If you’ve spent any time wandering around Disney Springs in recent months (or have followed along with all the coverage here on TouringPlans), you’ve probably noticed just how many new restaurants were on the way in the newly-revamped Landing and entirely new Town Center sections. This past Sunday, several of those options opened to the public and of course, I had to give a few of these new locations a shot to offer some opening day first impressions. I couldn’t make it everywhere, but rest assured, we’ll cover them in the coming weeks and months to see if they are worth some time on your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation.
My first stop of the day was what’s sure to be one of the more popular additions to Disney Springs – D-Luxe Burger, located just across the springs behind Morimoto Asia, in the Town Center section. As with most dining locations on opening day, there was quite a line, but I was impressed at the efficiency of it all – I arrived in line around 11:30 AM and made it to a register in about 20 minutes. The menu here is pretty simple – your choice of six specialty burgers, a la carte sides of fries, various dipping sauces, and then a large beverage menu, including gelato shakes, floats, and several alcoholic options. All of the beef patty burgers are made with a signature blend of angus chuck, short rib, and brisket in-house (none of those frozen patties you see at Electric Umbrella here), and the fries are fresh-cut and take several days to prepare, start to finish. I was warned whilst in line that burgers are cooked “perfectly pink” per the chef’s recommendation by default, but you can request a more well-done patty if you so choose. I would caution those who prefer well-done burgers to be proactive here – I was fine with medium, but unlike other restaurants, I was not asked what temperature I wanted my burger when I ordered it; I would’ve had to have offered that information up myself.
As it was early in the day and quite hot outside, I stuck to a simple El Diablo burger ($10.99: chorizo and signature blend patty, fried banana peppers, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayo) and small side of fries ($4.99) with several of the dipping sauces. I was surprised to find I could ask for as many sauces as I wanted with my fries, at no charge (though I would not be surprised to find that this changes in coming weeks). I only ended up waiting about ten minutes for my food – considering the steady stream of crowds in the restaurant, this was definitely faster than I expected for a real hamburger.
Overall, I had a tiny bit of a sticker shock moment when I got the final bill – one burger, a small fry, and a soda totaled $20.53 with tax, no discounts; this was already around the same price as the fantastic burgers nearby at BOATHOUSE and at Yacht Club’s Crew’s Cup Lounge, so I expected good things from the first bite. I feared the burger would be a tad too spicy for my taste based on the description, but this fear was definitely unfounded once I started eating. The chorizo and beef patty had a nice caramelized crust on it, and was, as described, perfectly pink on the inside, but lacked the burst of flavor I expected – it was well-prepared but could’ve used a bit more seasoning. The chipotle mayo and fried cherry peppers (perfectly crispy and not at all soggy) didn’t spice me out either; actually, it was almost a little disappointing that the only heat from the burger was slow-lingering, with no real punch. The soft, buttery bun was a perfect vehicle for the burger and toppings, and overall, I definitely found the burger to be well-made, but I could’ve stood for a bit more flavor everywhere. The real stars of the meal, as it turned out, were the dipping sauces for the fries.
I was, to be completely honest, underwhelmed at the portion size for the fries – at $4.99 for a small fry (served in a tiny box), and $7.49 for a large fry (served in the same size box as the burger). They were crispy on the outside, fluffy inside, and well-salted, but frankly, I just wanted more of them to dip in the sweet and savory 3 mustard and honey, tangy curry ketchup, perfectly creamy and herbaceous garlic ranch, and the actually-spicy buffalo blue cheese. I had to resist pouring any one of these on my burger to amp up the flavor (which probably would be a great idea if you order just the classic cheeseburger here). I’ll come back to D-Luxe burger to try other offerings, but I don’t think it knocks others off the top of my list for best Disney burger just yet, especially for the price.
After sampling their fries, I figured it would be a good next step to compare those available at The Daily Poutine, a new quick-service stand in Town Center, located just near World of Disney’s side entrance, across from Amorette’s Patisserie. The Daily Poutine offers four varieties of the cheese-on-sauce-on-fries combination popularized in Canada (so popular that even Le Cellier has gotten in on the action, offering upscale versions of the dish on their menu for the past few years).
Since I’d just had potato-based French fries at D-Luxe, I decided to go off the beaten path a bit and try the Latin poutine ($9.39) – yucca fries topped with black beans, pulled pork, and queso fresco. The portion was relatively heavy for $10 after tax, but I found after a few bites that it would have been tough to eat the whole bowl by yourself as a meal unless you were really invested. The yucca fries were a bit salty on their own – surprising, as yucca is usually very mild and can be sweet, but none of that here; they’re likely salting them just like the potato fries served in the other three poutine varieties. The black beans had a hint of cilantro, garlic, and onion (welcome fresh flavors in a dense dish), but were a bit dry – unlike the Bolognese in the Italian variety, or the gravies on the Classic and French versions, this wasn’t much like a sauce, just stewed black beans on top of the fries. The pulled pork was also a bit dry, but had a savory and herbaceous flavor, mellowed out by the small drizzle of queso fresco atop the dish. Overall, I craved variety in flavors – it was a little one-note, hence why I found it hard to even contemplate finishing the whole bowl myself.
The location is definitely efficient (even with a long line, I had my food in mere minutes), and hits flavors familiar to most palates, so The Daily Poutine makes for a solid heavy snack or lighter meal option to enjoy while wandering Town Center – there are no tables dedicated to this location, and very little shade nearby, so walking and eating seems like your best option. Overall, it’s nice to see a stand that isn’t your standard chicken fingers or burger menu, and I’ll find my way back here to try more varieties eventually, but it’s probably not at the top of my to-dine list.
My final stop of the day was in some much-needed shade, at the newly-reopened Morimoto Asia Street Food window in The Landing, located on the outdoor patio just to the left of the restaurant’s main entrance. Here, I opted for one of the menu’s small bites options, the kalbi bao ($10) – short rib, kimchi, and scallions served in two soft steamed bao buns. This sounded pretty similar to the restaurant’s incredible LA BBQ Kalbi beef dish that I love, but often won’t order on a whim, given the price tag, and I wasn’t wrong on that after sampling the dish – it seems like this would be a great way to taste some of the highlights of that dish at a lower price point.
The kalbi beef is chopped finely here (as opposed to full slices of steak inside), with spicy and funky (in all the best ways) kimchi to give it a punch, and gojuchang sauce that amplifies that spice with a bit of a sweet barbecue-like flavor. Lettuce and a cucumber slice give the dish some much needed texture, as everything else is soft to the tooth. The kalbi beef is definitely better inside, but with two buns for $10 (think Food & Wine Festival portions here), I’d easily stop by for these as a snack or alongside the cold sesame noodle salad or a sushi roll as a meal. I also sampled the popping boba tea ($6) served with black or green tea and your choice of mango or peach boba, which was passable as boba tea but dwarfed by the greatness that was the South Seas Slush ($6) – black tea and lemonade, with guava, mango, pineapple, and ginger. On a hot day, that will be my first stop for a non-alcoholic, refreshing drink to wander the new Town Center area with in hand – not overly sweet, slightly tangy from the lemonade and pineapple, and perfectly frozen – actually worth the value for the price, for once.
Overall, D-Luxe Burger, The Daily Poutine, and Morimoto Asia Street Food help fill in the gap of much-needed quick service dining locations around Disney Springs – previously, you really only had Wolfgang Puck Express or Earl of Sandwich and a few generic stands to satisfy your hunger if you were in a hurry or on a smaller budget. I can’t wait to head back and try even more options at these three locations as they settle in to their spots as Disney Springs staples. I am also eager to try other new locations around the area, like the incredibly popular Sprinkles (cupcakes and ice cream) and YeSake (Asian wraps), both in Town Center, and B.B. Wolf’s stand offering artisanal sausages and the soon-to-open Aristocrepes stand in the Marketplace section. Things are definitely on the rise when it comes to dining at Disney Springs!