Restaurants in tourist areas don’t need to be all that great, because there is a constant supply of new patrons. But I’m a big fan of Gibson’s restaurants in Chicago, so I decided to give The Boathouse a try, and I’m glad I did.
As you would expect for a restaurant at Disney Springs, the decor and theming are spectacular. But the food is even better. I had the chopped salad with a couple of shrimp added. The salad was huge, very fresh, and the shrimp were perhaps the freshest I’ve had anywhere. I will definitely explore their raw bar when I return.
My wife had a selection of raw oysters, and also commented on how fresh they were.
The place was packed at lunchtime on a Monday, but the servers did a good job of keeping up, and the noise levels were quite reasonable.
The Boathouse is definitely my new favorite restaurant at Disney Springs.
Orlando lacks variety in the high-end dining scene, with only a few top-notch restaurants that aren’t steakhouses. That makes the competition for best steakhouse even tougher, because there are so many to choose from. It doesn’t get much better than The Bull and Bear.
You won’t find much on this menu that isn’t on every other steakhouse menu in town, but the execution here is superb.
The wedge salad, really more of a stacked dome, is a good starter, with a choice of dressing, and delicious bacon crumbles.
The steaks, of course, are top-notch. But the real standout for me was the short rib, which was easily the best I’ve ever had. Served on one not-so-short rib, the meat was succulent without being overcooked, and the rich, complex reductive sauce was stellar.
The usual sides are here. Particularly good is the creamed corn.
Wine prices are average, and there is an adequate selection, although no vintage depth.
The electronic menu used for both food and wine actually works really well, and the pictures linked to the menu items looked exactly like the dishes we were served.
Our wine group used to meet here regularly, but over time it slipped off my radar, so I hadn’t been here in years. The food is a top-notch as it ever was, although the prices have certainly increased!
With all the steak house chains available to choose from, I must admit that Flemings is not near the top of my list, but friends suggested meeting here. I would rate both the interior and the service as toward the lower end of the steak house spectrum. Service was particularly a problem, with our waiter constantly barging in, but not around when we needed him, and rushing us through the meal to the point that he was placing our desserts on the table before the dinner plates were cleared, and while some guests were still eating their entrees.
My steak was just okay, cooked well past the requested medium-rare and not particularly tender or flavorful.
I will say that some of the wines — especially the upper-end selections — are reasonably priced, especially in comparison to the Flemings near our home in Orlando.
Overall I’d recommend this place for a quick (very quick) business meal, but not a fine dining evening.
The highlight here is the gorgeous decor. From the large bar with its high top table to the comfortable dining room with large booths and an open kitchen, every surface is elegant stone and wood. Even the outside covered dining area is beautifully designed.
Unfortunately the food experience is rather uneven. Both the Ceasar salad and Mixed Green salad were wonderful. My prime rib was perfectly cooked, although there was a tremendous amount of fat, about a third of the serving. Still, it was plenty. But my wife’s “New York strip” looked like a flank steak, but was tough even for that cut. It was perhaps the toughest steak she’s ever been served. Sure, she could have sent it back, but it was obvious on inspection that it wasn’t a good steak, so I think that’s some measure of performance.
Tater tots were an excellent side.
Wine prices are reasonable by the bottle, only a bit more than double retail.
Service was very good. Note that if you’re not in a hurry you should tell them, though, as it tends to be very speedy.
This location seems a little tired, but it’s undergoing a remodel that should improve it. Service was good, and the food was well-prepared and served hot.
The Appetizer sampler offers petals from a bloomin’ onion, cheese and bacon fries, and deep-fried mac and cheese. Stick with the bloomin’ onion petals. The fries in particular don’t really work, as the cheese has a mind of its own, and doesn’t want to have anything to do with them.
The half portion of ribs is a winner. These are the meatiest ribs I’ve ever been served, and the sauce, while sweet, has a nice tang to it.
Drink prices deserve a shout out. The house margarita is a deal at $6, and the sampling of four different margaritas (served on a boomerang!) for $7 is an even better deal.
The outlaw rib eye is the go to steak here, arguably better than any steak you can get as sister restaurant Capital Grille. Lunch items are a good deal, but not up to the quality of the dinner menu. Excellent decor, bar ambiance, and service.
While pancakes and steak might sound like an odd combo, this is indeed a good place for breakfast or dinner.
The dinner menu contains a few entrees, steaked and Italian dishes, and lots of sandwich and burger options. My buffalo chicken sandwich was one of the most succulent and tender pieces of chicken I’ve had, and was perfectly sauced.
Prices are very reasonable, and the service is friendly and enthusiastic. The restaurant is attached to a lounge, so cocktails are also available.