When: November 24, 2015, 12:30 PM
Verdict? Not recommended
The Carthay Circle Restaurant is an upscale, higher-dollar dining experience located in the heart of California Adventure. There are two different establishments inside the Carthay Circle building: the Carthay Circle Lounge (downstairs), and the Restaurant (upstairs). The Lounge doesn’t take reservations, but the Restaurant does (and I definitely recommend them, as they seem to go quickly).
I’ve been very bullish on the Carthay Circle Restaurant since Disney first announced the project. Putting a fine-dining restaurant in the middle of a theme park was a surprising move, because it’s outside of what most people think of when they think of theme park food. Disney further stoked expectations when they put Chef Andrew Sutton (responsible for Napa Rose and Club 33) in charge of the menu. I’ve dined at the Carthay a few times, and have really enjoyed it. It’s a bright spot for me.
Today, we were here for lunch, and I wanted to try something different. With highest of hopes, I went with the Grilled Angus Flank Steak Salad.
I don’t recommend the dish.
First: presentation. The dish looks less like a steak salad, and more like a small side of steak served with a large portion of veg. I’m OK with non-traditional presentation, but I initially thought they’d brought me the wrong order!
Second: the steak. Too salty and (surprisingly) tough. The steakwas marinated, and had some flavor, but the salt level was too high and it took the subtlety out of the meat. The toughness of the steak also made it excessively chewy. And finally, the onion straws served on top of the steak were gratuitous. They’re not really adding anything.
Third: the salad. My first few bites were great – and then, as I dug in to my fourth or fifth bite, the whole thing became very pedestrian. The salad was composed of a vegetable medley – beets, pea shoots, marinated onions – and sauced with a vinaigrette. Once the novelty wore off, I noticed that the beets were a bit on the mushy side, and the vegetables themselves were not terribly fresh. Eating started to feel like a chore. Finally, I found a few small chunks of blue cheese hiding at the bottom of the arrangement. They were a bit melted, and not very strong.
This is a dish that is great on paper, but didn’t come together. It was very, very mediocre, and absolutely not worth its $25 price tag. (By comparison, the Greek Salad at Paradise Garden Grill is way, way better than this – and 2/3 the price.) There are better lunches to be had. Skip this.
UPDATE: As of May 2016, this dish is no longer available.