To celebrate our very first day in Disney World (the countdown is finally over!), Todd and I decided to splurge on dinner at Artist Point, a signature dining experience at the Wilderness Lodge Resort. After taking some time to explore the comfortable nooks and soaring totem poles of the lodge, we entered the restaurant with excitement and empty stomachs.
This mood-setting mural depicting the hotel’s theme of the Pacific Northwest adorned the entrance wall:
The restaurant felt simultaneously cozy and expansive, with floor-to-ceiling windows that let in tons of natural light.
Our server Steven, a helpful and grandfatherly character, walked us through the menu; he made everything sound so delicious that we didn’t know what to get! The appetizers ranged from fresh tomato salads to sliced venison, and the entrees showcased natural flavors and diverse options. While we contemplated our dinner, we enjoyed hot, fresh-from-the-oven sourdough bread, butter topped with black sea salt, and a fennel-infused oil.
For his appetizer, Todd decided to go with the smokey portobello soup, which featured roasted shiitake mushrooms, chive oil, and sourdough croutons. He described its flavor as “super mushroom-flavored, yet so many other flavors also shine, which makes it very deep.” While eating, he noted that he wished the soup bowl could be endless.
I decided to get the heirloom tomato panzanella salad, which offered colorful tomatoes, house-made mozzarella cheese, and a mix of black garlic and pesto glazes. I really enjoyed the juiciness and variety of the tomatoes. The only part of this dish I didn’t care for was the basil bread that accompanied it; it had the texture of a sugar cookie, rather than bread, and didn’t mix well with the homegrown quality of the other foods.
Todd decided on the surf and turf entree, which came with a generous strip of bison and a rather creepy-looking stuffed lobster. These were accompanied by mac and cheese with applewood bacon crumbs, english peas, and spring vegetables. He enjoyed the dish overall. He isn’t the biggest fan of bison, but he liked this one more and more as he ate it. At the same time, he felt that the dish had a spiciness to it that hadn’t been advertised on the menu, and he lamented that the “spring vegetables” were really only two pieces of cauliflower.
I already knew what I wanted since I had peeked at the menu online while planning the trip: the applewood-smoked cornish hen, which came with fava beans, swiss chard, toasted cashews (yum!), wild rice, roasted red pearl onions, and sweet cherry marmalade (double yum!). Although I had a little trouble picking the chicken from the bone, the meat was tender and flavorful, and it paired really well with the wild rice and the cherry compote. I would definitely order this meal again and again.
Even though we felt pretty full by this point (or at least I did!), we decided that we couldn’t pass up dessert. We ordered hot, mild green tea to balance the sweetness of our chosen treats. We quickly decided on the artist point cobbler, a warm pastry filled with gooey blueberries and topped with fresh fruit and house-made black raspberry ice cream.
We also chose the gianduja chocolate ganache cake, which was lighter and less gooey than most flourless chocolate cakes, but still satisfied our urge for a fudge-like texture and a rich finish to our meal. It also came with a chocolate macaron and house-made smoked sea salt caramel ice cream.
All in all, we thought Artist Point ranked among the best restaurants we’ve tried on Disney property, and we would definitely return to try other offerings. I think it’s safe to say that we had a great first of many delicious meals on our vacation!