We recently had the opportunity to return to Todd English’s bluezoo at the Dolphin hotel because my six year old has such good taste that it was his choice to celebrate his birthday. (His second choice would have been The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland, so we got pretty lucky.)
The Dolphin (an Epcot resort, though technically owned by Marriott rather than Disney) is located, along with The Swan, between Yacht Club and Disney’s Boardwalk Resort on Crescent Lake. And I’ll just start by saying that this is not so much a review as a love letter. This restaurant needs no reviewing. It is wonderful. It is not an inexpensive meal – so it’s more of an occasion spot for us – but nothing that you put in your mouth here is not delicious.
For starters, silly as it sounds, my kids are obsessed with their Swedish Fish Soda. Which tastes just. like. Swedish. fish. They’ve talked about it frequently since their first trip here several years ago and when they request to go back, I suspect this is the main reason why.
The drink menu is also loaded with wonderful adult-style beverages.
Like the extraordinary Serenity – cucumber vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, muddled strawberries, basil, rosemary, lime, and a splash of pineapple juice… Easily one of the best drinks on property.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the basket of warm bread, focaccia, and rosemary & parmesan crisps that lands on the table shortly after you arrive with a bowl of softened fennel seed butter. I could make a meal of it and leave happy. (Though the staff at the restaurant might not be equally thrilled…)
And next – the appetizers.
Mind you some of these are ever changing. But the oysters (here a selection from the east and west coasts) and low country jumbo shrimp, served with white cheddar grits, okra, and smoked bacon butter are ever present and divine.
But if you know bluezoo, you know why we came here. And it was for the main courses. My husband and I both have our long favorites here and we got them again tonight – and shared them a bit since they’re both phenomenal.
The miso glazed mero – a hawaiian sea bass with shitake-ginger rice, black garlic, and sticky soy – is my personal favorite on the menu.
The fish is the stuff that dreams are made of. Flaky and buttery but still hearty. I could eat the rice all day every day. Light as a feather but still satisfying, it’s a meal that will all at once make you feel full and healthy – like you indulged but in only all of the right ways.
And then there’s my husband’s favorite – and undeniably the item for which Todd English’s bluezoo is best known. The Cantonese Lobster.
A two pound Maine “cantonese” lobster fried and tossed in sticky soy glaze. The bok choy is wonderful. The rice is better than any rice should taste. The lobster is massive and explodes in your mouth. It is borderline obscenely delicious and it is a LOT of food.
And last but not least, dessert.
My kids shared the aptly named “dessert”ed island – according to the kids’ menu: “a chocolate boat filled with vanilla ice cream sailing the jello seas to explore chocolate island”. This is the kind of thing that makes me love bluezoo all the more – as it manages to strike a rare balance between insanely fine dining and kid-friendly not-taking-itself-too-seriously fun.
We opted for the pear beignet – a pear cream beignet in pear cider batter with blackberry sorbet, pear agar, blackberry sauce, blackberry crunch, and dulce de leche panna cotta.
I’m the first to say that I’ll order a simple amazing dessert 1,000 times before some fru fru sweet. So I’m not giving out compliments easily when I say that this thing is divine. The pear beignet itself is delicious and needless to say sitting pretty beside the blackberry sorbet – and all on a bed of dulce de leche panna cotta that I would happily have eaten a bowl of alone.
As I said in the beginning, this was not so much a review as a love letter to Todd English and his divine restaurant, bluezoo. I was so incredibly happy when my youngest chose this for his birthday weekend meal – in part because it’s just a wonderful spot. But also because I have been looking for an excuse to share it with all of you.
Until next time.
Have you been to Todd English’s bluezoo before? If so, what was your favorite dish there??