Review: Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel

The interior of Steakhouse 55 harkens back to the 1940s

The interior of Steakhouse 55 harkens back to the 1940s

Ambiance

One of the better restaurants at Disneyland Resort has often been overlooked by visitors because it is located inside the Disneyland Hotel.  Steakhouse 55 is, in my opinion, one of the top 5 restaurants on property.  Much like Carthay Circle Restaurant, when entering the dining area one is transported to another time period.  Unlike Carthay, which is set in the 1920s, this establishment is more reminiscent of the late 1940s.  The place exudes a classy appeal.  It is warm, inviting, and has an intimate feel.  It is upscale in appearance, but not pretentious.  One can easily imagine sitting in the room with Humphry Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Cary Grant, and other movie stars of the era.

Menu

The menu is traditional meat and potatoes style dining.  It’s not really geared towards the dainty eater or health conscious, although they do offer a smattering of lighter selections.  Mostly you’ll find lots and lots of red meat, stick to your gut potato variations, and a few seafood items as well.  This is the type of menu that reflects classic steakhouses of the past and in the present as well.

Steakhouse 55 Menu

Food

When first being seated at your table, the waiter brings water and a loaf of bread.  The bread was pretty good and had a nice crunchy exterior crust.  Steakhouse 55 offers a Prix-Fixe menu which consisted of a caesar salad, flat iron steak and créme brulée for desert.  In my opinion, it was kind of unimaginative.  As such, my wife and I opted for other selections.

The bread tasted fresh with a wonderful crunchy crust.  It was nicely presented on a cutting board.

The bread tasted fresh with a wonderful crunchy crust. It was nicely presented on a cutting board.

We started off with the Seared Scallops with Citrus Wasabi Soy Glaze and Scallion Cream.  Appearance-wise, this was a beautiful looking dish.  There was a nice caramelization of the meat top and bottom.  It was presented with a drizzling of the two sauces and looked very appealing.  Unfortunately, the meat of the scallops did not match their good looks.  The main problem was the fact that the portions were different thicknesses.  When cooking multiple pieces of any meat, the secret to everything turning out great is that the sizes are almost the same.  Because one scallop was bigger than the other, the consistency was off on both.  Scallops are one of the most difficult meats to cook perfectly.  If it’s undercooked, you get a spongy texture.  When it’s overcooked, it becomes very chewy.  This dish encountered both problems.

Nevertheless, the flavor was spectacular.  As mentioned previously, the sear on the scallops created a nice caramelized crust on the outside.  The Citrus Wasabi Soy Glaze was especially good by bringing in a blend of sweet, salty, and touch of citrus.  Adding to the mix was the Scallion Cream, which provided a bit of herb flavor for contrast.  I should have probably asked the server to replace the dish because of the meat’s texture, but I was really hungry when we arrived and didn’t want to wait for another appetizer.

Note the different sizes of the two scallops.  A definite no-no when cooking at the same time.

Note the different sizes of the two scallops. A definite no-no when cooking at the same time.

Anyhow, I also ordered the Steakhouse Salad.  This comes with bacon, cucumber, tomato, red onion, and Tillamook Cheddar.  There’s no specific dressing assigned to the salad, so I opted for oil and vinegar (I would have preferred a balsamic vinaigrette, but they do not offer it).  The lettuce is predominantly Romaine, with a few other varieties tossed in.  I wanted the cheese on the side because I’m lactose intolerant.  As for the other ingredients, they were okay.  The tomatoes were small, there were just a few shavings of the red onion, and the croutons were likely leftover loaves of bread that had been served the night before.  More bacon would have been good too.  It’s hard to go wrong with too much bacon.  In any event, overall this salad was fairly mundane.

The Steakhouse Salad is served with bacon, cucumber, tomato, red onion, and Tillamook Cheddar cheese.

The Steakhouse Salad is served with bacon, cucumber, tomato, red onion, and Tillamook Cheddar cheese.

For the main courses, my wife chose the Roasted Prime Rib and I went for the sustainable fresh fish.  The fish for that day was Halibut, my favorite.  We also decided on two sides, the Sautéed Spinach and Chef’s Potato Stack Au Gratin.  As usual, we shared each of our selections so I had the opportunity to try everything.

The Roasted Prime Rib was really good.  My wife loves it rare as you can tell by the picture.  The meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful.  Disney does attempt to up sell you on their sauces (Béarnaise, Peppercorn, Bleu Cheese, or “55” Butter).  They cost $4 each and it’s a practice that I personally detest.  The flavor of Prime Rib should stand on its own.  If the meat is bad, then it doesn’t matter how much sauce you put on it.  It’s like putting makeup on a pig.  No matter how much you try to change the appearance, in the end it’s still a pig.  But I digress.  Aside from my consternation about the sauces, the Prime Rib was quite good.  It came with a beef Au Jus sauce and creamy horseradish (free of charge).  I wouldn’t put this in the same category of Lawry’s Prime Rib, but it beats most places I’ve been.

Roasted Prime Rib with Au Jus and Creamy Horseradish.  So rare that it's practically walking off the plate.

Roasted Prime Rib with Au Jus and Creamy Horseradish. So rare that it’s practically walking off the plate.

As for my fish entrée, I will try my best to recollect what I ate.  When the server told us about the sustainable fresh fish, he had me at the word “Halibut.”  I should have let him finish the entire description, but I did not.  Regardless, I did take a picture and remember some things that stood out about this dish.  The halibut was pan fried with a light coating of corn meal.  This provided a nice crunchy crust.  It was cooked just right, so the meat was flaky but not dry.  On top of the filet were some fried onion strings.  Everything sat atop a bed of risotto and cream corn sauce.  I only had one issue with this dish.  Risotto is difficult to perfect and unfortunately this particular order was undercooked.  The texture was very gritty and difficult to eat.  Nevertheless, I did like the fish immensely and would order it again if available.

Pan fried Halibut with Fried Onion Strings atop a bed of risotto and cream sauce.

Pan fried Halibut with Fried Onion Strings atop a bed of risotto and cream sauce.

The Sautéed Spinach was prepared well and tasted good.  It contained the right amount of garlic, with a few cloves thrown in for color and flavor.  Not too oily or mushy.  It was a nice side dish.

Sautéed Spinach with garlic

Sautéed Spinach with garlic

One of my favorite things of the entire meal was the Chef’s Potato Stack Au Gratin.  I like scalloped potatoes in general, but this dish took it to another level.  Each layer of the stack consisted of perfectly cooked potato separated with a creamy cheese sauce.  I’m not sure what type(s) of cheese they use, but it was a great balance.  It was not too sharp, but you could really taste the flavor.  There was a magnificent cheese crust that provided a great textural contrast.  I would highly recommend getting this side dish when you go to this restaurant.

Chef's Potato Stack Au Gratin.  Nice cheesy flavor without being gooey.

Chef’s Potato Stack Au Gratin. Nice cheesy flavor without being gooey.

Service

Hands down, Steakhouse 55 has the best service of any restaurant at the Disneyland Resort.  They are extremely attentive, knowledgable about the food, and seem to be truly happy cast members.  I’ve been to Steakhouse 55 a few times and found that this level of customer service to be consistent.  From a few conversations with some of the cast members, many have been with the restaurant for a very long time.  The staff treats you like a 5-star guest even if you’re wearing shorts and a Mickey Mouse tank top.

 Overall

The ambience and service make this restaurant one of the best around the resort.  It is the perfect place for a romantic evening, quiet family dinner, or an intimate gathering of friends.  If the food would match everything else, this would be the very best in my opinion.  Unfortunately, the menu is bit humdrum and some of the dishes were not prepared with the attention to detail they deserve.  Who knows?  Maybe someday they’ll bring in someone like Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose to oversee the kitchen.  All it would require is a few tweaks to make this THE premier dining destination.

5 Thoughts on “Review: Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel

  1. Jae – Thank you for this new and updated review of Steakhouse 55. The potato stack au gratin looks wonderful as does the prime rib. You are absolutely right about the service. The CM’s are very attentive and will take very good care of you. The last time we were there, I had forgot to give him my AP for our discount. Our server was more than happy to adjust our bill and accommodate us. Very nice! We will be going there this weekend and look forward to trying these dishes and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere there. – Tommy

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