Dining Review - Confisco Grilleby Roan Poulter, contributing writer
It occurred to me that among the Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Theme Parks, there was only one park that I had not reviewed a restaurant in: Universal's Islands of Adventure. I thought it only fitting that I review at least one location in each park, so here we go.
Confisco Grill is almost camouflaged in the décor of the entrance lane of Universal's Islands of Adventure. It's easier to find if you walk straight through to the T intersection and look back toward the entrance.
There is a bar just off the entrance, but the best they have to offer is farther inside.
We have never had an issue getting a table in short order, but even if you must wait, the area is full of interesting details and free lemon water for the parched members of your party.
Walking back into the main seating area it becomes apparent that you have made a solid choice. Food is being prepared in full view of the dining hall. The smell of grilled meats and fresh ingredients hangs in the air like decadent pleasure, no long-haul food trolleys are employed to deliver these tasty morsels.
Whether it's due to training, or lack of a ride theme drawing droves of guests, the staffing was excellent; on par with Disney's fine dining for a fraction of the cost.
Here's what we had:
An Adventure in Fajitas: A sizzling platter of beef fajitas. Served with tortillas, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. This dish stands or falls on two items: the meat and the tortillas, both of which here are excellent. The cut of meat wasn't overly fatty, yet fork tender and with a proper spice retinue. The tortillas were soft and fresh, the whole dish coming together in a delightful dance of Southwest flavors. What is truly refreshing however is the $15 price tag and the ability to split it with someone and both get full. This is an absolute theme park Top Value and I couldn't possibly recommend it any more.
House Specialty Pad Thai: Thai noodles stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts and peanuts in a mildly spicy sauce. One of many gluten-free dishes, the Pad Thai was a little lacking in terms of complex flavors and traditional spices. The noodles were very good and the seafood was properly cooked. I understand taming down a dish for John Q Public, but there should be a stated option for a more traditional rendering. I recommend getting an additional spicy sauce on the side.
Trader Wings: Sometimes you get a hankering for wings, this is a good spot to satiate that need. Served in one of three varietals, the wings were served in a small cast-iron skillet to keep them warm. The traditional buffalo sauce was spicy and excellent. The blue cheese was acceptable, if nothing to write home about. I would imagine they would best be washed down with one of the beers from the bar side.
Our ratings are as follows:
- Dad (42): 4.6 of 5. On the fajitas alone I would go back in a second. Tremendous value for the money spent.
- Mom (42): 4.4 of 5. Wanted a little spicier or more sauce on the Pad Thai. Good value.
- Daughter (19): 4.7 of 5. Very pleased with the amount of gluten-free options.
- Son (17): 4.0 of 5. The fajitas were good and the portion was big enough to keep my dad and I from having to count slices of meat and dividing equally.