Apps & Drinks at the Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill
Finding myself at Disney Springs without a dinner reservation has been my norm as of late. It’s not that I’ve been slacking on my ADR game, but that Disney Springs’ happy hour advertisements have been working on me! I’ve been trying the different happy hours located across the Springs (I know, tough job). One in particular is the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill!
Unless I’m at Jock Lindsey’s (because I WILL make a meal out of their reduced price happy hour pizza and jumbo pretzel), I’m finding that I’m always emerging from said happy hours with an empty belly. When hunger strikes, the restaurant with the smallest wait window is where I’m heading! On a recent evening, that restaurant happened to be the new Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill!
As a new restaurant in Central Florida’s newest and most electric pedestrian center, it’s likely to boast a hefty wait for a table. To my utter shock, Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill was desolate on a Friday evening at dinnertime. There was no wait for a table, and other than the roaring fire in the brick oven, the place was silent…
Which made for a great photo opportunity! The restaurant’s open-kitchen layout is very similar in atmosphere to restaurants like Frontera Cocina where modern lighting fixtures and a spacious floor plan were utilized. Wooded wall panels and exposed rustic beams contrasted nicely with the silver lighting fixture, and the décor furthered my belief that my culinary experience would draw both from classic preparations and new flavors!
Drinks and Appetizers
I’m fantastically skilled at piecing together a full, balanced meal from the appetizer menu. I would always prefer a menu of small plates where I can choose multiple and embark on many culinary experiences instead of just one. So, I scoured the appetizer menu like the seasoned veteran that I am and made my selection!
After having chosen a light-bodied Pinot Noir as my beverage accompaniment, I knew I wanted to keep the food light too. I opted for grilled broccolini, head-on shrimp, and an order of their house-made focaccia. The broccolini came out first, and it was a perfect precursor to the other items I ordered.
Grilled to maintain its bright green color and incredible crunchiness, the broccolini itself was well-cooked. I’m a vegetable purist, so for my taste, I would have preferred the dish to have come without the cheese and breadcrumb topping, but I was able to easily pick around it.
The focaccia came next, and I must admit- I had been pre-judging this appetizer from the moment I stepped through the doors. Plate after plate of piled-high, piping-hot focaccia flew from the kitchen and showed no signs of slowing down. Considering only a few other tables were occupied, I estimated that every table in the place ordered at least 2 of these appetizers…and I was not to miss out!
The focaccia was delicious. The bread itself was leavened nicely and for me, the springy rebound action was all I needed to know that this is real, true focaccia…and I haven’t even talked about the oil! This focaccia was coated in a wonderfully fragrant and equally flavorful olive oil.
My only complaint- if it can be considered so- is that the amount of heavy oil on the bread made it become soggy and heavy after it had been at the table for awhile. Lesson learned: eat all of the focaccia when it arrives at the table!
Finally, the shrimp. I always like to save my favorite for the end, but each of the three appetizers were unique, flavorful, and really well-prepared. Speaking of well-prepared, the shrimp was presented on a bed of buttery garlic toasts and were topped with spicy peppers and breadcrumbs. On the initial taste, I went for it all: garlic toast stacked high with shrimp and peppers.
The flavor combination was balanced at first, and I got a nice kick from the pepper…until the butter overpowered the entire dish. It took a second bite to realize that the garlic toast was absolutely doused in butter. I’m talking quarter-inch high, unmelted butter. Once I had identified the culprit, I was able to move on with enjoying my shrimp!
The shrimp itself was cooked to perfection. The flavors of the oil marinade did a fantastic job of shining through the spice of the pepper. The breadcrumbs added a nice texture contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth shrimp and, although I will warn anyone with a distaste for spice before ordering this dish, the heat from the pepper that stung my tongue long after my last bite enhanced each and every one of those flavors!
It’s true that I did not taste the restaurant’s signature brick oven pizza pies, but my overall experience at Wolfgang Puck Express Bar and Grill was enjoyable nonetheless. If they could control whoever is in charge of applying oil and butter to the bread products, I wouldn’t have one negative thing to say. Oil saturation aside, my food was delivered hot and hit the spot!
Since the restaurant was new, they hadn’t’ reached an agreement with Disney yet regarding Annual Passholder discounts. Instead of receiving absolutely nothing for patronizing, the restaurant offered Passholders one free scoop of any flavor gelato!
I opted for lemon, and as if my haphazardly unexpected meal wasn’t already good enough, I left with the flavors of sweet lemon on my tongue, and a very happy belly. Have you tried the new Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill yet? If so, leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!
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