Coral Reef is a table service restaurant at Epcot. It’s located in Future World in The Sea With Nemo and Friends pavilion, off to the back right side. The restaurant is situated on a stadium-style seating arrangement facing gigantic glass windows into the main aquarium of The Seas. It’s really a gorgeous view, regardless if the decor of the restaurant is stuck in the late 90s. We swam on over to check out how the restaurant has been doing and grab a bite to eat.
A nicely themed pager. We approve.
First up is the expansive drink menu. There’s only two cocktails specific to this location, but there’s a bunch of “themed” beers. Well, names that fit into the sea theme.
Coral ‘Rita – A Margarita with Patrón Añejo Tequila and Cointreau – $13.00
The Abyss – Skyy Vodka, Bacardi Superior Rum, Blue Curaçao, and Pineapple Juice – $10.50
Fruity, well balanced, and a great name for the ocean-looking cocktail. Much better priced than the margarita.
Mad Manatee IPA
“India Pale Ale with a wonderful balance of hops and malt, you can expect a slight sweetness with toasted notes, a floral aroma, and crisp citrus finish”
Dogfish Head Namaste
“A witbier bursting with good karma! Made with dried organic orange slices, fresh cut lemongrass, and a bit of coriander.”
“Full-bodied Imperial Red Ale with caramel malt and increased hops for balance. The result is a big, rich, malty beer with a hoppy finish”
Dinner starts with warm, fresh rolls and butter.
Crispy Rhode Island Calamari – Roasted Corn Relish, Tomatillo Sauce – $13.00
We were recommended to try the calamari, especially if we planned on splitting an appetizer. There’s two soups, three salads, and three appetizers on the appetizer menu, so naturally this is shareable. It’s not really a finger food with the tomatillo sauce included, but they’re pretty okay. They don’t hold a candle to the calamari available at Via Napoli, but they’re fine.
Port-wine Braised 10-oz Beef Short Rib – Slow-cooked for eight hours until fork tender and served with creamy Smoked Gouda-Polenta, Roasted Pearl Onions, Baby Carrots, Cabernet Demi-glace – $35.00
This is a pretty good pot roast. Unfortunately it’s on the menu as short rib, not the affirmentioned comfort food. The meat was tender to the point where you only needed a fork, however, which was a pleasant surprise. There’s a bed of Gouda polenta below that doesn’t really add to the dish. It kind of just sits there and doesn’t soak up any of the red wine sauce. There’s improvements to be made here, especially for the highest price entree on the main menu.
Oven-roasted Herb Chicken Breast -Seasonal Risotto, Thyme Jus – $27.00
Seared Sustainable Salmon Filet – Orzo Pasta with Sweet Leek Fondue, Cassis-braised Red Cabbage, Citrus-Beurre Blanc – $32.00
Seared Mahi Mahi – Jasmine Rice, Coconut and Cilantro-Lime Sauce, Avocado-Mango Salsa – $29.00
Shrimp and Grits – Sautéed Shrimp, Cheddar Cheese Grits, Local Corn Succotash, Andouille Sausage, Creole Spice Emulsion – $30.00
Spicy, hearty, and just perfect. This shrimp and grits arrives with a generous helping of crisp shrimp on top. There’s also a fantastic succotash that mixes extraordinarily well with everything else. For the price, we weren’t expecting a gigantic portion but were pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Recommended, especially if you enjoy a bit of spice.
Overall we learned quickly that Coral Reef should stick to their mainstay of seafood and not try to reinvent the chicken. Desserts next!
The Chocolate Wave – Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Curls, Raspberry Gelato – $9.50
Baileys and Jack Daniel’s Mousse – Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Crisp Pearls – $9.00
Yup, there’s booze in this one. We weren’t able to really get a good taste of the Jack Daniels, but the Baileys definitely stood out. It’s a unique dessert and a great way to end your meal.
Warm Vanilla Custard Filled Strudel – Crisp Phyllo Dough, Seasonal Fruit Compote, Prosecco Ice Cream, Praline, Butterscotch Sauce- $9.50
There’s booze in this one too. The prosecco ice cream on top adds a great boost to this lackluster dessert. Intended to be a twist on a Greek or German or whatever dessert, it just doesn’t work. Spend your time on the mousse or The Chocolate Wave instead.