I will be the first to admit, I was apprehensive about making a reservation for the Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort this go around. It has been a perennial favorite of ours but the last 2 years have seen the menu undergo some changes and with it I had left feeling underwhelmed on more than one occasion.
When we first started dining at Flying Fish over a decade ago, it was in my mind tied for the top Signature Restaurant with Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – this was before the chef from Jiko moved to California Grill over at the Contemporary Resort. Then a new chef (the current chef) took over and we were still impressed at the innovative dishes and well executed service. Then we hit a slump about 2 years ago.
The menu changed to more of a “pick your own adventure” deal where you would pick your fish and one of the preselected side dishes and sauces. The fish was always excellently prepared and the service remained top notch but there was absolutely nothing creative, innovative, or cohesive about the main dish. We put this one on the back burner until our most recent trip when a quick glance at the menu revealed that once again there were actually chef inspired dishes on the menu! Rejoice!
The Back Story
The Flying Dish appeared to be getting back to their roots as more land protein options appear now on the menu. Although the name leads you to believe this is a fish restaurant, it’s more of a higher end New Jersey boardwalk inspired joint reminiscent of the days of yesteryear. Think of an atmosphere where well-to-do families would dine out during their seaside vacations – enter Flying Fish.
Passholder Insights: The restaurant is named after the Jersey Shore coaster, the Flying Fish. If you look above the main entrance you’ll find a piece of the original ride.
We did request the chef’s table this time because I love to watch people cook. For me this was the ultimate foodie geek out. Let’s just say I have confirmed, they are cooking with a live oak fire!
Passholder Insights: When you check in for you reservation you can request the chef’s table at no additional cost. Availability will depend on the night.
To start, we ordered both the Jumbo Shrimp and the Wisconsin Burrata. The burrata was nestled on a refreshing bed of frisee and radicchio with julienne radish, sliced radish, fresh figs, apple and a superbly creative walnut dressing which was on the bottom so you could dip and coat your salad to your liking. The burrata was not too creamy in the middle so there was no overly juicy quality which I think would have ruined this dish.
Onto the shrimp. These were the most perfectly succulent poached shrimp I’ve had in my memory. You don’t realize how much overcooked shrimp you’ve been eating until you’ve eaten these shrimp. Served simply but beautifully with a typical cocktail sauce and aioli. There was a refreshing microgreen and orange segment which I thought paired well with the aioli. The kicker is Serrano ham. These were a knockout. I can’t recall if they’ve been on the menu all along and we never noticed but we’ll be hard pressed not to order them again!
Onto the main dishes. Nate went with the sea bass which was served on the classic preparation of leek fondue and red wine sauce. I realize this sounds weird – red wine and fish, but it’s a classic preparation for a reason, it works. The leek fondue is creamy and soft with a mellow onion flavor. The red wine sauce is sweet and succulent – trust me on this one, it pairs well with the meaty sea bass!
I went for the scallops this time around. De-lic-ious! This preparation was reminiscent of a shrimp and grits but obviously a unique spin on it. There were grits on the bottom which were creamy, but I loved the peppadew pepper emulsion which was bright and tangy, it paired perfectly with the charred sweet corn and the rich scallops. Happy camper over here. Other notable dishes that I would have ordered would have been the Sardinian seafood pasta, and Nate was eyeing the rib-eye for 2. Another day!
Yes, we did get dessert, and yes, we totally went for it with the cocoa breach. Imagine the most decadent fudgy warm chocolate lava cake with hazelnuts. Yep, no regrets there. And no, it was not my birthday, that’s a story for another day (thanks again, Veronica)!
Flying Fish is back in our rotation of go to signature spots. If you’re looking for a joint that has super elevated preparations of familiar favorites, chic decor, top notch service that isn’t stuffy then Flying Fish is for you. We can’t wait to head back again to try some of the other new offerings!