Almost two years ago, I wrote a dining review about Steakhouse 55. Back then I noted how wonderful the décor represented the Golden Age of Hollywood. The warm tones and gigantic pictures of movie legends really brings forth the sense of a classic steakhouse establishment. Nothing has changed since that time, which is a good thing.
In October 2014, Steakhouse 55 received a new chef who went about changing the longtime menu. It was not a radical transfiguration, more of retooling toward modern-style cuisine. Chef Marcel St. Pierre had previously been in charge of Club 33’s kitchen, but was transferred to make way for Andrew Sutton. The new chef worked with sommelier Brian Van Amber to modify the existing classic American steakhouse dishes by infusing a bit of French influence.
The menu is decidedly more daring than before. Here is a small sample of new offerings: Pan-Roasted Pork Belly with truffle mascarpone, green apple, and pickled black kale; Ratatouille “Meatballs” paired with zucchini spaghetti, vegan bolognese and shaved parmesan; as well as Smoked Filet Mignon Tartare that is served alongside a mustard aioli, egg yolk, and shaved rye croutons. Not sure about you, but I was personally awestruck when I heard about the Smoked Filet Mignon Tartare.
Although the choices are not revolutionary per se, the modifications are a welcome change. The menu feels more contemporary and sparks the imagination. Of course, as one would expect, the prices have increased as well.
Food and Taste
My wife was celebrating a birthday, so we went to Steakhouse 55 with her best friend and husband. It was the perfect opportunity to share multiple dishes.
First up was the amuse bouche. It was presented on a unique spoon and consisted of a thin slice of Prosciutto ham with diced mango and a balsamic glaze. The Prosciutto was not high grade, so it lacked the depth of flavor normally associated with this type of meat. Nevertheless, it was “compliments of the chef” and tasted pretty good overall.
They also served a loaf of bread. This is the same bread they had in my previous experience. As you can tell by the photo below, the exterior crust was slightly burnt. Fortunately it didn’t affect the flavor too much. The butter was nothing special, just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill creamy spread.
Next were the appetizers and salad. We ordered the Smoked Filet Mignon Tartare and Ratatouille “Meatballs.” My wife and I also shared the Hearts of Romaine salad. I did order the Broiled Kumamoto Oysters as well, but I waited to have it for my main course.
Our entire party was excited to see the Smoked Filet Mignon Tartare being presented. It was brought to us covered in a glass dome filled with smoke. Once placed on our table, the waiter lifted the top and all the sweet smelling smoke escaped. Very dramatic! The mustard aioli and raw egg yolk atop the meat were mixed together using a pair of spoons. It made for great dinner theater to say the least!
As for the flavor, the combination of ingredients made for a delightful taste sensation. However, we didn’t detect any pronounced smokiness. It’s likely the smoke is more for show. In any case, the other elements were noticeable. The mustard aioli was nice, but didn’t really “plus” the dish the way we hoped. Furthermore, the choice of shaved rye croutons instead of crostini was not the best decision. Overall though, I would order this dish again if only for the entertainment aspect.
We were also excited to try the Ratatouille “Meatballs.” Nobody was a vegetarian in our party, but we like to experiment with different food styles. Anyhow, the balls of ersatz meat were okay but definitely on the earthy side. According to the Disney Parks blog, they are made of chopped mushrooms, lentils, carrots, celery, onions and bread crumbs. If blindfolded, it would be easy to detect that this is not ground meat. The zucchini spaghetti and vegan bolognese sauce were decent, but needed the shaved parmesan to bring it all together.
Our Hearts of Romaine salad was good, but nothing out of the ordinary in terms of flavor. The presentation was outstanding though. It came with Castelvetrano olives, bacon lardons, and a caesar dressing. Also, for the price, it was rather small.
The other couple ordered the Steakhouse 55 Chef’s Tasting. They were served the “Fifty-Five Salad” to begin. Surprisingly, this item was not listed as a choice on the regular menu. We all enjoyed this salad more than the Hearts of Romaine. A mixture of leaf lettuces were topped with chunks of ruby beets, feta cheese, apricot granola, and dressed in a citrus vinaigrette.
Their main course was the Braised Short Rib Bourguignon. If you like heavy food, this is right up your alley. The short rib is served with roasted root vegetables, mushrooms, and crispy onion straws. It tasted good, but the meat was a tad stringy and slightly tough. Overall the flavor was nice and autumn-esque.
My wife’s entrée was the SH55 Dry Rub Bone-in Rib-Eye steak. This is a signature dish is a holdover from before, albeit by a different name. Nothing has changed in terms of the flavor. It is a hearty cut of beef to say the least. The only down side of this particular order was they served it almost raw. Yes, my wife wanted rare. But as you can tell by the photos, I don’t think this quite reached the 125-130 °F temperature range. We sent it back to the kitchen to cook a bit longer. Just keep this in mind when ordering meat at Steakhouse 55.
As noted earlier, I decided on the Broiled Kumamoto Oysters as my main course even though it’s technically listed as an appetizer. This dish was absolutely magnificent! Normally I like my oysters raw, but this is an outstanding exception. The combination of oysters, butter, pancetta bacon, and malt vinegar was fabulous. Everything was balanced perfectly and the meat of the oyster was tender. I highly recommend this dish, even if you’re not a seafood lover.
On the side, we all shared the Duck Fat Fried Pommes Frites, Crispy Spinach, and seasonal risotto (French Onion). The pommes frites (fancy for french fries) were served with blood orange sabayon and aromatic salt. In all honesty, we would have preferred ketchup instead of the sabayon. It was too fruity and bitter, which did not work well with the fries. As for the aromatic salt… uh, huh? Our best guess is the salt had the aroma of french fries.
The Crispy Spinach is something new on the menu. Previously, Steakhouse 55 offered a choice of sautéed or creamy. Now it’s either sautéed or crispy. In order to get the leaves crispy, the spinach is deep fried. This style of preparation caused the dish to be too oily. It’s unknown whether they rushed our order and didn’t let the leaves drain properly, or if this is the way it’s always served. Regardless of the reason, the next day I noticed about 1/3 cup of oil at the bottom of our take home container. Yuck!
Now for the French Onion Risotto. I won’t mince any words here folks, this was the worst dish of the entire night. Sorry to go negative, but the risotto was hard and the flavor was off putting. It tasted like undercooked rice served with a packet of dried french onion soup. Luckily it’s a seasonal flavor, but they really need to work on the proper preparation of risotto.
At the end of our meal, the other couple received their Vanilla Crème Brûlée as part of the Chef’s Tasting menu. It was dressed with pear marmalade, a candied bacon madeleine, and cranberry. The taste was good, but not extraordinary. The bacon madeleine sounded nice, but really did nothing to make you say “Wow!”
My wife also received a Chocolate Mousse cake in celebration of her birthday. This was compliments of the house. It’s basically the same mousse cake you get at other table service restaurants around the resort. It looked very cute and tasted pretty good. Since it was free, we had no complaints.
In my previous review, I noted that Steakhouse 55 had the “best service of any restaurant at the Disneyland Resort.” This time around, I am not as convinced . Along with the new chef, Disney provided training for the staff included guest service and wine pairing. Our server may not have been part of this orientation. Yes, he was knowledgeable about the cuisine. However, he lacked the warmth that is normally associated with Disney cast members. The other staff members were jumping around making sure water glasses were filled and tables cleared. However, they looked stressed and a bit overwhelmed. We perceived our waiter to be a bit demanding to his helpers, which may or may not have been the case. Nevertheless, as a whole the service was above standard and it could have just been a bad day for our waiter.
The new dishes at Steakhouse 55 are definitely worth trying. Whether it will be your first time or you have visited here before, this restaurant is a great place to dine. The ambience is perfect for a romantic evening, friendly get together, or family dinner. Chef St. Pierre has done an admirable job of improving the overall food quality and dining experience. Napa Rose is still king of fine cuisine at Disneyland Resort, but Steakhouse 55 is not far behind.
Have you tried the new menu at Steakhouse 55? We’d love to hear about your experience.