REVIEW: A Sampling of the New Menu at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel
Just after it celebrated its 7th Anniversary, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel, debuted some big changes to its menu of entrees and appetizers. Some of the fan favorites still continue on with small changes, but there are a lot of new additions which really make Trader Sam’s a serious contender for your lunch or dinner considerations.
As you can see on the menu, some of your favorites still live on with a new twist. While some new additions like the Island-Style Hot Dog, are a big change from the offerings before. For our sampling, we decided to order the Poke Bowl – $13.00, the Island-Style Hot Dog – $12.00, the Rongo Salad – $11.00, and the Pork Gyoza – $10.00.
Poke Bowl – $13.00
First we started off with the Poke Bowl which is an excellent new addition to the menu, and is going to be a big hit among locals and Annual Passholders. Poke bowls are a big trend in Southern California, and are essentially a deconstructed sushi bowl. The bowl is comprised of avocado, ponzu (citrus-based sauce), cucumber, fresh pineapple, togarashi (Japanese chili spice) aioli, won ton chips, and your choice of sushi-grade ahi tuna or tofu.
The bowl is very flavorful, light and refreshing, and is the perfect pairing to a tropical drink on a hotter day out by the pool at the Disneyland Hotel. All of the ingredients were really fresh, and the aioli mixed with the rice and pineapple really give this dish Hawaiian macaroni salad vibes.
Pork Gyoza – $10.00
Next item was the Pork Gyoza. These were nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to what you expect from Gyoza, but that is definitely not a bad thing. They have good flavor and texture, are dusted with the new chef favorite (togarashi) seasoning found all over the menu, and the accompanying ponzu dipping sauce is a great pair up. They make an excellent appetizer to share, or a great quick bite on their own for someone not as hungry for a full entree.
Rongo Salad – $11.00 (Vegetarian)
The only vegetarian option from our sampling did not disappoint. Rongo Salad was a blend of shredded green papaya, fresh lettuce, marinated tofu, cucumber, gooseberries, rice noodles and carrots, lightly tossed in a sesame-ginger vinaigrette.
As you can see from the picture, this salad is anything but boring. The marinated tofu has a very strong and bold flavor, and again is dusted with the togarashi seasoning. However, the star of the salad are the gooseberries. Not a very common fruit in the United States, gooseberries pack a punch of flavor and actually have excellent health benefits. This salad easily tops the list on the new menu.
Island-Style Hot Dog – $12.00
Lastly, we tried the Island-Style Hot Dog, and the word “hot dog” is used lightly here. The hot dog is actually a ground pork and pineapple sausage in a pretzel bun with whole grain mustard, onion sauce, pickled carrots and daikon, topped with Fresno chiles. The hot dog comes accompanied with your choice of regular french fries, sweet potato fries, or island fruit. This was easily the best item on the menu, and probably one of my favorite new treats in the entire Disneyland Resort. Everything works together on this hot dog and is something completely unique to this location. People love unique food because of the diversity of treats at Disney Parks and Resorts across the world are easily as popular as any attraction in the parks. Oh, and messy is another word that comes to mind when describing this new item, so be prepared for it to get all over the place (clean white shirts beware).
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar started over 7 years ago as an addition to a re-imagined Disneyland Hotel, and has since sparked a huge following, fandom, and spin off (Grog Grotto at Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Resort). The new menu offerings were bold and risky, but well executed in a way that is sure to resonate with new and existing fans.