05 January 2011
Scattered throughout Walt Disney World are wonderful meals waiting to happen. They may not always find them where you expect them, and where you expect them you may not always find them, but they out there waiting to be devoured! When I sat down at The Wave, inside the Contemporary Resort, a couple of months ago my expectations were high and my mouth was watering.Just entering The Wave is an experience. Granted, this establishment doesn’t occupy a space on the fabled Grand Canyon Concourse, but, once you begin walking down the long ramp, segmented by partial metal couplings, the entire experience changes. The bar area has several lounges awash in blue light in filled with plenty of soft places to sit. Once inside the restaurant, the tables rest underneath a sea of rolling, perforated sheet metal with an amber light filling the dining room. While all of this could make a guest claustrophobic, especially with no windows, it actually creates a sense of warmth, perfect for dining with friends, family or a romantic rendezvous. That said, giving the décor more than a passing glance could give someone the feeling that they are dining in the queue of Soarin’.The night I dined at The Wave, I had the immeasurable pleasure of dining with five lovely ladies who graciously tolerated my photographing, pestering of the staff and questioning of their meals. That is also to say, with such a large group, I was able to gather a better grip on The Wave’s entire menu. I appreciate the ladies taking such wonderful care to sample as broad a range of dishes and deserts as they did, even going so far as to ask me what I needed for a review. Thank you, one and all!At this juncture I should also mention the staff. Each person I came into contact with, from Heather, the manager who supplied me with a lifesaving copy of the menu (rather than have to work with my rubbish photographs), down to our waitress for the evening, Angela. Angela was prone to vanishing acts, but was completely competent when offering suggestions about food, which were some of the more economical menu items, and answer any and all questions the table had.The wine cellar at The Wave was, in a word, extensive. What was nice to see on the New World Wine listing was a wide selection of known wine varietals with a substantial mix of varietals new to most American palates. While this allows the adventurous to partake in something new, such as my Penfolds GSM Bin 138 from Australia which blended Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre, or to partake in a favorite form, including the Spy Valley Pinot Noir one of my companions sampled.Now, to get to the main course of this review, the food. For starters, the complimentary bread with butter covered in Hawaiian red salt was absolutely some of the best bread, save for Kouzzina, I’ve had on Disney property. The warm, fresh loaves had a complex texture and the velvety sensation the salt added to the butter made this a dish I could have easily filled up on.As for our entrees, The Wave’s menu covered everything from seafood and pasta to a wide selection of meats prepared in an abundance of manners. Aside from some appetizers and one entrée, however, there was not a variety of vegetarian options. Here are the selections from my group: Roasted Tomato Bisque with Mini-Grilled Cheese Sandwiches; the Sustainable Fish of the Day (Salmon) with Edamame Stew and Cilantro Chutney; Grilled Beef Tenderloin with a Port Wine Porcini Sauce, Potato and Onion Gratin, and Braised Swiss Chard; Chili-marinated Flat Iron Steak with Grilled Vidalia Onions, Boniato Mash, Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, and Marinated Beet Salad; Apple Brined Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Sweet Mashed Potatoes, Warm Spinach-Bacon Salad, and Sassafras Jus; and Linguini with Florida Littleneck Clams, Rock Shrimp, and chunky Tomato Broth.With such a wide selection of dishes, the kitchen did an excellent job of preparing each item at the right time so that the entire meal arrived at the table hot. The meats were juicy and cooked just the way they had been ordered. As for the seafood, it was abundantly clear that these were fresh from the market. Where the main components of each entrée were new takes on classic dishes, the sides were not your typical accompaniments, but the courageous sides paired nicely with their respective dishes. No one was underwhelmed by their main course, and the feelings of the table ranged from happy to bowled-over impressed.Moving on to the important stuff, dessert! The Sweet Temptations are four selections of three mini-desserts and, obviously, my stalwart group took one for the team and tried them all. Creamy Indulgence came with New York Cheesecake with House-made Seasonal Fruit Compote, Coffee Crème Brulee with Chocolate Biscotti, and Olive Oil-infused Chocolate Truffle Mousse. American Flavors included Mississippi Mud Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Key Lime Cube with fresh Citrus Whipped Cream, and Boston Cream Pie. Freshly Made Gelato consisted of Popcorn, Rocky Road Chocolate, and Peanut Butter and Jelly Gelatos. The No Sugar Added Desserts contained Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee, Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis, and Sautéed Seasonal Fruit with Vanilla Panna Cotta. Everyone had a singular favorite dessert item, but the Olive Oil-infused Chocolate Truffle Mousse, Peanut Butter and Jelly Gelato, Key Lime Cube, and Coffee Crème Brulee were the belles of the sweet treats ball.I would highly recommend The Wave to couples and groups of adults. While there is a children’s menu, the atmosphere and laid back nature and timeframe of a meal at The Wave lends itself to a more patient and mature audience. As for the menu itself, if a dish sounds delicious to you, odds are you are going to enjoy it, immensely. If you are looking for a fresh take on food, a slow paced date, or just time to relax and reflect on a wonderful vacation, The Wave should be a top choice.