Ultimate Hollywood Brown Derby Review
Are you ready for the Ultimate Brown Derby review? Hollywood Studios is currently operating on a much smaller scale than its capabilities allow. The Skyliner and Galaxy’s Edge construction messes aside, things inside the Park’s gates have taken a severe hit too.
There’s the disappearance of the last remaining bakery in the Park (RIP, Starring Rolls). There’s also the quick serve restaurants’ early closures (why does ABC Commissary close a half hour before the park??).
Just because changes are taking place doesn’t mean there aren’t great things to be experienced…like a trip to the Hollywood Brown Derby!
Drawing on inspiration from the original Brown Derby’s in California, Hollywood Studio’s version of mimics the original designs. Deeply stained wood accents highlighted by dim, yellow-hued chandeliers give the open space a very warm and intimate feeling.
According to our on-the-ball waitress, the rounded booths that line the walls are exact replicas of the seating you would expect to find in the original Brown Derby in Hollywood!
I was thrilled that my seat faced the elevated bar, because I had the pleasure of watching one sole bartender masterfully mix drinks for an entire restaurant full of thirsty customers. The restaurant is definitely buzzing with busy energy, but the professionalism and quality of the Cast Members make the experience feel as though you really are in a fine dining establishment far, far away from a Disney Theme Park.
I had never dined at the Brown Derby before, so I decided to go all-in on this meal for the full experience! Since I was dining with a group, I made sure the table ordered enough to go around- as long as one of those dishes was the famous Brown Derby-invented Cobb salad!
Since that was delivered to the table with my appetizer salad, let’s start there! I’m not a huge Cobb salad fan, and I’m not usually one for rich, heavy salads like this one (that defeats the purpose!) but I couldn’t go home without tasting this restaurant’s signature dish!
The combo of crispy fried bacon, creamy avocado, and rich egg yolk evenly coated the turkey and shredded romaine lettuce to ensure every bite had a good ratio of creamy fats to fresh crunch. I could never eat a whole serving of one of these salads, but the flavor was balanced and the ingredients were certainly fresh.
I started my own personal meal off with the mix greens salad. When you order a basic salad like this, all that matters is that the ingredients are as fresh as these were to consider it a success! My favorite part of the appetizer course was the heaping pile of hot bread we were served ahead of our entrees! The beautiful basket was served alongside sea salted butter which elevated the plain rolls to an unprecedented level!
TIP: Eat the rolls while they’re hot! Because just like Cinderella’s coach, when they cool off, they turn back into a plain old pumpkin (read: hard, stale-tasting bread).
I love chicken. I love chicken so much and had ordered it so often on this trip that by the time my Brown Derby reservation rolled around on the second to last night of my WDW visit…I could not fathom eating one more bite of chicken. So, the pork chop was my entrée of choice! I will note that while the plating of all entrees we were served that night were gorgeous and appealing to the eye, they make the portions appear tiny. Don’t be fooled!
The piece of pork I was served could easily fill 2 people, and the half pound glob of mashed potatoes underneath would have been sufficient enough for an entire meal! Of the two dishes my table ordered, this was the weakest.
The pork was dry and, since I love incorporating veggies into every meal, I was disappointed with the 3 spears of asparagus they considered a vegetable side. The mashed potatoes, for lack of a better phrase, were run-of-the-mill.
Just because I had seen enough chicken that week to last the rest of the month didn’t matter for the other member of my party. The stuffed chicken entrée is exactly what I expected from a place whose popularity rose in the height of the ‘stuffed chicken’ era of our nation. As sick of it as I was…I wish I ordered that darn chicken when I tasted it!
The super-white meat was perfectly cooked and retained its juiciness all while that tomato-filled center got thoroughly cooked through. Served with roasted fingerlings and cauliflower, the entire dish was complimented by a tomato-y sauce that served as the bed for each element of the dish.
I didn’t order a glass of wine, I didn’t opt for a chicken appetizer…AND I ordered dessert? With that final blow, I successfully went off the rails of my usual eating out habits– but was the dessert course worth it? Since my party opted for the ‘famous’ Brown Derby Cobb salad, we couldn’t leave in good conscience without trying the other famed Brown Derby stable…the grapefruit cake!
Since I rarely (ok, never) order desserts as a part of my sit-down meal- I usually save it for a fireworks treat- I’m not familiar with how WDW dessert menus are set up. That being said, I really liked the way this menu was laid out! I chose to pick 3 miniature desserts, grapefruit cake included of course, because why sample just one when you can get 3 tiny tastes? The grapefruit cake (right) was surprisingly delicious.
Covered with dense frosting, this is usually the type of dessert this chocoholic steers clear of, but the light, airy texture of the cake complimented the rich frosting so perfectly that it almost felt like you weren’t eating any calories at all! The best thing I can say about the blueberry cheesecake is that it came topped with a cute Brown Derby hat, and the warm blueberry cobbler was a refreshing finish to the meal.
I was transported back in time from the moment I walked into The Hollywood Brown Derby and didn’t return to the present until I had exited. Judging from the outside of the building, the warmth and interior ambiance is not something I expected to find in the dining room. Every ingredient in every plate was fresh, and although the pork dish was disappointing, every other item my table was served was very good.
After a full, heavy meal like this, the last thing on my mind was dessert. You can’t leave without ordering a sampler! Even if you’re as stuffed as I was, the light, fruit-forward desserts are sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Have you ever dined at The Hollywood Brown Derby? If so, leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it!
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