REVIEW: Lunch at The Wave… of American Flavors at Contemporary Resort

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We love The Wave… of American Flavors. It’s a table service restaurant on the first floor of the Contemporary Resort that specializes in locally-sourced and seasonal foods. Known simply as ‘The Wave’, we’ve long been fans of their breakfast buffet which features Tillamook Cheddar Cheese grits and their famous sweet potato pancakes. While we often visit The Wave, it’s not quite often we review the restaurant. A group of us stopped by for lunch last week to change this.

 

Seasonal Soup – with Chef’s Accompaniment – $9.50

This was Italian Sausage soup. We made a joke before trying this that it looked like Chef Boyardee… and then we tried it. It’s like a gourmet version of the famous canned food. The Wave makes tasty soups and changes them quite often, so there’s no guarantee this will be there when you visit, but it’s always worth asking your server what the soup is. You won’t be disappointed.

Spice-crusted Ahi Tuna – Edamame Hummus, Mango Salsa, and Chili Oil – $11.00

This and the Steamed Bao Buns are two of the appetizers that are exclusive to the lunch menu. There’s seven pieces of lightly-seared and perfectly crusted tuna with a mango salsa on top. The tuna is perfectly done and an exceptional quality for the restaurant. Sure, it’s not sushi, but you get high-quality fish in a plentiful portion for the money. Recommended.

Steamed Bao Bun – Slow-roasted Pork Belly and spicy Asian Slaw – $10.00

They’re not kidding, this one packs a flavorful yet spicy punch. You get two buns that are packed to the gills with pork and slaw. The pork is slow-roasted and ever so tender and tasty, the slaw adding a nice crunch and finish to each bite. Two of these and the soup and you’ll be set for lunch.

Signature Burger – Signature Blend of Beef, Applewood-smoked Bacon, Cheddar, Red Onion, House-made Pickles, Lettuce, and Tomato on a Brioche Bun – $19.00

Honestly, we’ve had worse burgers and we’ve had better. This one is barely above the ‘quick service burger’ level and that’s unfortunate for a restaurant like The Wave. At least the bacon is thick-cut and well cooked adding a great crunch, but everything else is just a basic burger. There’s more interesting entrees down the line.

Sustainable Fish of the Day (Market Price) – Quinoa Tabbouleh, Lime Vinaigrette, Pomegranate Molasses, Toy Box Tomatoes – $26.00

The fish today was grouper, and it’s a relatively small cut especially for the price associated. Disney has been doing away with the ‘market price’ on menus for the last few years, it’s interesting to see The Wave return to an option like this. We were displeased to learn these toy box tomatoes are, in fact, NOT from Toy Story Land. Missed synergy if you ask me. Anyway the grouper was well cooked, albeit a small portion, but what the dish lacked in fish it made up for in an endless pile of quinoa. Everything was quite good together, it’s just hard swallowing a $26 price tag for a lunch entree.

 

Chicken Sandwich – Herb-marinated Chicken, Avocado, Applewood-smoked Bacon, Lemon Aïoli, Lettuce, and Tomato on a Brioche Bun – $14.00

Another basic sandwich, this time with a nice piece of grilled chicken and avocado on top. We felt everything worked together, including the fresh avocado, but the entire sandwich fell apart after a few bites. This was mainly due to so much stacked between the buns. There’s a lot of fresh ingredients here and it shows, they just need to find a more stable bun.

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Topher Wallace

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2 Comments

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  • I often enjoy popping into The Wave.
    The restaurant itself has an atmosphere that’s kind of bland.
    But the bar has a very, very cool vibe.

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