The recently announced revised hotel menus are now available and I sampled two of the new dishes featured at the Grand Californian Hotel’s Storytellers Cafe: the Short Rib Grilled Cheese and the Butterscotch Bread Pudding. Are these dishes worth taking time out of the parks to eat?
According to the menu, the Short Rib Grilled Cheese is served “on sourdough bread, with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and served with choice of french fries, house-made chips, or fruit.” As you can see, I selected french fries and boy, was I glad I did!
The first issue that I noticed immediately was the lack of caramelized onions, an ingredient I particularly like; in its place were red peppers. I don’t mind red peppers, but it gives a sandwich a very different flavor than the onions would.
The second issue was the amount of grease on this sandwich. I know grilled cheese sandwiches are typically grilled in butter, but with the added meat, the grease seemed to have doubled. In fact, grease was the most overpowering flavor in this sandwich.
I ate half of the Short Rib Grilled Cheese for the sake of this review, but if I had my preference, I would have stopped at one or two bites. It was not appealing and certainly not worth the price of $18.
As you may recall, I selected french fries as my side to accompany the Short Rib Grilled Cheese and thank goodness that I did. These things were way more edible and flavorful than the main course. They had a seasoning sprinkled on top that I can only liken to the flavoring found on Doritos Cool Ranch tortilla chips (but in a good way). I ate all of them.
Unfortunately, fries alone do not make a meal. Silver lining: I now had room for dessert! Storytellers Cafe also revamped their dessert menu, so they had previews of the dishes on a table near the check-in desk at the restaurant’s entrance.
There was a seasonal cheesecake. I didn’t have the chance to find out the flavor!
This is the Vanilla Crème Brûlée, served with orange-vanilla biscotti and marinated raspberries.
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet was very tempting. It comes with fudge sauce, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a cherry on top.
Next up was the Chocolate Molten Cake, which is served with almond brittle, Chantilly cream, and coffee sauce.
The final dessert shown was the Butterscotch Bread Pudding, which is accompanied by vanilla crème anglaise, caramel sauce, and a side of vanilla ice cream.
It was a tough decision, but in the end, I selected the Butterscotch Bread Pudding. And it was a winner! As you can see, the preview dish looks less fancy than the one that arrives at your table. Every bite was flavorful and sweet without being overly so. The crumbs that look like crushed peanuts next to the scoop of vanilla ice cream tasted like bits of shortbread. It was a nice contrast when adding it to a bite of the ice cream. I can’t think of a single thing that detracts from the quality of this spectacular dessert. It completely made up for my sandwich being so disappointing. I would order again in a heartbeat. In fact, I probably will.
It was a shame the Short Rib Grilled Cheese was unappetizing, but at least the meal ended on a high note with the Butterscotch Bread Pudding. There are plenty of other new items on both the lunch and dinner menus of Storytellers Cafe. It is a viable dining option if you are looking for a table service meal that is less hectic and might accommodate you even without a reservation (breakfast is another story.)