Last week, we were at Magic Kingdom and stopped by Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. There, one of the items we ordered was their 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken meal. I found it quite good and wanted to compare it to Flame Tree Barbecue’s at Animal Kingdom. Well, I didn’t have to wait long to do that! Since Matt was still full from Yak & Yeti’s Beef Lo Mein and I had yet to eat, he decided to order the Key Lime Mousse to give it a try.
Here are the contenders:
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe’s 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken
served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Flame Tree Barbecue’s 1/2 Chicken
served with Baked Beans and Coleslaw
Neither of these chickens had crispy skin (which I like), but both were well seasoned and pulled away easily from the meat without being chewy. Speaking of the meat itself, both had very tender dark meat and was fall-off-the-bone good. The wing on both chickens was delicious.
Both chickens did suffer from slightly dry breast meat, but it was a bit less dry more forgivable at Flame Tree for a couple reasons: the flavor of the rub and smokiness permeated the meat better, and they also have a Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce available. This added moisture and a better flavor than the Simply Heinz tubs available at Cosmic Ray’s.
I will note that the Simply Heinz was available at Flame Tree where we sat, near the water with a view of Everest. The normal pump for their regular barbecue sauce was covered by a basket of them. The flanking ketchup and sweet & spicy sauces were unaffected.
On to the sides! The Coleslaw was relatively standard, but had a good consistency and crunch. I’ve had it before (when I ordered Flame Tree’s St. Louis Ribs) and it looks like they’ve doctored it up since then with some caraway and black pepper. None of this went to waste.
I don’t like Baked Beans, but as I noted when I tried them last time, these ones aren’t too bad. They have a bit of kick and pieces of pulled pork throughout. Matt was around to help this time, and he too liked the pulled pork in them.
When Matt mentioned that he wanted the Key Lime Mousse, I met him with an, “Are you sure?” He said he saw someone walking around with it, and at first glance he thought it was a cocktail before he realized it was a dessert. I placed the order and upon closer inspection, his hopes for this dessert fizzled.
He didn’t like the candy fruit jell lime on top (I helped with that). He couldn’t stand the, um, mucus-like gel layer. I think it ended up putting him off from the entire dessert. He tried to eat around it and liked the actual mousse portion well enough (“It’s limey.”), as well as the graham cracker crumbs at the bottom. But that gel just killed his appetite and he barely managed half of the dessert.
So who is the champion of this mini half-chicken battle? Flame Tree Barbecue! The main attraction here edged out Cosmic Ray’s. While they had a similar trouble with slightly dry white meat, Flame Tree’s overall flavor was more developed throughout, and I appreciated the smokiness. As for sides, both dishes had some weaknesses: Cosmic Ray’s mashed potatoes needed butter or gravy or something more, but Flame Tree serves Baked Beans, which, while they make sense with the meal, I don’t like (I know, that’s just my opinion!). I wouldn’t mind the coleslaw served alongside some green beans or other vegetable at Flame Tree.
Both meals offer a lot of food for a good price, so you can’t go wrong no matter which park you’re in, and I recommend taking advantage of that. As for that Key Lime Mousse? I can’t believe it’s been on the menu as long as it’s been (at least since 2011!) Skip it, and if you must order a dessert, go with the Chocolate Mousse. While We haven’t had Flame Tree’s, ABC Commissary’s fared pretty will with us, even though its presentation is different.
How do you weigh in on the Half Chicken Battle? What do you think of Flame Tree’s 1/2 Chicken? Are you a fan of the Key Lime Mousse?