Friday, November 30, 2012

Foodie Friday: Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Review

The long-awaited Be Our Guest Restaurant is now open... and it does NOT disappoint. This restaurant serves a counter service style lunch and  a table service dinner. When you walk into the restaurant for lunch, you are directed down the hallway to the right, flanked by three suits of armor on each side. These suits of armor are, different. This is the Beast's castle after all! Pay attention as you walk through here. While you wait, digital menu screens in the center of the hallway show you photos of the food you are about to order, hopefully making it easier to decide.                                                                                                        

The next room is themed after the parlor in Beauty and the Beast, with the fireplace and huge wing chair that Beast sits in. The Cast Member here gives you a magical “rose”, which tells Cast Members where to bring your food, and is activated by a Mickey head on the side of the check-in desk. You proceed to a register and place your order. At lunch, touch-screen, automated terminals are available for guests to order using credit cards. For special dietary requests and cash orders, cashiers are available. And in addition to the “rose” telling Cast Members where to bring your food, Cast Members also use a special "blackberry type" device to see which tables need clearing, where your order is in the kitchen and other "official castle" communication. Once your order is placed, you’ll sit down and your order will be delivered to you on real tableware, no paper and plastic! You pick up your napkins and silverware in carts near the self serve beverage areas in each dining room. Food delivery is done in a very unique and appropriate fashion befitting a castle, wheeled out in fancy glass-covered rolling carts. The hot food is under glass, and cold items are on the next shelf down. (Remember, the servers find you based on your magic rose!)

Here is the basic lunch Counter-Service Menu: Sandwiches and salads on the menu include a tuna Niçoise salad and a Croque Monsieur sandwich with carved ham, Gruyere cheese, béchamel and pommes frites, Carved turkey on a warm baguette with Dijon mayonnaise, or a grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread. These are also served with pommes frites. A braised pork dish is also available. Vegetarians will enjoy a loaded vegetable quiche or quinoa, shallot, and chive salad. For the kids at lunch, there is a carved turkey sandwich, roasted pulled pork, Mickey meatloaf, seared mahi mahi, or whole-grain macaroni topped with marinara and mozzarella. Desserts include strawberry cream cheese. lemon meringue or triple chocolate cupcakes, a chocolate cream puff, or a passion fruit cream puff.

At lunch you have three dining rooms to choose from: the West Wing (to the left) and Rose Gallery (to the right), as well as the main ballroom. I was told that in the Table-Service dinner, only the West Wing and main Ballroom will be opened. The Rose Gallery will be used as a "staging area" for the dinner hour, as well as "overflow" dinner seating when necessary.

The centerpiece of the Rose Gallery is a 7 foot wooden music box figure of Belle and Beast a gift from Belle’s father, Maurice, on their wedding day. The figures turn and dance while music-box versions of the soundtrack you hear throughout the restaurant play. Each side has a different front detail so be sure to walk around and look at all sides. There are many tapestries on the walls depicting scenes from the movie as well as some others that are not. Carved roses are featured throughout the room.

The West Wing is truly an amazing setting. The lights are very dim, the tapestries and walls are shredded and clawed, and you’ll see a familiar portrait on the wall as well as a shimmering rose under a glass jar! Notice what happens when all the petals fall. Lightening and thunder flash and crash around you. If you have smaller diners they may find the thunder a bit noisy, and remember it is quite dark in this room, you are in the Beast's West Wing after all!

The elegant ballroom is the largest dining area. As you enter, look up. The centerpiece of the room is the painted ceiling, featuring winged cherubs and clouds as well as massive chandeliers! My favorite part of this room is the snowfall projected outside the windows that overlook the French countryside. Seating here is comfortable and elegant, with marble tables and terrazzo floors with mosaics. The combination of the 20 foot ceilings and the terrazzo floors can make this room a bit noisy during busy times however.

My choice for lunch was Croque Monsieur sandwich. The bread was a hearty whole grain and the ham was cut in thick slices. The gruyere cheese was nutty and salty and perfectly melted, and the béchamel soaked into the bread.  The fries, excuse me, Pomme Frites, are good, but not memorable. Ketchup is served in a ramekin, no packets here! There is a carrot ketchup on the kid's menu, and next time I think I'll ask to try that. For dessert I had the Triple Chocolate Cupcake featuring chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate ganache. It was excellent and very rich. If you're not a chocolate lover, you might want to go with another choice here. Note those little plastic wrappers on the cupcakes? Trust me, just dig into them with your spoon. On my next visit, I plan to order the steak sandwich, I saw it being delivered to tables around me and it looked wonderful! If you visit at lunch, take your time and look around all three dining rooms and notice all the hidden details (I've only shared a few here ;) ! ) I visited during one of the Passholder Preview weekends and I have heard that some of the prices pictured above may have risen slightly since then, so keep that in mind.

Disney Dining Plan: One quick-service credit for lunch; one table-service credit for dinner
Tables in Wonderland: Dinner only.

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