The Re-imagined California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

The California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort closed for renovation earlier this year (and reopened on September 9), but Disney offered a preview of the reimagined restaurant at a media preview last week.

The California Grill Reopened September 9, 2013The California Grill Reopened September 9, 2013

Walt Disney World's original signature dining location received a facelift with new signage, floor-to-ceiling windows offerings diners a panoramic 360-degree view, and an entirely new decor inspired by Disney artist Mary Blair - giving the restaurant a modern but mid-century feel.

The redesign includes a stunning wine showcase that houses 1,600 bottles of wine in a climate-controlled atmosphere. The open "onstage" kitchen has added a wood-burning oven and the sushi counter features updated lighting and showcase displays, giving diners even more to look at.

New Floor to Ceiling Windows and MidCentury Modern DesignNew Floor to Ceiling Windows and MidCentury Modern Design

In the dining room there are two new communal tables, each seating 10. The tables are positioned in the north end of the dining room, giving diners the best seats for fireworks viewing.

California Grill Chef de Cuisine Brain Piasecki spent nearly a year working on the new menu where tastes are meant to complement each other. The updated menu includes some old favorites - including goat cheese ravioli and pork two ways with polenta - but it also features new dishes such as the Surf & Turf from the wood-burning oven. That dish includes clams from New Smyrna, Florida with saffron-infused fennel, chorizo burtter, and bone marrow.

California Grill Chef de Cuisine Brain PiaseckiCalifornia Grill Chef de Cuisine Brain Piasecki

The entree menu also includes new items such as 24-Hour Short Rib "Filet" with caramelized root vegetables, olive oil-potato puree, and red wine butter, and the Roasted Squash Ravioli.

The California Grill has expanded its wine selection with 250 wines on the list. There are 80 wines by the glass and with more than 20 sommeliers on staff, diners will have no problems with wine parings. "We'll have something for every palate, from a first-growth Bordeaux to a boutique wine from Oregon or South Africa, there are some really special, highly allocated bottles," said sommelier Michael Scheifler." Mixologists will be creating signature cocktails including the new sake martini to the classic San Fran Pisco Sour. The California Grill is the only Disney restaurant serving these creations.

Signature Cocktails Not Available Anywhere ElseSignature Cocktails Not Available Anywhere Else

Over at the redesigned sushi bar favorite sushi items are still available, as is the new Pork Belly Nigiri. A new item on the appetizer menu is Duck in All Its Glory which features house-made sausage, rillettes, prosciutto, duck liver pate, and cranberry compote.

In addition to all the new items, the California Grill is also offering a new Omakase Menu. This menu is similar to a Chef's Table experience at other restaurants and there will be one seating per night at 8 p.m.

Diners choosing the Omakase Menu will be seated at the Sushi Bar and will dine on anywhere from 10 to 14 courses that will primarily be sushi, but can include other items at the chef's discretion. The word "omakase" means "to entrust." The courses will start out light and move on to richer, heavier courses as the meal continues. The price for the Omakase Menu experience is $175 per person.

An Exciting New Sushi and Sashimi menuAn Exciting New Sushi and Sashimi menu

And if diners still have room for dessert, Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes has created a new dessert menu. The sundae sample features a Coke float, strawberry sundae, and a caramel corn sundae. Other choices include Meyer Lemon cheesecake and a chocolate pudding.

Our friends at the Disney Food Blog were in attendance at the media preview event, and haave great post up with a lot of incredible photos. Thanks so much to them for letting us exclusively use some of their images, but there are so many more! Make sure you head over there and check it out!

Are you looking forward to dining at the re-imagined California Grill? Let us know in the comments.

Story by Traci C., Source, Source

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 09/11/2013 - 13:17:

Kristen K.'s picture

I'm so excited! California Grill is one of my favorite restaurants and I can't wait to visit on my next trip to try out the delicious new goodies. I love the chandeliers they remind me of fireworks.

JoAnn C wrote on Sat, 09/14/2013 - 15:49:

JoAnn C's picture

I can't wait to try it in November.

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