Foodie Friday: Christmas Dinner at Artist Point

I just realized this has been sitting in my “Draft” folder for the past week. I totally thought it posted last week. I was really excited to write about our experience at Artist Point, so I promise this post is well worth the wait!

My family’s favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World is Narcoossee’s. We were first introduced to it back in 2012 and immediately fell in love. My sister and I are big fans of the surf and turf and in my opinion, the almond crusted cheesecake is the best dessert on property. While we are on the meal plan, we don’t pay much attention to the “maximizing dining credits” or worry about the costs of meals. We eat what we like and while we can easily load up a gift card or pay out of pocket, the meal plan simply works for us. Hey – we’re creatures of habit.

But I digress.

As I mentioned, we’re huge fans of Narcoossee’s, but we would have never discovered it had we never tried something different. There was a time that Narcoossee’s, or signature restaurants, were “new” to us. Long before we fell in love with Narcoossee’s or dined at California Grill, we relied on buffets, quick services and decided blindly on restaurants… like Tony’s. But we’ve become wiser and our desire to try all the Disney restaurants led us to today’s Foodie Friday review: Artist Point.

The menu at Artist Point is definitely a bit different than we’re accustomed to. It’s rustic and heavily influenced by the Pacific Northwest. We’re big fans of Italian and New American, so this menu would definitely test our love of Disney restaurants. We were eerie going in. After all, the menu was a bit “healthier” than we’d grown to love at Disney and it had just received a less-than-stellar review on The Disney Food Blog. But, it was too late to change reservations and we went with it. After all, food reviews are heavily subjective and we didn’t read anything so negative that it convinced us to change our plans.

If you have the chance to head to the Wilderness Lodge during Christmastime – do. Whether you have a reservation to eat there or not, I recommend taking the boat or bus over and touring the lobby. It’s truly breathtaking. Similar to Narcoossee’s, Artist Point is dark and dimly lit. Unlike Narcoosee’s, though, it’s much more private. While it has large expansive windows looking out onto the lagoon and courtyard area, much of the restaurant is divided by walls. In fact, we were nestled away in our own private booth, adding to the ambiance and allowing us to eat in peace and quiet. I will say – the lighting messes with you a bit. I grew very tired, but maybe that was the drink!

Shortly after being seated, we were greeted by our server. His name is slipping my mind. I’ll have to look through our old receipts and find it, because he was awesome. He was such a nice change from the previous night at Trattoria Al Forno, where the service really lacked. He was charismatic and really made the meal enjoyable. He talked to us, but never overstayed his welcome.

We placed our order for drinks. My sister and I went with our traditional vodka martini, dirty with bleu cheese olives. My mom went with an alcoholic drink! She rarely drinks, but the holiday called for it. My dad got red wine. The martinis were perfect. I wish they had a third olive, though!

The bread soon came out. It was so fresh and still hot! The butter was topped with a black sea salt, something you’ll often find at the Signature restaurants. We all ordered the Smoked Portobello soup, as it was highly recommended. Shortly after it arrived, we realized why the soup is so popular. It was the star of the night! It’s smoky, creamy and earthy – almost like a bisque. I would return to Artist Point just for the soup!

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Probably the best soup I’ve ever had – The Smoky Portobello Soup.

My sister and I each went with the Buffalo Striploin Steak, my mom ordered the salmon and my dad got the special, which is slipping my mind. I wasn’t sure how crazy I’d be about the sides on the dish. The Buffalo was served atop a barley risotto, which is so easy to mess up and a flavor I wouldn’t typically ask for. They knocked it outta the park. It paired so well with the buffalo and the root vegetables – multicolor carrots and other veggies really created a delicious and beautiful dish. As for the buffalo, I ordered it medium rare. It was cooked a little more rare than that, though. My sister went with medium and it was medium rare. That’s not typically a bad thing. Buffalo is a very lean meat, so it’s best prepared rare, otherwise you’ll get a very tough and dry meat.

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Buffalo Striploin over a Barley Risotto and served alongside caramelized root vegetables.

For dessert, they had a few specials as well as their ordinary offerings. My sister and dad went with the butter cookies and cereal milkshake. I snuck a cookie (they had so many!) and it was awesome. It didn’t beat my dish, though! My mom and I ordered the special, the Buche de Noel. We expected the traditional log cake – a chocolate sponge cake coated with a chocolate ganache. That wasn’t the case. It was more of a mousse formed into a log, topped with pistachio and wafers. It certainly wasn’t bad – just unexpected. It was so rich and chocolatey! It really hit the spot for dessert.

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Rich, velvety chocolate mousse, topped with pistachio dust and wafers.

I’m not sure Artist Point will unseat Narcoossee’s as our favorite restaurant, but I’d be lying if I said we won’t be back next year! We’re definitely going to find a way to juggle our dining credits and fit in both Signatures.

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