It’s been just over two years since our last visit to Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge (too long, honestly). Matt had been wanting to go out for a nice dinner on property lately, so when a reasonably-timed reservation became available at Artist Point, we booked.
We were looking forward to a leisurely dining experience, so we were in to rush to get in and out. Our server took notice and didn’t try to push us through the meal. We started with a basket of their Sourdough Bread, which, while the bread itself hasn’t changed, the accompaniments its served with have slightly.
The for scoop of butter is still topped with Black Lava Salt, but it is now served as a pat. An olive oil with fennel is no longer served alongside, either. I’ll not that this is far from a deal breaker for us, as Matt just wants butter anyway, and we’re not just there for bread. 😉
For his appetizer, Matt ordered the Confit Duck Strudel – Seared Duck Breast and Hazelnut Gremolata, with Stone Fruit Preserve. If there is duck on a menu, chances are Matt is going to order it (he’s also a fan of the Duck Confit Sliders at The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge). The portion for this appetizer is quite large, with three sizable pieces of “strudel” topped with sliced duck breast.
The dish had a nice balance of sweet and savory, and it a bit on the rich side. It’s definitely an appetizer worth ordering, but those with lighter appetites might want to share if you’re there for a full meal. With a seasonal menu, though, this is likely one that will get switched out over time.
For my appetizer, I had to get the Smokey Portobello Soup with Roasted Shiitakes, Chive Oil, and Sourdough Croutons. I had ordered this on my last visit, and knowing I’d get to sample something new with Matt’s appetizer, I didn’t feel too guilty ordering this again!
The soup is rich, but not heavy, and has a nice earthiness from the mushrooms. It’s definitely one of my favorite soups on property.
Since we had brought in some beers from the adjacent Territory Lounge (Holy mackerel, it was packed when we arrived shortly after opening! The rain was driving people indoors.), we were finishing them up with our appetizers and ready for a fresh round. Since I was a fan of the Blood Orange Mule at California Grill, I opted to try Disney’s bar-menu standard Moscow Mule featuring Russian Standard Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice, and Agave Nectar topped with Ginger Beer. It was a gutsy move for me since I’m not crazy about ginger, but I liked it, and the flavor of Ginger Beer is growing on me.
Matt had his stand-by, a double Maker’s Mark on the rocks.
Matt was torn between ordering the Pan Seared Teriyaki Crusted Swordfish and the Seared Diver Scallops. The swordfish stood out to him since he loves Teriyaki anything, but the Spicy Pork Belly Dumpling with which it is served is what really caught his eye. He ultimately ordered the Seared Diver Scallops, since he was in the mood for them. The dish features Creamy Fregola Pasta with Fresh Basil, Blistered Tomatoes, Baby Fennel, and Pancetta Sofrito. The scallops were expertly cooked, and had a nice sweetness to them. They were really the star of the dish, although Matt enjoyed everything on the plate.
He asked our server if it would be at all possible to get the Spicy Pork Belly Dumpling on the side in addition to his entree, and he checked with the chef who made it happen. We both thought a plate of these would make for a great appetizer. Neither of us found the pork too spicy, and it had that delicious pork belly flavor.
I didn’t stray far from my entree in terms of what I ordered last time, but the Buffalo dish has seen some changes over the years. The dish is now the 54°C Buffalo Duo, which features Grilled Buffalo Strip Steak, Cotswald Mac and Cheese, Green Peas, Crispy Shallots, Buffalo Sausage, Broccoflower, and a Black Currant Demi.
The buffalo was recommended to be cooked to medium or medium-rare, and I went for the medium-rare. It was so incredibly tender I almost didn’t need a knife for it. The demi paired very nicely with it as well. The mac and cheese was very good, but my favorite item on the plate was the sausage (it’s sort of hiding between the greens on top and the broccoflower). I thought it was well seasoned with a bit of a kick – a nice contrast to the more tame (but flavorful) strip. Apart from the greens and some broccoflower, I surprised Matt by eating as much as I did. Of course, there was no room for dessert in either one of us.
The dinner and dessert menus:
We’ve been to Artist Point on several occasions, and I think this may have been our best experience to date. The service was great, and the food was even better than we remembered from our last meal there. If you have the opportunity on your next visit to dine at the restaurant, I highly recommend that you do.
Do you have a favorite dish at Artist Point? Do you prefer to order from the more seasonal items, or the tried-and true favorites?