We were so excited to finally dine at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure (DCA). And what better time than Valentine’s Day?
We are both big fans of Andrew Sutton, the brilliant creator and chef of Napa Rose and Carthay Circle. His food is the best of Disney anywhere (and we’re not the only ones who say this). We met Andrew Sutton in May 2010 during the Disneyland Resort Food & Wine Festival.
Carthay Vodka Martini, Dirty, Rich and Kathy
Classically prepared with Double Cross Vodka, Lillet Blanc Dry Vermouth, and Gourmet Truffle Olives served with an Ice Sphere made from locally sourced purified water.
Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits: Stuffed with White Cheddar, Bacon, and Jalapeño with Apricot Honey Butter.
Salad, Rich and Kathy
Surprise! The kitchen staff brought us the Pear Salad from the Valentine’s Pre Fixe menu that we did not order. We informed our server about it and they said we could keep it. We tasted it but it really wasn’t that special to use and we didn’t want to spoil the rest of the meal.
Entree, Rich and Kathy
Grilled Angus New York (medium): Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Red and Green Chimichurries. You have your choice between a too dark photo from a cell phone or a blurry photo from the new camera. 🙂
Valrhona Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée Tart: Fresh Marinated Raspberries and Chocolate Sauce.
FOOD & DRINK
After the previously mentioned banter with the friendly staff, we ordered our drinks, two Carthay Vodka Martinis, Dirty. Our server asked if we wanted them Filthy, but we were happy with Dirty. It was a fabulous Martini, one of the best. And the ice sphere in the glass to keep the drink cold was brilliant.
We had read so many raves about the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits, we had to try them. And they more than lived up to the hype. These really aren’t biscuits in the traditional sense. Not that anything Andrew Sutton does is traditional. They are actually scrumptious balls of light dough that burst with the amazing flavors of their filling when eaten. They serve seven of them (think Seven Dwarfs) in a basket, and we could have eaten a second basket if we didn’t have more wonderful food to try.
We both ordered the Grilled Angus New York cooked medium. The steaks came out medium-rare. The server asked us if the steaks were cooked to our liking, and we were actually fine with medium-rare. Unfortunately, our server gave us what she claimed was a steak knife, but was not really, so it was difficult to cut through the nice sear on the outside of the steak. At least she noticed the problem and gave us real steak knives before we had to ask.
The steaks were delicious as were the chimichurrie sauces. And while we enjoyed every bite, it was, in the end, a steak, and not really outstanding. Maybe it’s hard to compete with a such an incredible appetizer and dessert.
Speaking of dessert, we didn’t even had to see the dessert menu. I asked if there was an Andrew Sutton crème brûlée on the menu, and when there was, we instantly ordered one to share. We were first introduced to these at Napa Rose. They are hard to explain, but we call it inside-out crème brûlée. The entire outside is crisp with a creamy inside filling. Everyone we’ve had has been fabulous, and this was no exception. It was yummy, but not too rich, dark chocolate with raspberries and chocolate sauce. Heaven!
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
The atmosphere in this restaurant (and the lounge) is absolutely amazing. Compared to Napa Rose, Carthay Circle definitely wins on atmosphere, although Napa Rose wins on food and service.
The thought that went into the design of this whole building is Disney at its best. The murals, architecture, and overall feel transport you to a true fantasy world.
Unfortunately, the service was uneven. Our server promised to tell us about the fish of the day and completely forgot. Then we were served salads we did not order. We were told we could eat them anyway, but they were pretty pedestrian, so we passed. Then she made a point of swapping out our regular knives for steak knives, only to give us inadequate knives for steak. At least she corrected this problem without asking, but only after she saw us struggling to cut our steaks.
The manager made a point of stopping by at the beginning of the meal, which was a nice touch. He told us to let him know if we needed anything. But then he disappeared from the dining room, never to be seen again.
Otherwise, though, service was attentive without being cloying, and we did have a very enjoyable dining experience.
We were so pleased to be able to enjoy a restaurant that we’ve had our eye on since its inception. Andrew Sutton never fails to please. Despite some uneven service, the experience was delightful, and we would definitely like to return. Next time, it would be fun to try several appetizers and some dessert. And, of course, another signature cocktail.
You can check out the full dinner menu here: Carthay Circle Restaurant Dinner Menu. Note that the menu changes often, in typical Andrew Sutton style. And the crème brûlée listed in this menu says milk chocolate, but ours was dark chocolate.
Ultimately, what words can I use to describe this experience? Nothing can top a special fine dining experience in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere on Valentine’s Day with the most wonderful and beautiful woman in the world. Life is good.