Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios

May is Celiac Awareness month, and my goal is 31 blog posts in the next 31 days.  My first one has been a "draft" for way too long.

A couple of months ago, we decided to go to The Hollywood Brown Derby for lunch. We were spending the morning at Hollywood Studios, and I wanted to try the Cobb Salad.

The chef I spoke to made sure that I was brought GNI gluten free rolls.

I love the salted butter at the Brown Derby.

"Our Famous Cobb Salad" is described as finely chopped greens, turkey breast, bacon, egg, tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, avocado, chives, and cobb dressing.  I asked for the chives to be left off, and substituted feta for the blue cheese.

Here's what my salad looked like once it was all mixed up.  The Cobb Salad is available in an appetizer or entree portion.  I really enjoyed it, and would definitely order it again, especially for lunch.  

My family has been eating at The Hollywood Brown Derby since it first opened.  It has always been one of my parents' favorite restaurants at Disney.  There are plenty of gluten free options, and I always enjoy my food, but the service is extremely slow.  The pork dish in the picture is the Sterling Silver Pork Chop with smoked gouda and heirloom apple slaw, served over potato hash with bacon, Napa cabbage, sweet peppers, and a cider jus.  It was a favorite of mine, but it is no longer on the menu.  For dessert, they have a double vanilla bean creme brulee, and in the past, have offered me a gluten free flourless chocolate cake, which is very good.

November 9, 2014 Update

Last night, my daughters and I dined at The Hollywood Brown Derby with my best friend and her daughters.  We decided to split two entrees, and share a dessert.  This was plenty of food for us, because we all had a decent amount of bread to start our meal.  The Brown Derby is still serving GNI gluten free rolls, which were heated well last night. 

Everyone was excited to try the Scotch maple-glazed Loch Duart Salmon over golden lentils, applewood-smoked bacon and green onions.  We had the fennel and citrus salad served on the side, because I wasn't sure we would like the licorice taste of the fennel.  I was a little shocked when I saw the dish, because it lacked the beautiful presentation you usually see in Signature Dining restaurants, which of course was partly our fault, because we asked for the salad on the side.  The salmon pieces looked small and overcooked, but they were so good, I was a little sad I had to share them.  My girls and I really enjoyed the lentils as well. 

The fennel salad was actually pretty tasty, and only had the slightest hint of a licorice taste.  

For our second entree, we chose the Ashley Farms free-range breast of chicken served over house-made spiced chorizo, yellow plantain hash, and an avocado and heirloom tomato puree.  The hash was the star of the dish for me, so I was thankful my daughters had no interest in eating it.  The flavors on this plate were amazing, but sadly, my chicken was overcooked, which I could tell from just looking at it.  If the chicken hadn't been a little dry, this entree would have been perfect. 

For dessert, we ordered The Hollywood Brown Derby Dessert Trio with the three gluten free mini desserts.  The amaretto flan with Opalys white chocolate whip was the best dessert out of the three, and is worthy of being on my list of best gluten free Disney desserts.  The caramel custard with passion fruit glace was good, but not good enough for me to order again.  I would have enjoyed it more with a different kind of fruit glace, because I have never been a fan of passion fruit.  Oddly enough, my least favorite dessert was the double vanilla bean creme brulee.  It had such an odd taste, kind of coconutty, that I couldn't enjoy it.  Now if you ask my daughters, they would tell you that the creme brulee was their favorite dessert of the night. 

As usual, the service was incredibly slow, which is hard when you are sitting in the middle of a theme park, and dining with children.  We are usually in and out of restaurants in less than an hour, but our dining experience took two hours last night. 

The Brown Derby has an extensive gluten free menu, which can change seasonally.  

The current gluten free menu for The Hollywood Brown Derby lists the following options:

  • Butternut squash bisque with duck confit, sour cherry compote, and a spiced creme fraiche
  • Artisanal cheeses with house-made pickles, spiced pecans, and an apple-mustard marmalade
  • Pan-seared scallop and crispy pork belly over wilted swiss chard and a celery root puree with a raspberry quince gastrique
  • Local greens tossed in a champagne vinaigrette, Heirloom apples, drunken goat cheese, and spiced candied pecans
  • Our Famous Cobb Salad with finely chopped greens, turkey breast, bacon, egg, tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, avocado, chives, and cobb dressing (appetizer and entree portion available)
  • Pan-seared porcini powder-dusted pork tenderloin over shiitake mushroom-drunken goat cheese grits with a Cabernet reduction and a Forelle pear marmalade
  • Scotch maple-glazed Loch Duart salmon over golden lentils, applewood-smoked bacon, and English peas topped with a fennel and citrus salad
  • Venison osso buco with onion jam over roasted seasonal harvest root vegetables and a natural pan sauce
  • Noodle bowl with wok-fried coconut tofu, soy beans, sugar snap peas, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms in a red curry broth 
  • Pan-seared black grouper over a Calabaza andouille hash with a amaretto-sage beurre blanc and cranberry compote
  • Ashley Farms free-range breast of chicken served over house-made spiced chorizo, yellow plantain hash, and an avocado and heirloom tomato puree
  • Charred-glazed filet of beef with a red wine reduction, topped with a Cabernet and roasted shallot butter over white truffle oil-wild forest mushroom mashed potatoes, and sauteed haricot verts

You can view The Hollywood Brown Derby's menu, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at The Hollywood Brown Derby?


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