Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Café Orléans: Disneyland (California)
This is another review of a Disneyland restaurant.
Café Orléans is in the New Orleans Square section of the park (which also home to the Haunted Mansion and the ultra-exclusive Club 33). I know that Café Orléans has been there since at least 1989, that I remember. However, in my hundred-plus visits to the park until today, I had never actually eaten there. I don't think there was ever a particular reason; I just hadn't.
Since I am a cheese lover who is always looking for any excuse to indulge, I had the three-cheese Monte Cristo sandwich. If you have never had a Monte Cristo, the easiest way to describe one is to tell you that it is basically french toast that's been stuffed with cheese and meat (traditionally, ham and turkey). The menu does have the classic ham/turkey version, but as I said, I opted for the three-cheese instead.
The three cheeses in question are Brie, Swiss and Mozzarella. The proportions of the filling to breading was good. It's well stuffed, but not to the point of oozing. The batter/breading is thick, but not so much that you feel as though there is too much. The batter is slightly sweet, but it's not overwhelming. And fear not -- there is no maple syrup involved.
The cheeses -- which, to be fair, are not the most complex or exotic -- are tasty, and while I am sure they are not the finest quality available, they do manage to not be rubbery. The berry sauce reminded me of that mass-made raspberry coulis that can now be bought in a squeeze bottle, its consistency thickened up with strawberry jam. It's good; but good in the weird way of something that was so bad that it shot beyond the limits of badness, and somehow managed to reappear on the fringes of the good spectrum again. (Sort of a culinary wormhole, if you will.)
For a park that is heavy on burgers and glorified microwaved foods, this was a pleasant surprise. It's not great, but it was good in a county fair food sort of way. And I am sure I will be returning. A word to the wise: it is not cheap. A trend that has taken over Disney menus is that they no longer show prices on the posted menus outside the door...and while I had been expecting this sandwich to come in somewhere around $10.00, the actual price is $15.99! (Though it could easily be shared by two.) And this is one of the few places in the park with complimentary refills on soft drinks, iced tea and coffee. With that in mind, depending on how many are in your group, or on how thirsty you are, that may be enough of a savings to warrant the extra expense.
We also shared an order of the Pommes Frites (aka french fries).
The fries are Sysco's finest, but they generously sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese, along with a pinch of garlic and parsley, which does make them tasty. The "Cajun spice remoulade" sauce that accompanied them was really just an average mayo spiced up very,very,very minimally; but even that was not bad. It just wasn't Cajun. (Or remoulade. Or anything else related to Louisiana, let alone to New Orleans itself.)
All in all, Café Orléans is easily one of the best places to eat in the park. If it were a standalone place in the real world, it wouldn't merit a second look. But in the "phood" world of Disney, it's a winner.
Disneyland (Anaheim, California)