Nomad Lounge, along with Tiffins Restaurant, is the place that Disney’s Animal Kingdom needed. It is casual yet sophisticated, incredibly detailed and inviting, and offers a great selection of inventive cocktails. And now, Nomad Lounge is even better with a new menu that is more approachable and provides better value.
I recently visited with my parents, who hadn’t been to Animal Kingdom in a few years. We sat at the bar, soaking in all the details, discussed the past and the future of this, my favorite park. We made a meal out of four of the dishes on Nomad Lounge’s food menu. Here’s a quick review of some of the new menu items.
Wagyu Beef Sliders ($14.00)
Sliders are a popular small plate on many a lounge menu. Easy to share, easy to eat, and typically satisfying, they make a great choice. Two sliders are presented with a handful of small roasted potatoes. The patty is seasoned well and very juicy and tender. A rich tomato jam is spread on the top bun, adding a savory flavor, and an inexpensive way for Disney to add a vegetable element to this slider without the cost of actual fresh veggies. The bun is dense, with a sweet flavor.
These three flavors: the seasoned beef, the tomato jam, and the sweet bun come together to make a nice blend. However, I would prefer the patty to be regular ground beef rather than Wagyu because to me this high quality blend of beef gets lost in slider form, and I’d rather pay $10 – $11 for two sliders as opposed to $14.
Fish Tacos ($8.00)
Here we have another “twofer” as in two tacos are served on the plate. There are no accompaniments, but the quality of the tacos make this an overall good value at $8.00 plus tax. The piece of fish on each taco is a decent serving of protein. The type of fish may change based on what is available, during our visit it was hearty and meaty Grouper.
They could have been a little more generous with the Asian slaw style veggies, and I think if they served this with a wedge of fresh lime, a splash would brighten it up. I do love that they use corn tortillas; I find the taste of them to be more authentic than flour.
Pork Ribs ($9.00)
We were torn between ordering these ribs or the new Butter Chicken Wings ($9.00). The ribs proved to be a slightly more substantial serving. Five large ribs are served on this plate, whereas there are four wings offered with the Butter Chicken Wings. Although pork ribs can sometimes be a little tough, these ribs came off the bone nicely. The meat easily came off the bone with a fork, or in more caveman style, tore right off with my teeth.
The prevailing flavor of honey at first overpowered my palate. But at the advice of our server I squeezed the charred lime that was provided onto the whole plate; this brought out more of the subtle spices and flavors. Of the three new dishes we tried, we all agreed this was the best value.
Artisanal Cheese Board ($12.00)
Admittedly my parents and I are suckers for a good cheese plate. The Nomad Lounge has offered a cheese plate for a few months now, so while we did want to focus on new items, it was difficult to resist this cheese board. Shared between the three of us, the cheese and accompaniments of Marcona almonds satisfied us. However, there were only four slices of crostini provided, which was not enough for us. Thankfully our bartender offered some additional slices without us even having to ask – great service!
Our board consisted of blue cheese, soft goat cheese – similar to brie, and a hard Gouda. Each one was rich and complex. It was difficult to pick a favorite, though the hard Gouda was something we’d never had before. We sipped on some of the fabulous cocktails while enjoying the ribs, sliders, and tacos. However, we wrapped up with the cheese board and ordered a glass of South African red wine which pair perfectly with all three cheeses.
These new menu items put Nomad Lounge as my favorite in-park lounge, for all four Walt Disney World theme parks. It is easily accessed, there’s plenty of seating inside and out, and the menu is better than ever. I’ve enjoyed every cocktail I’ve tried here, in fact it is very difficult for me to pick a favorite just yet. Above all the atmosphere is exotic and inspiring. Nomad Lounge embodies the spirit of Animal Kingdom: a place to appreciate the wonders of the world around us.