Cozy is the first word I can think of to describe Le Cellier. Tucked deep inside what is basically a cave or wine cellar you will find top notch meats and hearty fare with a North Country twist. Let’s grab our passports and cross that border!
We finally gave Le Cellier a try on our last trip. Nate had been several times as a kid and I had never been, swearing that The Yachtsman had my heart (and my cholesterol) for steaks at Walt Disney World. I’m glad I put aside my typically stubborn demeanor and went along with a dinner reservation to Le Cellier. We chose an early Sunday dinner on our second day to ensure we wouldn’t be too full from eating all week long so we could really enjoy our meals.
The atmosphere is warm and inviting, themed after a classic cellar tavern. There are tasteful accents from the North Woods, think moose antlers and black and red flannel. The wait staff is personable and include a brief lesson on Canadian provinces and typical fare from that region – this, to me, is what World Showcase is all about. Learning the culture of these countries without having to make a special trip.
For starters, since we were seated in the Prince Edward Island section, we ordered the PEI mussels. They were a rich coral colored with a creamy texture bathing in a flavorful tomato, fennel broth. A worthy PEI mussel batch. There was also an assortment of several fresh baked bread options with a maple sea salt butter that was a nice sweet touch to the standard table filler. I know, you’re probably all thinking, why didn’t they get the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup?! Well, because you can get it at the food booth during the Food and Wine Festival and also at the holiday booth in a much more waistline friendly serving size so we opted for something we couldn’t otherwise get.
We also selected 2 Canadian whiskey based cocktails – the Winter Old Fashioned and The Toronto which were a delightful rendition of the old steakhouse classics. This is a tough wine restaurant for me as the sweeter grapes (and thus wines) tend to do better in the colder temperatures. It’s clear that Canadian whiskey is the star along with several nice beer offerings (Moosehead and Unibroue).
As for the mains, I chose mine based on the sides this time, rather than the cut of steak. Out of character, I went with the NY strip. The meal was completed by a savory brioche bread pudding, escargot cream sauce and grilled asparagus. The steak was perfectly cooked. They do cook theirs on a wood fired grill so expect a bit of char. I wish my steak was trimmed a bit better but overall after a few small pieces of gristle, I was left with well crusted, perfect medium rare beauty. The escargot sauce was earthy and decadent – an upscale mushroom sauce if you will. The bread pudding was dense and absorbed all the juices and snail sauce like a sponge. The asparagus was well cooked but I put that right in the to-go box – those veggies weren’t taking up ANY room in my tummy that day!
Nate had a gorgeous piece of filet mignon. Normally I feel like you don’t get your money’s worth with filet, but let me tell you, that steak was at least 12-14 oz cooked. Again perfect medium rare. His was served with a creamy mushroom risotto and tomato relish. I hate to say it, but he definitely picked the winner. We also (out of sheer gluttony and nothing else) got a side order of the four cheese mac. This was the best mac I’ve ever had, better than Les Chefs de France. There was a goat-cheese forward sauce with just under al dente shells that just clung to and scooped that creamy cheesy goodness right into my mouth. Topped with a texture changing panko crust – I couldn’t put my fork down. Luckily I did because dessert is worth saving room for.
Again out of character (I must’ve been having a mid-30s crisis) I ordered the pecan-brown butter tart rather than a more typical choice, maple creme brulee. This was a white “chocolate” forward dish with a butter cookie base and a hot whiskey caramel sauce that gets poured on the cake. There is a light maple ice cream which is the perfect accompaniment to that sauce.
Nate went with the chocolate mousse which was shaped as a Canadian maple leaf and served with an unusual sesame candy that I think was the best part of both dishes. Sticky and nutty almost like a brittle.
Don’t feel bad about taking the rest to go, the leftovers were even better the next day.
Overall this was a very good choice for excellent quality dining in the middle of a busy theme park. Yachtsman still reigns my steak king, but utmost admiration and respect for the quality of meals being prepared in the scale required of a restaurant with this volume. This is perfect for a special treat during your next Epcot trip, eh?