The California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has been closed for renovation since early this year, but Disney offered a preview of the re-imagined restaurant at a media event last week.
Walt Disney World’s original signature dining location received a facelift with new signage, floor-to-ceiling windows offerings diners a panoramic 360-degree view, and an entirely new décor inspired by Disney artist Mary Blair. The new design includes a new color palette and light fixtures that give the restaurant a modern yet retro look.
On the food and wine front there is a new wine storage area that houses 1,600 bottles of wine in a climate-controlled showcase, and the kitchen has added a wood-burning oven. The sushi counter features updated lighting and showcase displays, giving diners even more to look at. The open kitchen also gives diners a chance to watch the culinary magic as it happens.
The updated menu includes some old favorites – including goat cheese ravioli and pork two ways with polenta – but it also features new dishes. The drink menu features classic cocktails such as the Classic Side Car, and it features new drinks like the Sake Martini.
There is a new wood-burning oven menu where diners will find seasonal flatbread choices and the new Three-Meat Signature Meatballs. Favorite sushi items are still available, as is a new sushi option, the Pork Belly Nigiri. A new item on the appetizer menu is Duck in All Its Glory which features house-made sausage, rillettes, prosciutto, duck liver pate, and cranberry compote.
The entrée menu includes new items such as 24-Hour Short Rib “Filet” with caramelized root vegetables, olive oil-potato puree, and red wine butter, and the Roasted Squash Ravioli.
No meal is complete without dessert and the California Grill has some new dessert items that diners are sure to love including the sundae sampler that includes a Coke float, a strawberry sundae, and a caramel corn sundae. Other choices on the dessert menu include chocolate pudding cake, a Meyer Lemon cheesecake, and fritters.
In addition to all the new items, the California Grill is also offering a new Omakase Menu. This menu is similar to a Chef’s Table experience at other restaurants and there will be one seating per night at 8 p.m.
Diners choosing the Omakase Menu will be seated at the Sushi Bar and will dine on anywhere from 10 to 14 courses that will primarily be sushi, but can include other items at the chef’s discretion (the word “omaksase” means “to entrust”). The courses will start out light and move on to richer, heavier courses as the meal continues. The price for the Omakase Menu experience is $175 per person.
Our friends at the Disney Food Blog were in attendance at the media preview event, and have a great post up with a lot of great photos. Make sure you check it out! (And a big thanks to the Disney Food Blog for the use of their photo).
The California Grill officially reopens today, September 9.