This past week we were invited to celebrity Chef Rick Bayless’ restaurant, Frontera Cocina, at Disney Springs to check out brand new menu items. This included a full look at the new Taste of Yucatán menu as well as brand new items added to the regular menu. We love Frontera Cocina and have returned numerous times since their 2016 opening for dinner and drinks. Please note that while we were guests of Frontera Cocina for this menu tasting we also won’t steer you incorrectly with these new menu items. Fortunately, there’s a LOT to love! Let’s start with the new regular menu items and then we’ll move to the Taste of Yucatán special menu.
Toto Elotes – Just made chips topped with roasted corn, lime crema & red chile Cotija cheese (contains dairy) – $13.00
There were life changing. Chef described them as loaded fries, but with chips and better ingredients. He’s absolutely accurate. There’s cheese smothered into the chips in every direction. It’s topped with some nice roasted corn, lime crema and a red chili cheese. Everything works together making an amazing shareable appetizer that we recommend 100%.
Beet-Mango Salad – Roasted beets, Mexican mangos, little gem lettuces, goat cheese, crunchy pumpkin seeds, red onion, chipotle agave dressing (contains dairy, seeds) – $11.00
Salads are typically seasonal, and this one has kind of a fall-flare to it. That’s good because we’re heading towards the end of summer here. There’s good notes of the pumpkin seeds and the mango on top. The dressing is applied in just the right amount to not make the lettuce soggy but to give the perfect amount of flavor to each bite.
Grilled Hatch Green Chile Chicken for making Soft Tacos – Grilled chicken with Hatch green chile crema, caramelized onions, black beans refritos with queso fresco, guacamole, tomatillo salsa, served with warm corn tortillas (contains dairy, pork) – $19.00
Holy smokes. This chicken is AMAZING. I don’t want to say that lightly because there’s a lot of amazing entrees at Frontera Cocina, but this one seriously brings the game up a notch. It’s served with a bunch of soft tortillas so you can build your own tacos, but the creamy chicken is more than amazing by itself. There’s a subtle spice to the entire dish that’s not overpowering and more flavorful than anything. Also, for the price of $19.00, it’s a heck of a lot of food. Easily one of the best priced and tasting entrees we’ve had at Disney Springs EVER.
Chipotle Shrimp – Pan-roasted Florida Pink Shrimp, spicy chipotle salsa, roasted calabacitas, avocado, cotija, cilantro and onions, plantain rice, warm corn tortillas (contains shellfish) – $29.00
Speaking of amazing entrees, these shrimp were also stellar. Not as spicy as the chicken, but there’s enough welcomed spice there to create a good kick. Personally, $29 for an entree is a little steep comparing the price to the other entrees on the menu, but the portion dictates the price here. There’s a mountain of plump, juicy shrimp on the bed of rice. It’s not only well worth your money but it tastes great too.
Taste of Yucatán
This special menu is only available for a limited time, so hurry in and check it out.
Agua de Chaya-Piña – (no refills) $6.00
No refills on this one, that’s specified because it’s a non-alcoholic specialty drink. Anyway, it taste like a smoothie of sorts. Our server said there’s lot of health benefits to it, like lower cholesterol and not wanting to order a second. A few sips of the pulpy beverage and we were good.
Spicy Yucatán Margarita – Milagro blanco tequila, achiote cordial, Ancho Reyes liqueur, fresh lime-orange juice, habanero bitters – $13.00
There’s not a crazy amount of spice going on with this one, but it lingers on the back tongue. Expect a rather fragrant margarita with well-mixed ingredients. There’s not a lot to say here except that it’s a really solid option, a rare commodity among the ever-growing lineup of restaurants at Disney Springs.
La Peninsula – Montelobos joven mezcal, dragon fruit, Huana Mayan guanabana rum liqueur, agave nectar, ginger reduction – $15.00
It looks like Instagram-fodder and it’s exactly that because there’s literally no flavor present here. I mean, there’s some floral notes to the drink but it feels watered-down which is weird especially when the drink is such a bright color. The other options are far supreme.
Xtabentún – Honey-anise liqueur served on the rocks – $11.00
Okay, we weren’t sure what to expect here, but it’s a shot of the liquor over an ice ball. The liquor has a distinct honey smell and flavor to it, being rather thick due to the consistency of the alcohol. Xtabentún is a rather rare liquor that’s made with anise seed in the Yucatán region of Mexico. It’s a very unique, flavorful, and interesting alcohol that’s worth your time to indulge.
Mango Guacamole – paired with smoky chipotle, and herby salsa roasted tomatillo, fresh mango, tangy-spicy Tajin, cilantro, onion – $11.00
Best news of the night came with the lead chef telling us that ALL guacamole orders come with red and green salsa now! That’s huge and something we’ve wanted since day one of the restaurant. Anyway, the mango is just added on top of the guacamole, similar to how the other flavored guacamole are here at Frontera Cocina. You need to mix the mango into the guacamole to get things rolling, or just take a piece with every chip. Either way it adds a fruity flavor to the fresh guacamole that’s excellent.
Cochinita Pibil – Achiote marinated slow roasted tender pork, black beans, poblano rajas, pickled red onions, habanero salsa (contains pork and gluten) – $24.00
Don’t let the pictures fool you, there’s a gigantic bed of pork below the pickled onion. This pork was tender and ever so delicate, easily being torn apart by a fork. Chef informed us that the soupy consistency at the bottom of the dish was intentional for the beans to soak-up as much flavor as possible. Everything in the dish is well though-out and works well together, but the pork stands out as one of the most tender entrees we’ve had in a long time.
Spicy Grilled Yucatan Swordfish – Mango-orange salsa, achiote-citrus butter, plantain rice, black bean refritos (contains pork) – $28.00
We wanted to like the swordfish more, unfortunately it wasn’t as flaky as we anticipated. Still, the outer sauce was great and the mango added a wonderful fresh flavor, but the overall piece of fish could have been better. Hey, it’s swordfish, and that’s rather difficult to get to a flaky consistency without demolishing the fish, so Frontera Cocina did a great job presenting this in its state. I’m still unsure if this is constructive or just mindless ramblings, we did finish the fish so it was pretty good.
Mango Sorbet – with Spicy-Tangy Chamoy drizzle – $9.00
The mango soft serve was EXCELLENT. The chamoy drizzle is certainly going to be an acquired taste. We didn’t really enjoy it, there was a lot of the sauce compared to the soft serve and when not mixed evenly the sauce overpowered everything else. There’s also a sprinkling of tajim seasoning on top, giving a small kick to the soft serve. It’s a little away from our flavor spectrum but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give this unique option a try.
As usual, Frontera Cocina impresses. These new dishes, and the specialty limited time menu, should open more doors for the casual diner at this great restaurant. There’s a lot to love and we’ll certainly be back to have more of that amazing chicken. Please note that Frontera Cocina invited us for this evening and provided food and drink for us to try. This is no way impacts our review, the restaurant just continuously is wonderful.