The Yachtsman Steakhouse - Meat Well Done or Carnivore's Delight

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer
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The aging locker portends great things to come. Photo by Roan Poulter

Sometimes you need a steak, and sometimes you need an exceptional steak; on an even rarer occasion a man might need a 32 ounce Porterhouse, dry aged for 21 days and recommended for two. Should you or yours find yourself in need of the latter while at Disney, do give ample consideration to the Yachtsman Steakhouse located at Disney's Yacht Club. It took us less than twenty minutes to walk from either Hollywood Studios or from Epcot via the Friendship boats. A brisk walk would be even quicker and treats the stroller to a beautifully manicured walkway and bridges through the Epcot resort area.

Our visit was a meal of great significance, birthdays for my 15- and 17-year-old offspring. No counter service would suffice and with my wife out of town, we decided to raid our piggy banks and shoot for a three dollar sign restaurant. My fear on booking was that as Character Dining experiences had taught me, increases in cost do not always directly correlate to increases in quality.

Reservations are easily made within the MyDisney App, Online, or by calling (407) 939-1947, and are highly recommended. There is a dress code for the Yachtsman which states: Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts, and collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Women may wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans, or dress shorts. Not permitted are tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing, and t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics. Our experience was that most guests followed these guidelines, but the table next to us were all in t-shirts, a disappointing concession from an otherwise attentive staff. We recommend dressing to or above the standard, as the level of service is worth the pomp and circumstance.

They do accept Disney Dining as a two credit for Disney Dining and Deluxe; one credit for Premium and Platinum (2016 plans).

We checked in twenty minutes early, as we left Hollywood Studios an hour before our reservation to ensure we were on time. The hostess was able to accommodate us at the earlier time, even with the reservation list booked out.

If you have lingering doubts about whether the Yachtsman is a real steakhouse, the refrigerated aging room is directly on your left as you enter. Beautifully marbled cuts of meat are displayed and give a better appreciation for the care and attention the staff takes to creating a spectacular carnivorous experience for their guests. The décor is elegant New England, but boring and without any Disney tie in that we could notice.

The wait staff, Bill, was superb. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Every suggestion he made seemed spot on and his wine pairings, sampled at his request, lead me to a better choice than I would have made on my own.

These are the dishes we had and my thoughts:

Starters

The Bread is served. Photo by Roan Poulter

The bread was fresh and served with a baked elephant garlic spread. So good we requested a second basket.

An appetizer of tomatoes and cheese. Photo by Roan Poulter

The Chef's Garden Heirloom Tomatoes appetizer included interesting tomato varieties and some delicious cheese, but was not worth the money.

Clams served alongside the pork belly. Photo by Roan Poulter

They cure the pork belly in the Pork Belly and Clams appetizer in-house, and bite for bite this was the best thing we had all night. I requested more bread to finish the sauce after the clams and pork belly were long gone. It was expensive but unique and delicious.

Main Course

This monumental piece of meat is truly a taste to behold. Photo by Roan Poulter

We split the 32-ounce Dry-Aged Porterhouse for two among three of us, and it was an epic piece of meat. No need to order caramelized onions or sautéed mushrooms as they come with the steak. Bill brought this out and I felt like Fred Flintstone when his car is tipped over from the Brontosaurus ribs. We ordered the steak prepared medium, and it was cooked exactly as we wanted. We split it three ways and that was sufficient for us, though we often split meals to make serving sizes appropriate. What is heart wrenching is how much of the steak is lost to the bone, unless you are willing to pick it up and go caveman style on it.

Dessert

Crème Brûlée is served with fresh berries. Photo by Roan Poulter

A special surprise for birthday guests. Photo by Roan Poulter

We ordered crème brûlée with fresh berries for dessert. It was a good version of the classic with very high quality berries. Chocolate cakes were served for each of my children, gratis, as it was their birthdays. And here's where I want to point out something. They could have brought one dessert for both kids; it's happened more times than not. The kids are good about it and have become accustomed to the benefits and drawbacks of birthdays two years and three days apart. However, our waiter wanted to ensure that both of them had magical experiences. It was a touching display of that Disney magic that keeps us coming back time after time and dismissing the enormous shock at the cost.

But that leaves me with this final thought. I don't think we'll go back. It was a delicious meal served by a caring staff, but lacked that Disney Magic. I can go to several restaurants for an equally delicious steak, it is the immersive environment that beckons me to Disney dining. At an average of $75 per person for a full meal with appetizers and trimmings, there are choices with equally great food and immersive theming. So I shall keep an eye on the horizon for the powers that be to realize they have to find some niche for the Yachtsman, some sacred corner of Disney intellectual property to push this steakhouse from great to magical.

Ratings

Dad(40) – 4.0/5

Mom(40) – Not present

Son (15) – 3.8/5

Daughter (17) – 4.2/5

 

Comments

  1. By carolinakid

    Good review!

    We like Yachtsman, but Shula's is our must do every visit steakhouse.

    To be honest, we don't think any of the signatures we've dined at "scream" Disney (Narcoossee's, Artist Point, Flying Fish, Jiko, Le Cellier, Brown Derby) and we like that just fine.

  2. By mkelm44

    I sort of felt like Yachtsman exist for people who can't get into Le Cellier and want steak before going back into Epcot for Illuminations... I agree though that Shula's is probably better, and I'll be interested to try out STK on my next trip over to Downtown Disney. As far as décor goes, I'm originally a New Englander (before I moved here to Orlando) and the décor felt fine... in fact I sort of like dinners at restaurants that don't scream DISNEY while I'm there- it's a little more relaxing from the hustle and bustle of the parks.

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