11 July 2018

Deliciously Inventive

Let’s say that it is lunchtime and you’re in the mood for a bowl of something hot and fresh from Satu’li Canteen. Sounds like a solid plan, except that you’re in the Magic Kingdom on the other side of the galaxy from Pandora. Luckily for you, there is an option just a monorail stop away at the Contemporary Resort’s Contempo Café that can help with that hankering. The two main entrees available for lunch at Contempo Café are rice bowls, with one featuring grilled salmon and the other anchored by seared chicken.

The Seared Chicken Rice Bowl and Grilled Salmon Rice Bowl both start with a base of the Chef’s specialty rice, which seems to be a home-style type rice that is rich and flavorful, if a little on the soggy side. Mixed in with the rice are market vegetables, while the listing means that these can change, it seems like your standard medley of green beans, corn, peas, and carrots are the standard offering. It should be noted, however, that the vegetables taste fresher than any canned or frozen vegetables I’ve had recently.

This is where the pair of bowls diverge, the Grilled Salmon Rice Bowl comes is topped with grilled salmon and a soy-ginger vinaigrette. The salmon is grilled well, but the portion size we received was small, although I’m willing to concede that may have just been our bowl. The salmon had a nice flavor, but the soy-ginger vinaigrette added nothing to the dish as it was rather bland, which is surprising considering how strong the flavors of soy and ginger can typically be.

On the flip side, the Seared Chicken Rice Bowl comes with, if you haven’t figured it out by now, a seared chicken breast. The sauce in this bowl is a cilantro-lime vinaigrette, which adds to the flavor of the chicken, rice, and vegetables, but doesn’t overpower them. It is a zesty dressing that brightens the vegetables profiles and gives the chicken a kick that plain grilled chicken breasts can often lack. Of the two vinaigrettes, we definitely preferred the cilantro-lime to the soy-ginger, which is unusual considering our love of ginger.

The Contempo Café’s bowls are fair substitutes for the bowls at Satu’li Canteen, but don’t hold a candle to the Satu’li versions. The offerings at Contempo Café are something that could probably be made at home for a weeknight dinner, if you’re good with sauces, but that are hearty and well portioned lunches that are becoming more of a trend at Disney’s theme parks and resorts. If you’re in the Magic Kingdom or taking a tour around on the resort monorail loop and you’re looking for a quick, satisfying lunch, these are definitely an option you should consider.

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