Disney Hollywood Studios & Brown Derby for an excellent lunch

This experience took place on September 22, 2014

Our niece visited recently and the three of us trooped over to Disney Hollywood Studios to ride some rides and enjoy lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby. This was our first real experience with FastPass+… it went smoothly and the park wasn’t very crowded… can’t say I’m a fan of the fact that you have to get three FP+ and you can’t cancel the one or two that you don’t really want so that someone else can have that time slot. Lisa told me that you could go to the FP+ attendants and they’d take care of cancellations for you BUT heck! I don’t want to spend another 15 minutes canceling something that I should be able to cancel over My Disney Experience. Enough complaining.. We did:

  • Star Tours without FP+  – quick ride, new for Nevie since her last visit, we had the rebel-spy version (that was new to me and Nick too)
  • Muppet Vision 3D – we had FP+ but didn’t use them, again no crowds that day
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with FP+ – Nevie and I sat in the front row, just like old times… I hadn’t ridden this in over 2.5 years due to health reasons, it was quite nerve racking the first 2/3 of the ride, then I got into it and started screaming with delight
  • Tower of Terror without FP+ – no lines to speak of and it wasn’t time for our FP+
  • stop for a beer or cider and a quick snack
  • Tower of Terror again with FP+ – because we could!

Then it was time for lunch. Luckily for Nevie, there is lamb on the lunch menu at Hollywood Brown Derby. We had a 12:00 reservation but for some reason the computers kept crapping out when any of the front staff tried to get us settled in to wait and if they didn’t crap out, they decided that we were a party of 8. So, we waited and waited and waited while everyone around us was getting seated. Finally after 20 minutes or so, they called us up and asked where the rest of the party was, our table for 8 was ready… UM NO. Then they said we’d have to wait another 10 to 15 minutes for a table. UM NO. Luckily we saw the manager, Pil (we’ve met him a few times in the past) and he took matters into his own hands and seated us at a four-top (a small four-top banquette, we made it work but it was crowded). Thank you Pil!

Nevie comments: We had reservations but somehow they messed them up and thought it was for 8 people instead of just 3. Nick corrected them 3 times, but for some reason they still couldn’t figure out how to make a reservation for 8 go to 3. They made us wait while they tried to figure it out. Luckily the manager was there and discovered we were unhappy about something. He asked what was wrong, we explained and he immediately sat us at a four top table! He was great to fix the hiccup and we finally got to sit down. This was the only down side to this meal except that the table was small for our needs. We ordered a lot of food to share and it was hard to maneuver everything on the table.   The waitress was for the most part was attentive.   

We were here to take our time, so we started with cocktails:

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Martinis and Manhattans at Hollywood Brown Derby

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The Diva – Stoli Vanil Vodka, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, and Frangelico Hazelnut Liquor; Nevie’s choice, we thought it tasted like a Colorado Bulldog, more dessert than aperitif; she enjoyed it

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Cloe Canard – Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin and Gosling’s Ginger Beer; Nick’s choice, this was very tasty and quite refreshing, reminded us of the Antidote at the bluezoo lounge

My choice...

My choice…

Nora's choice, these were very strong and a little bit cough syrup in flavor profile (Honey Darling and Dorma Nesmond), they improved as they warmed a bit which confused me because Andy says that martinis should be extremely cold...

Nora’s choice, these were very strong and a little bit cough syrup in flavor profile (Honey Darling and Dorma Nesmond), they improved as they warmed a bit which confused me because Andy says that martinis should be extremely cold…

Nevie comments on cocktails round one: I got a Godiva martini that tasted like really good chocolate milk! Nora got a martini as well and Nick got a gin and something. We all liked our first drink. Nora got the martini flight which we only really liked one of them. The pomegranate was the least favorite as it tasted like cough syrup (and not the good kind).

We ordered two appetizers to start…

Blue Lump Crab Spring Rolls, Snow Crab Claw, and an Asian Slaw with spicy Miso Aioli - while we all enjoyed this one, it wasn't OMG Delicious!

Blue Lump Crab Spring Rolls, Snow Crab Claw, and an Asian Slaw with spicy Miso Aioli – while we all enjoyed this one, it wasn’t OMG Delicious!

Nevie comments: These were good but not compared to the cheese plate. The dipping sauce had a little bit of a kick but wasn’t that great overall.

Artisanal Cheeses - Chèvre Affineurs Goat Gouda, Point Reyes Toma, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese with House-made Pickles, Spiced Pecans, and an Apple-Mustard Marmalade

Artisanal Cheeses – Chèvre Affineurs Goat Gouda, Point Reyes Toma, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese with House-made Pickles, Spiced Pecans, and an Apple-Mustard Marmalade

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Goat Gouda with spiced pecans and honeycomb

Point Reyes Toma with house made pickles

Point Reyes Toma with house made pickles

blue cheese with mustard chutney and spiced pears

blue cheese with mustard chutney and spiced pears

We enjoyed all three of these cheeses, I think that the gouda and the blue cheese were our favorites. Nevie had never had cheese with honey and she was in love with the combination. The blue cheese came with the apple-mustard marmalade and with wine poached pear slices (I think I was the only one at the table who really liked these).

Nevie comments: This was so amazing! The cheeses were fantastic the gouda being my favorite with the honey. The pecans were to die for! The apple mustard marmalade was ok but not my favorite. 

We chose to have another set of cocktails before our entrees…

Well, Nevie and I ordered another round, Nick just tasted and grinned at us enjoying ourselves. Nevie ordered the Citizens Take Flight of Margaritas

Nevie's margarita flight

Nevie’s margarita flight

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Talluhah Tini and Margarita Flight

At this point, we decided that we didn’t like the pomegranate whatever that they are using at the Hollywood Brown Derby (very medicinal). I ordered the Tallulah Tini – this was the best Martini yet, I’ll be ordering it on our next visit!

Time for entrees and wines…

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Lamb

Nevie ordered the Herb-crusted Grilled Loin of Lamb over Roasted Fingerling and Marble Potatoes tossed with Argugula Butter, and a Chianti and Sweet Onion Reduction. She asked for the lamb to be cooked rare and it was. The wine was Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy ’11 and it was delicious. Nick thought the wine went well with the gaminess of the lamb.

Nieve’s comments: I ordered it rare and that is exactly what I got! It was so tender and flavorful. The grill marks were gorgeous and the ramps and potatoes were way too good. I can’t say enough about how much I loved this lamb dish! I am looking forward to having this again someday.

Nora responds: Already got reservations at Brown Derby for your next visit in November!

Pork

Pork

I ordered the Pan-Seared Mulato Chile-dusted Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa-Espresso and Habanero Barbecue Sauces over a Parsnip Mash and Peach Relish, it is paired with Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, ’10. About the wine, I loved it (keep in mind, I’m a cab girl), both Nevie and Nick got “barrel” on the nose and we all agreed that it paired nicely with the robust flavors of the pork. The habanero sauce was excellent and the pork was cooked medium rare just as I ordered it. The portion was huge and every bite was delicious.

Nevie comments: another perfectly cooked dish! The pork was so seasoned well and very tender. You barely needed a knife to cut it. The spiced apple on the side was extremely good as well!

Grouper... so good, it gets two photos

Grouper… so good, it gets two photos

Nick ordered the Pan-seared Coriander-crusted Black Grouper over a Lobster and Fava Bean Succotash with a Smoked Espelette Oil paired with Kenwood Vineyards Moscato Zacchera, California ’12. The wine’s nose was very stone fruit. It paired nicely even though moscato isn’t Nick’s go to with fish. The fish was perfectly prepared and the accompaniments were delicious.

Nevie comments: To finish the perfection of entrees the fish was cooked perfectly as well. The fish almost melted in your mouth.

... grouper again, get this if you like fish!

… grouper again, get this if you like fish!

A few words…

Our server was Charissa and she was perfect for us. Although the restaurant was jammed with people wanting to take advantage of their Disney Dining Plan or the lunch specials, she understood that we wanted to DINE and take our time. We never felt rushed or pushed or inconvenienced. We’ll ask for her again.

Even though a lot of people were ordering the burger or pasta lunch special (we’ll ignore the kids meals we saw coming out of the kitchen) and we ordered true entrees, the chef managed to get three very different dishes to our table at the same time cooked perfectly. Kudos to the kitchen at The Hollywood Brown Derby.

Nevie comments: We think the entrees were prepared so well because the chef was happy to be making something besides hot dogs, hamburgers and pasta. Besides the hiccup checking in this was a fantastic meal and I would go back in a heartbeat! It only took us three hours to eat lunch!

Lastly, Thank you to Pil for getting us seated and diffusing what was becoming a very frustrating situation for us. Thank you thank you thank you.

We’ll definitely be back to the Brown Derby for lunch!

We stopped and watched some Streetmosphere Characters on our way out of the park; I don’t think we’d ever taken the time to do this with Nevie when she was a teenager… It was so nice to have a belly laugh at these guys.

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