Stop me if you have heard this one: A vegetarian walks into a steakhouse and thinks, “What have I done?!?”
Except that wasn’t the setup to a joke, that was me Wednesday as I walked into Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion.
Since purchasing my Disney pass, I’ve started to follow Disney food blogs and pay attention to what people are saying. Already a fan of Epcot and after a great dining experience at Teppan Edo in Epcot’s Japan, I got braver and suggested to Bill we try Le Cellier. It seems to be one of the highest-rated and hardest-to-get-into restaurants in all Walt Disney World. I had the confidence that even a steakhouse could accommodate a vegetarian, so I looked at the menu, was pleased and booked a reservation. For the day we wanted (two months out) there was one seating time for dinner.Yeowza!
Ten days before our reservation I called the Disney dining hotline to confirm there would be something for me, and was assured there would be, but they noted it on my reservation. When I walked up to the host stand, the woman confirmed that one person in our party is vegetarian, telling me they have great vegetarian food. I was excited.
Then I walked inside and it hit me, “I’m a vegetarian and am about to sit in a steakhouse for an hour or so.” (Although I am a vegetarian, my husband and family are not, so I’ve been around meat-eaters my entire life. Although I am a vegetarian for ethical reasons and would love to help anyone become a vegetarian, I understand it is a very personal choice and I’m not going to judge those who eat meat.)
As we walked in, the host took us by the dessert table. The selections looked great, but we aren’t dessert people. We walked into the small dining room (which explains why it’s hard to get reservations) and sat at our table. Le Cellier is French for the cellar, and the dining room does look like a wine cellar.
Our server arrived and went over the entire menu with me and said if I wanted to, she could bring out the chef to talk about off-the-menu options. I said no thank you, the main dish option sounds delicious, and I went with it. A vegan dish, I had a quinoa and potato cake with royal trumpet mushrooms, baby beets and wilted ramps. I’m not sure if it was all in olive oil or what spices were in it, but it was so flavorful and cooked perfectly. And I think the vegetarian option changes with the seasons, which is always a good sign meaning the chef is picking the freshest ingredients and wants to try new things.
Before the meal, we ordered a whisky flight and a beer flight. The whisky flight included Crown Royal (harsh), Pendleton (smooth) and Forty Creek (bold). The beer flight was a selection of three Unibroue beers: Éphémère Apple (nice, light apple flavor), Blanche de Chambly (wheat) and Trois Pistoles (light tasting for a dark beer with a nice carbonation to follow). Each beer sample was 4 ounces, I would guess, a good amount for both of us to get a sample and see what we think.
Along with our drinks, our server brought us a selection of rolls: pretzel(!), sourdough and multigrain. And when we were getting low on bread, Linda (the manager, I believe) asked if we wanted more (yes!) and how we liked out drinks. She mentioned they just added the beer flight around Christmas and it was so popular they kept it. They also have samples of ice wine (a dessert wine) and martinis. We wanted a full drink each after, but between dinner and eating and drinking elsewhere around Disney that day, it was just too much awesomeness and we were full!
All in all, as a vegetarian I felt very comfortable and the staff was helpful and knowledgeable. This really was a great experience and we had a great time eating here. I would believe the hype that it is worth the wait to get in and eat here. And being vegetarian didn’t make me feel as if I was missing out on any of the experience or getting short-changed at a steakhouse.
Have you been to Le Cellier or another table service restaurant at Disney? What did you think?