dining Under the Sea In the Sunny Depths of Florida’s Disney World, Our Critic Finds a Last Bastion for a Good Meal I have been scoping out Central Florida’s restaurants for roughly three months, and for the most part, bluezoo Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel dining alternatives have been con- 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd. fined regretfully to the usual plethora Lake Buena Vista, FL of fast-food chains, synthetic upscale 407-934-1111 shams such as Applebee’s or Dillon’s, swandolphin.com/restaurants/ all-you-can-eat rib joints, fried-food bluezoo dives, and Chinese emporiums whose Entrées: $18 to $34 buffets are beneath contempt. Most are ### (out of four) incredibly cheap but not worth it. The one anomaly in this area is Cockadoodle’s Café (200 W. Tompkins (for sharing) from the immense selec- tion proffered by the raw bar. Main courses of a particularly out- standing nature are succulent, flaky SHELDON spit-roasted block of swordfish, fash- ionably embellished with tomato- LANDWEHR pepperoncini salad tossed in black olive orzo and toasted garlic bread crumbs or any of the daily, simply grilled fresh fish, such as plump and St., Inverness, FL), which closes at 2 juicy red snapper. p.m. daily. Meats served generally lean toward 58 • NEW YORK R E S I D E N T The Week of March 1, 2004 • w w w . n e w y o r k r e s i d e n t . c o m • ( 2 1 2 ) 9 9 3 - 9 4 1 0 It would be a reckless overstatement rare. The menu boasts a fork-tender, to infer that Cockadoodle’s is an epi- pan-roasted, bone-in fillet of beef that curean experience, but the welcoming starts out masterfully, teamed with owner, Art Green, is cheerfully civilized, wild mushrooms and bacon-wrapped and the breakfast and lunch foods asparagus, but the starchy, greasy top- emerging from the tidy kitchen have a ping of Roquefort rösti damages an sense of flow, plus carefully prepared otherwise promising entrée. and generous portions, which are very As in any of English’s restaurants, much worth the modest prices charged. desserts here are sweet and tempting. The white-hot regional buzz, how- ever, is Todd English’s first venture in Florida, coming to Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Hotel, where the chef dazzled all with his shimmering, newly opened, Titanic-size 300-seat bluezoo restaurant. The mammoth open kitchen offers a broad range of coastal cuisine with in- ternational and New American culi- nary influences, and it is the first restaurant in Florida to introduce ex- cellent skewered spit-roasted seafood and vegetables done on a dancing- wheel grill revolving around an open It’s All Happening: At bluezoo fire pit. If you’ve never tasted uncorrupted Deserving of a visit on its own due, we New England clam chowder, the found the caramel-pecan-espresso cake creamy, rich, yet buoyant version of- crowned with frothy whipped cream fered here is indisputably the best, im- markedly bodacious. A comprehensive posing in a large, gleaming white bowl and costly wine list supports the meals. floating salt-cured bacon and home- Conceived by accredited designer made oyster crackers. Jeffery Beers, the dining room offers a In fact, appetizers are one of blue- lissome, vibrant underwater theme, zoo’s most convincing strong points. hosting such highlights as a school of Another among the best is yellowfin metal fish swimming above a glowing tuna tartare enticingly seasoned and blue-glass bar, blue carpeting with a ideally paired with sushi rice, root gin- pattern of water droplets, and whimsi- ger, and toasted sesame. It’s so accom- cal bubble lighting. plished that one’s palate can identify Servers do quite well handling large every ingredient. crowds but are somewhat ill informed Jaded diners may also go for the re- about the menu. freshing avocado salad, pan-seared All told, bluezoo certainly provides jumbo scallops, lobster-chive a much-needed alternative and relief dumplings, seared crab cakes, blue- from the boundless plastic strongholds zoo’s clam fry, or a cool mixed platter of this region’s fast-food mongers.
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