Mythos - Universal's Finest Cave Diningby Roan Poulter, contributing writer
I love finding unpretentious, hidden, or out-of-the-way restaurants to review for MousePlanet. But, sometimes, a restaurant is so bold, so presumptive that to not review it would be a sin. The sign that has hung above Mythos in Universal's Islands of Adventure for the past several years has thrown down the gauntlet: No. 1 Theme Park Restaurant in the World Six Years in a Row – Theme Park Insider.
A little online research will inform you that the last time Mythos won such an honor was in 2008. Since then, Epcot restaurants have won four times, Tiffins the last two years. So, had the quality of the banquet faded as their much ballyhooed banner proclaiming "Six years of World's Best Theme Park Restaurant"?
We were able to get a walk-in reservation on a sparsely populated Sunday in November. Once inside, we were pleasantly surprised by a cavernous dining hall. Not that it is spacious, just that it is as if placed within a wind blown sandstone cavern. The details that adorn the space are well thought and appropriate. It does not exude top tier dining, no linen table cloths or fleets of servers waiting in the wings.
Our server was pleasant and capable. The food and drinks came out promptly and were freshly prepared. However, I could not shake the feeling that there must be something more. Say that I am a spoiled diner and I will not argue. Do I require champagne and caviar from sparkling crystal? No. I just could not shake the sense that Mythos was a step behind the leading edge of top tier, like using an outdated iPhone or getting a rental car with manual windows.
I was tempted to put it in the top third of restaurants, but no further. Then I had my first bite.
What We Had
Mythos Signature Hamburger (1/2 pound with grilled onion, shredded lettuce and fresh tomato topped with feta-olive aioli served with French fries): Served cooked to order, this is a masterpiece of a burger. The grind of the meat gives a wonderful texture, the feta-olive aioli gives a spike of flavor so unique we were talking about it days later. The fries were top shelf, crispy yet tender inside, properly salted and flavorful.
Fork, Knife and Spoon Grilled Cheese (a unique presentation of a classic three cheese sandwich set in a Tuscan tomato soup with crispy pork belly and house-made chips): This took some convincing on the part of our server, but I was more than pleased. Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup is my sick bed meal. As the name implies this is best eaten with a fork and knife, with the spoon really only serving clean up duty. Oodles of quality cheese in a tangy medley, butter fried and crispy on the outside. Best eaten quickly, though the Tuscan tomato soup is thick enough that it doesn't immediately soak the bread.
Cranberry Blue Cheese Crusted Pork (seared pork loin, russet potato puree, summer cannellini and corn succotash, apple-brandy demi-glace, apple salad): As good as the other two dished were, they were mere child's play in contrast to the pork. So many flavors, savory pork, sour cranberries, fatty delicious and broiled blue cheese. A veritable symphony of flavors only amplified when combined with the earthy potato puree and succotash. This is high on the list of tastiest dishes I have ever eaten.
- Dad (44): 4.7 of 5—If I were rating purely on a single dish, it would be a five. But for an overall experience I have to say that Mythos has let their sign convince them they didn't need to step up their elegance and showmanship.
- Mom (43): 4.6 of 5—The meal was fantastic. It felt a bit dated and our server could have been more attentive.
- Son (18): 4.8 of 5—The pork was phenomenal. I want to go back immediately
- Daughter (20): XX of 5—Not Present