Monday, June 1, 2009

Raglan Road

If you're coming to Walt Disney World anytime soon, and you like to eat, you MUST try Raglan Road.

If you haven't been here for a while, you may be sad (or happy) to know that Pleasure Island, the nightclub hotspot at Downtown Disney, is undergoing changes. The nightclubs have been closed to make way for more restaurants and shopping...presumably because that's what market research shows that guests prefer. But the restaurants that previously existed at PI seem to have survived. Raglan Road, Disney's take on an authentic Irish pub, is one of them.

Now...before you get on your cultural and epicurean high horse, let's remember something: I'm a foodie. I am not sending you to a place that has Lucky Chicken Fingers or Blarney Stone Spinach Dip. So...a little background is in order to make a believer of you.

In addition to having amazing food (which we'll discuss in a moment), Raglan Road is just beautiful. Step into the restaurant, and you're transported from Orlando tourist hubbub to Ireland. One-of-a-kind fixtures are dark wood and leaded glass, and were designed and built in Ireland by Irish craftspeople. The space oozes charm and coziness...mere feet from where we sat during our last visit, there was a table with two comfy wingback chairs, positioned in front of a fireplace. From the front podium to the cupola that crowns the center of the room, to the beautiful bars, you will be amazed at the authenticity of your surroundings.

But the food...ah, the food. Under the direction of celebrity Irish chef Kevin Dundon, you'll enjoy modern twists on classics. There's plenty of cabbage and potato on the menu, but you won't feel a bit deprived for having consumed them. And the sausages. Mmmm....if you're up to it, YOU MUST try the Dalkey sausages with Dalkey mustard sauce. Enough to share with the entire table, these mild little bites are deep fried. Yes, the mind reels.

Other points of interest that you might enjoy: they make a beautifully modern Shepherd's Pie; Fish and Chips are delish, with large, light-as-air fries; Sod...the Stew is a lovely beef stew spiked with, of course, Guiness...and the kids mac and cheese is the BEST MAC AND CHEESE EVER...and I don't say that lightly, because I make some good mac and cheese. The Dublin cheese in the sauce makes all the difference here, though. I've told Jeremiah that we WILL be buying it.

You will be too full for dessert, so I'm not even going to discuss it.

Oh - and entertainment! At regular intervals, a girl will come out and perform Irish dancing on a small, elevated stage, accompanied by live musicians. When she's not dancing, the band is playing traditional Irish music. But don't expect to enjoy the entertainment on Sundays when they take the nite off.

If you can't make it for a meal, sidle up the bar and have a pint. Or if they're booked, there's a handy counter service around the corner.

We have now enjoyed three special occasions at RR, and we've never been disappointed with service or food. So, if you're visiting from out of town and you're looking for an alternative to the endless burgers and turkey legs, give it a try. And if you're local, then consider checking it out for a special occasion...say, next Thursday nite.

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