat iron steak and this was a Waygu beef flat iron steak! I took the coward’s way out and asked our waitress to surprise me.
Thankfully, Rhonda had excellent taste. As she put it, not much is going to beat this special. Keep in mind that I didn’t have (and still don’t have) any idea what most of the ingredients were in this special. A sous vide duck egg (huh?), grano, confit ciopillini onion, charred maitake mushroom (I normally hate mushrooms), young kohlrabi, celery root lambsquarter…
Quite frankly, after one bite I didn’t care what was in it. All I knew what that it all tasted so amazing that I had to keep eating it. I left nothing on my plate at all. Nicole probably ate all of her steak. I wasn’t paying much attention. I kept staring at my empty plate hoping that another portion would magically appear so that I could continue stuffing my face.
Eventually someone came along and took my plate away. Fortunately, my favorite course was up next — dessert! Here is where I really am in my element. While I like and appreciate fine dining, I can take it or leave it. If I never ate another steak like that, I’d be perfectly fine. I could probably eat at diners, drive-ins, and dives for the rest of my life and be happy with those kinds of meals. What I really care about — what I live for — is dessert.
Once again there were a bunch of great options to choose from. For some reason, the Lemon Meringue Pavlova really interested me. The menu description was: lemon curd, cassis agar, (hazelnut) crumble, vanilla lemon peel ice cream, lemon vanilla sauce, mini lemon macaroons. There wasn’t any chocolate in this, and I had no idea what a pavlova was, so I was surprised to find myself thinking that I was going to order it over the Warm Chocolate Raspberry Molten Cake. For insurance, I also ordered us the American Classics Dessert trio — a s’more, a chocolate cream beignet, and a mini strawberry sundae. This turned out to be a big mistake.
I should have ordered two of the Lemon Meringue Pavlovas. Don’t get me wrong; the American Classics was a great dessert (especially the beignet). However, the Lemon Meringue Pavlova blew me away. I tasted it and I think my head exploded. I’ve eaten a whole lot of desserts in my lifetime, from amazing homemade desserts to desserts served in some of the best restaurants in the United States. Never had I experienced a dessert like this before. In one mouthful it was smooth, chewy, crunchy, silky, and light. Three kinds of lemon flavor danced across my tastebuds accompanied by hints of vanilla and hazelnut. After the last bite was gone, it took me over 90 minutes to stop thinking about how wonderful that dessert was. It took me two more days to get over it and actually enjoy some other kind of dessert.
Overall, Bluezoo not only lived up to the hype, it is now on top of my list of The Best Places to Eat in Disney World. I will certainly be returning to eat here with my wife on our next trip, and I’m positive that Nicole is already hinting to her boyfriend that she’d like to eat at Bluezoo again. The staff, the atmosphere, the food, the service — everything about this restaurant was top notch.