Dinner at bluezoo

with friends and few photos…

When we returned from our recent cruise, we wanted to continue the “vacation feeling” for the whole day — so, we made reservations for dinner at bluezoo and asked Calvin & Kate to join us. We contacted Chad (remember him from the Food & Wine Classic?) and asked if he could be sure that we were seated in a quieter area (our previous meals at bluezoo had always been at the tables in the bar area). Chad was happy to accommodate our request, and he “plussed” the experience by having us seated in Joseph’s area (Joseph was our waiter).

As we said, we have very few photos — the evening was really about enjoying the company and delighting in the food —


Calvin started with a glass of Benzinger Merlot, Kate abstained (she is consistently our driver, THANK YOU!), nora and nick each had a Highland Park (scotch) with a smoked ice ball. Now, what is a smoked ice ball? bluezoo makes cubes of ice infused with smoke, these are then placed into some device that mills the cubes down into spheres; the sphere are able to slowly impart water (and a bit of smokiness) to your scotch while cooling it, amazingly, you don’t get the diluting effect that you would with ice cubes!

Calvin & Kate’s Food…

Calvin ordered clam chowder and Kate ordered Tuna Tartare for appetizers; nora and nick decided to splurge and ordered the Chef’s Taste for the evening, 5 courses – it was a winner! Our first course was “butter poached cape canaveral shrimp, glazed baby radish, parsnip, turnip top, beet.” All of us were very pleased with our appetizers – Calvin enjoyed the clam chowder, it was a bit different from the thick, creamy clam chowder usually served (by the way, the thick, heavy, creamy clam chowder at Fulton’s Crab House is usually delish!); the chowder at bluezoo is a lighter and frothier, Calvin thought it excellent. Kate was also very pleased with her sushi grade tuna tartare (nick ordered this in the past and suggested that Kate would enjoy it), one of the outstanding features of the tuna tartare is the “nitro siracha aioli” – the spicy (not too spicy) sauce for the tuna is drizzled into liquid nitrogen, it freezes into little balls that slowly melt on your plate.

Calvin ordered the Simply Fish, this evening it was the Mero. Calvin isn’t as much of a fish lover as the other three of us, so we were a bit surprised when he ordered fish and we were delighted that he enjoyed it so much! The bluezoo menu describes the meal as…

  • Our daily selection of finest fresh fish selected from coastal waters around the world, simply grilled on our teppanyaki grill, served with your selection of sauce (Calvin chose the warm crabmeat, dijon mustard, and chives sauce).

Kate had the Chef’s Pasta – this changes daily depending on what the Chef decides to prepare that evening. She remembers that it was a chestnut ravioli and was “tres yummy”… nora remembers that there was lobster or shrimp in the sauce around the ravioli (and Kate let nora have a taste… the verdict of “tres yummy” is corroborated).

nick & nora’s Food…

We had the Chef’s Tasting, and it was wonderful! (prepared by Christopher Windus, Executive Chef & Chad Lobner, Sommelier) – the Chef’s Tasting is normally paired with a different wine for each course, Chad was gracious and paired our courses with sake (Thank you!)

The first course was “butter poached cape canaveral shrimp … glazed baby radish, parsnip, turnip top, and beet.” This was very good, the shrimp were not overcooked (a pet peeve of ours) and the vegetables were prepared just as we like them (lightly cooked). Additionally, Joseph timed the first and second course to coincide with Calvin & Kate’s starters (at times when various members at a table differ in their chose courses this can cause a problem with service – not at bluezoo in our experience, but definitely at Walt Disney World, they seem to find it difficult).

The second course was “house tagliatelle … king crab, brown butter, chanterelle.” Of course, this was also very good. The tagliatelle was a bit soft by nick’s preference; nora supposed it was because the pasta was fresh and not dried.

The third course was “mero … stir fried long beans, black garlic, pickled mustard seeds, kimchi rice ball.” nick and nora were tickled to see that this course had a strong asian influence. The fish was meltingly delicious and the accompaniments were right on target. nora was so pleased with this course that she’s considering having the mero on our next visit to bluezoo (coming very soon!).

The fourth course was “mangalitsa pork shoulder … grits, local collards, jalapeño honey glazed cornbread, bacon butter.” Now, those of you that know us KNOW that we are from the south and that we really like our pork. This dish was one of the few that we’ve had where the pork is “fancied up” and remains true to southern cooking. The chef gets kudos from us on this dish.

The fifth course was the cheese selection (and we shared with Calvin and Kate) “black swan, thomasville tome, winter park dairy bleu sunshine.” While we aren’t heavily versed in cheeses, we enjoyed all of these. It was really nice to have a cheese course after our dinners.


Our cheese plate (please excuse the blurriness, nora was using her phone to make the photo)


Joseph then brought out desserts, he had created a selection for us to enjoy. There are a few photos of the desserts… The plate included “banoffee pie” (caramelized banana custard on a sable base; with sea salt toffee, vanilla whipped, banana ice cream, and a banana tulle, served with caramel foam and caramel sauce) and “apple lasagna” (thin sliced apples and caramel baked into a “lasagna” served with puff pastry twists, caramel milk sorbet, yogurt cream and caramelized hazelnuts) – this was all wonderful and we were again happy to share with Calvin and Kate. While we probably could have done without the desserts (watching our waistlines!), they were fantastic and definitely way above the usual Walt Disney World desserts that may look really nice but don’t taste like much!

And with our dessert, nick and nora had two truly great Manhattans (yum, nora is a huge fan of Manhattans and loves it when they’re prepared correctly – on a side note… the bartenders at bluezoo really know their craft and they practice it as if it’s an art form rather than just mixing up A B & C into a drink to chug down). We have read about barrel-finishing bourbon – a process where you take an existing bourbon and then “barrel” it to influence the flavor profiles; the Manhattans were made with a bourbon that Chad had barrel-finished – FANTASTIC! (Chad, keep up the experiments!)


Our dessert selection, thank you Joseph! Left Front is Banofee Pie and the Right Front is the Apple Lasagna


It took a while to get around to making this post, so we’re sorry for any inconsistencies. We’re returning to bluezoo in a few days & hopefully (with Lisa & Andy’s help), we’ll be able to make a more thorough review of the food etc…

We love eating at bluezoo. It’s become our “special dinner” favorite, replacing California Grill. One of the things that we love about it… atmosphere. There are rarely loads of kids, the service is calm and unhurried, the dining room is quiet and elegant – compared to the nearly everything else at Walt Disney World, it’s clearly an ADULT place to enjoy your dinner.

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