After our meal and while waiting on dessert, I looked around the restaurant and said, “So what was here before again?” I had never been to Shutters at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort because I had heard that it wasn’t worth the trip if you weren’t staying at that resort. So imagine my surprise when the new restaurant, Sebastian’s Bistro, opens up in that location and I start hearing that it is worth making the trip. And then I hear that in a short time, they’ve updated the menu so that it is even better than before. I’m pleased to report that the food is worth a trip.
The menu at Sebastian’s Bistro is Caribbean-inspired and Floridian-influenced. And if you’re not too familiar with “Floribbean” food, that’s perfectly fine–you’ll find a mix of very familiar flavor profiles along with some unusual dishes for Disney Resort dining.
Typically, I’m a cheapskate when it comes to ordering drinks at restaurants. (You’re charging $4 for a glass of iced tea? No thanks!) But my weakness is well-done mocktails. On the drinks menu, there was one item that jumped out at me, The Mutiny Punch: a blend of raspberry, pineapple, lime, and cinnamon topped with Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
A word of warning if you didn’t grow up with ginger beer — this isn’t the same thing as ginger ale. In fact, think of it as ginger ale’s more spunky cousin. It’s non-alcoholic, but it packs a different kind of punch in that it is downright spicy from an over-the-top amount of ginger. I was never able to drink much of the stuff outright, but in this drink it makes for a marvelous mixer. The sweetness and acid of the pineapple and lime juices cut the bite of the ginger beer just slightly. The drink isn’t overly sweet, and the drink isn’t send you to your grave spicy (the way ginger beer can be). It’s just a perfect accompaniment to the flavors of the meal. (And when it comes to the raspberry, that appears to be there just for color, not really for flavor.)
For the appetizer, our server recommended the Caribbean Pull-Apart Rolls, and those did seem to fly out of the kitchen to almost every table. The rolls come with three spreads–an Onion Jam that is delicious, but your standard onion jam; a Guava Butter; and Jamaican Jerk Oil. The guava butter was the favorite at the table–it isn’t strongly guava flavored, so it is like a lightly fruity honey butter vibe. Our least favorite was the Jamaican Jerk Oil. Nothing wrong with it, and the flavors was good, but it was just oil with some jerk seasoning mixed in that separated quickly. Truth told, if they served these rolls with guava butter alone, I’d still buy them. The appetizer comes with four rolls, and these rolls remind me of those flaky pull-apart tube biscuits that I think I lived on at holiday meals with the family (except the ones here didn’t have that “fresh from the tube” taste).
One note: you’ll want to eat them while they are still warm when they come out, because as they sit, they become harder to pull apart.
My daughter also ordered an appetizer from the kids’ menu. Because my daughter isn’t an adventurous eater all of the time, we’re pretty used to the standard kids’ menu fare at Disney restaurants. I have to give Sebastian’s Bistro credit–the menu does great for catering to the chicken finger and mac ‘n’ cheese crowd, but it also has a variety of options beyond that. Kids create their own meal by choosing an entree, ranging from the aforementioned chicken tenders or innocuous cheeseburger or penne with tomato sauce to shrimp skewers, baked fish sticks, or slow-cooked pork shoulder. But where the menu really excels is that kids can choose two selections as sides. Some of the more unique offerings include spaghetti squash, black beans and rice, sugar snap peas, and frozen grapes.
Because this menu is a bit more adventurous than some kids’ meals, I shouldn’t have been surprised that the kids’ salad appetizer was more than just iceberg or romaine with a token tomato slice. When I say kids’ salad, this probably isn’t what you’re expecting….
Yes, that’s kale and spinach as the kids’ salad. Thankfully, my daughter eats spinach and was willing to try the kale, but it was something that she largely skipped. Nothing wrong with the salad–but if you have a picky eater, make sure to ask what’s in the salad to see if it is what your kid would be likely to eat.
The rest of our meal was exactly as expected and delightful. My husband ordered the Taste of the Caribbean sampler, and for his choices he went with Jerk Chicken, Goat Curry, and Plant-Based Curry.
Usually when you’re talking about sampler platters, the portion sizes are pretty small, and certainly for the curries they were sampler size. On the other hand, the jerk chicken (seen above) was a pretty sizable portion for as sampler. The jerk sauce had a bit of heat, but wasn’t what either of us would consider spicy, and did have a decent (but not unpleasant) amount of sweetness to it from the dark rum glaze.
The two curries were smaller portion sizes, but enough when combined with the chicken to make for a solid meal. The goat curry (above, left) was also fairly mild, and the goat was cooked perfectly. If you offered this to someone unsuspecting, they would probably think it was seasoned pot roast. I’m always curious what a restaurant will provide when descriptors like “plant-based” are used in a menu item. In this case, the description is perfectly literal–you won’t find “plant-based protein” within this curry (no seitan, tofu, or other plant “meat” options). It literally is vegetable curry with sugar snap peas, cauliflower, peppers, onions, and more. The broth had a moderate heat to it — not spicy by any definition, but enough to give it a good flavor for all those veggies. Overall, it is a dish that either of us would order again, and possibly try some of the other options to mix in as well.
For my meal, I went with the grilled skirt steak with chimichurri. The dish comes with fried yuca bits, baby bell peppers, and some lightly dressed greens. As I’m typing this up I’m regretting not ordering a second dish of it to go. If you like chimichurri steak, you’ll love this. The steak was cooked perfectly. The yuca was crispy on the outside and perfectly prepared on the inside (not mealy feeling the way yuca can get when it is not cooked properly). The greens and baby bell peppers provided wonderful contrast to the relatively mild but still garlic-centric chimichurri sauce. I’m not saying that you *have* to lick the plate clean, but you may want to try and save one of those rolls from the appetizers to “assist” with clearing off every bit of the sauce.
And, of course, for the kids’ menu, chicken tenders and mac ‘n’ cheese is the old standby. With two chickens tenders and a crock of mac ‘n’ cheese, the meal does well for a child-size appetite.
On that note, my daughter’s second selection with her entree was dessert — the vanilla gelato with fruit and chocolate sauce. The fruit for this was strawberries and pineapple, and the gelato and fruits were served in an edible Mickey chocolate shape. It’s a cute preparation for an appropriately sized kids’ dessert.
For the adults, my husband had been listening to me all week complain about how Disney ruined Key Lime Pie, so when I saw it on the menu, I figured I’d give Disney the chance to redeem itself. I know I’ll have other Floridians get into a fight with me over this, because it is one of the most divisive issues in Florida–how do you make your Key Lime Pie. I’m team graham cracker crust (not flour pie crust, you heartless monsters), and I’m a firm believer that meringue is how all that is holy intended it. (Take that, fans of Key Lime with whipped cream!) Simply put, this pie was perfection–and check out the amount of meringue on it. We have a winner! The dessert comes with some tropical fruit assortment and a scoop of guanabana (aka soursop) sorbet, but truth told, even splitting that slice of pie between two people was more than enough dessert alone. You’re back on my happy list again, Disney.
Lately, I’ve been disappointed with menu changes at some Disney resort restaurants. (I’m looking at you, Kona Cafe!) I’m pleased to report that this will likely be my new resort meal of choice. Is it worth taking time out of your vacation to go to the resort for dinner? That’s a tough call, as vacation time is precious. But when the Skyliner opens later this fall, I could highly recommend taking a Skyliner trip, which is a ride in itself, to Caribbean Beach for dinner here. In the past, Shutters may have been an unremarkable walk-up option, but with its new menu and soon to be easy access location, I’d recommend reservations for this one–you may likely need it.