Fabulous Steak at Yachtsman Steakhouseby Donna Fesel, contributing writer
Down a quiet hallway at Disney's Yacht Club Resort, with an entry under an unassuming wood sign, lies one of the very best restaurants on Walt Disney World property, Yachtsman Steakhouse. Yachtsman was first recommended to me by a friend whose family vacationed at the neighboring Disney's Beach Club Resort annually. Her father sang the praises of the dry-aged, grain-fed beef at Yachtsman.
Once you enter the glass and wood front doors of Yachtsman, the very first thing you will notice is the large glass viewing window showcasing the dry-aging room where Yachtsman cast members hand cut the steaks served there. Next, you'll notice the open kitchen where the steaks meet the oak-fired grill to create an unbelievably mouth-watering aroma.
Next, you'll enter the main dining area with its New England nautical theme—as the restaurant's name implies. Knotty pine beams, nautical touches, beautiful seaside inspired architecture, and white tablecloths abound. The atmosphere is lovely, and while there are plenty of kids and families enjoying Yachtsman's fare, the sound seems more subdued than at other WDW restaurants.
Soon, your castmember approaches proffering an extensive wine list and introduces him or herself. We love a full, dry red wine with steak, so we selected one of our favorites, a Zinfandel from Francis Ford Coppola's Sonoma winery called Director's Cut. While reviewing our food menus, a delicious assortment of house made breads arrived in a basket with sweet butter and roasted garlic. The onion bread in the basket is amazing and a Yachtsman signature. The bread is fresh, warm, and a perfect start to the meal.
For appetizers, my son, a charcuterie maniac, selected the house made charcuterie board. Charcuterie is a French term for an assortment of cured, preserved, and aged meats typically served with accompaniments—think sausage, pâté, mousse, terrine, and salumi with chutneys, fruits, and relishes. The charcuterie at Yachtsman when we visited included beef pastrami and Iberico ham. My son gave the charcuterie rave reviews.
I selected a stuffed squash blossom. Squash blossoms are the very delicate bloom of a squash plant. They are in season very briefly, and are often stuffed with cheese, lightly battered, and then sautéed as the Yachtsman served them. My appetizer tasted like a teeny bit of zucchini, with a melt-in-my-mouth cheese interior and a little crunch. I loved it, can you tell? My husband had the Land salad with greens from the Land Pavilion at Disney's Epcot, blue cheese and nut crunch. He loved the salad, and said the greens were very tasty.
Next up? The main event. We always go for the porterhouse, cooked medium for two (and split among all three of us); it is plenty for a meal, plus leftovers. The porterhouse comes with three sides; we enjoyed the truffle macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach, and sautéed mushrooms. We also always order a side of chimichurri too. If you haven't tried it, chimichurri is a steak sauce made up of oil, garlic, and fresh herbs like parsley, mint, and oregano. The chimichurri at Yachtsman is delicious and goes so well with the grilled flavor of the steak.
Our porterhouse was cooked exactly to our specifications with garlic butter melting on top, and cut into perfect smaller pieces. The taste is amazing; the meat itself is very flavorful. The sides are wonderful as well, with the truffle macaroni and cheese being a big standout. I enjoy a nicely prepared steak, and am only so-so at grilling one myself, so I appreciate the expertly executed porterhouse at Yachtsman every time I go. I am proximate to New York City and have sampled some pretty great steaks there, as well as in other big cities, and I really think the porterhouse at the Yachtsman could give the big city steakhouses a run for their money.
Last up, we enjoyed some fabulous desserts. I had the gelato trio. The raspberry gelato was the standout there; with a rich fruit flavor and creamy texture. My son had the crème brûlée, another favorite dessert choice for him, and found the crème as well as the cooked sugar topping to be on the money. My husband had the chocolate peanut cake, served with caramel gelato and ganache. This was phenomenal, full of chocolate flavor and was the favorite dessert of the night.
Reservations and Getting There
Yachtsman Steakhouse operates only at dinner, and is very popular. I'd recommend making reservations as far in advance as you are able (through the WDW website, or by calling 407-WDW-DINE, 407-939-3463), they accept reservations up to 180 days in advance. Since Yachtsman is a Signature Restaurant, dress is business casual (think slacks, dress shorts, collared shirts); nothing too fancy is required, but bathing suits, ball caps, cut offs, torn clothing, tank tops, and tees with offensive slogans or graphics are not permitted. Yachtsman Steakhouse is two table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan, and Tables in Wonderland (Disney's discount dining program for Disney Vacation Club members, Florida residents, and Annual Passholders) is accepted.
To get to Yachtsman, you can exit out the back of Epcot and cross the bridge to Disney's Yacht Club Resort, take the WDW buses to the Yacht Club from one of the them parks, or drive over (valet is available if you're interested).
After having never visited the Yachtsman before on my previous trips to WDW, I am now a convert. If my family is looking to splurge on a great dinner at WDW, there is no place I'd rather settle into after a long day at the parks.
Have you visited Yachtsman? I'd love to hear what you thought. Do you love other Signature Restaurants? Let me know what those are as well.
Lastly, Happy Holidays to everyone celebrating! Enjoy your families, friends, and neighbors and have a peaceful and safe season.