LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With drinks like the Antioxidant Cocktail, entrées such as whole-wheat linguine with clams, rock shrimp and fresh thyme in chunky tomato broth, and crispy almond-raisin "baklava" for dessert, The Wave brings a surge of new dining ideas to Walt Disney World Resort.
Located in Disney's Contemporary Resort, the new restaurant is "bold cooking inspired by fresh markets," said Dieter Hannig, vice president of new concepts for Walt Disney World Food & Beverage. "America is more and more a melting pot, and The Wave features American cooking with world flavors."
Guests enter the stylish new space on the first floor of the hotel through a brushed steel arch "tunnel" into The Wave's lounge, one of the largest at Walt Disney World Resort. The sleek, serene décor is earthy browns and golds, with frosted glass lamps for soft ambient light and a copper-colored metal ceiling. Banquettes and booths line the perimeter of the dining room, and wooden tables are set with white linen napkins. A large central table is draped in sheer fabric in purples and golds.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the 220-seat restaurant takes casual dining into the health-conscious 21st century. The classic American breakfast menu includes plenty of egg creations, but guests also can make their own Wave muesli or sip a Beta Berry Smoothie with raspberry puree and non-fat yogurt blended with Odwalla Berries GoMega (a great source of Omega-3). The Pure Sunshine breakfast cocktail features organic vodka and orange juice topped with Vitamin Energy Drink. Coffee is organic Colombian (fair trade and "Smithsonian-certified bird-friendly") and teas are whole leaf Pyramid bags in flavors from chamomile blossoms to monsoon chai.
At lunch, light eaters might enjoy lettuce wraps with sautéed lamb and bay scallops, or a lump crab cake with crispy papaya slaw. Entrées include oversized salads and a vegetarian sandwich with grilled tofu, roasted veggies and herb goat cheese on multi-grain bread, but guests also can chow down on an Angus chuck burger with cheese and Applewood smoked bacon, or a classic grilled Reuben.
The dinner menu offers a delicious spin on comfort classics such as pan-seared Alaskan black cod with corn and edamame (soybean) stew with cilantro chutney; braised lamb shank with bulgur lentil stew and red wine sauce, and a nouvelle chicken pot pie with thyme pastry. Sides at both lunch and dinner include braised greens and roasted sweet potatoes and carrots.
"Lots of stocks, lots of broths and seasonal ingredients keep the menu well balanced," said Chef Frank Brough. "We are sourcing ingredients locally and regionally to create fresh flavors, and our fresh catch of the day features sustainable seafood."
Desserts continue the theme with a dozen choices for mixing and matching three mini-favorites for one price. From chocolate mousse with chocolate ganache, to yogurt sorbet with blueberry compote and coconut panna cotta with passion fruit, guests can indulge their sweet tooth without a big hit in calories. Or go overboard with a dessert cocktail like the Mudslide martini: Baileys Irish Cream, vanilla vodka, Kahlúa and vanilla ice cream.
Wine 'With a Twist,' Innovative Spirits Menu
The wine program, with only screw cap wines, is cutting-edge and supports sustainable agriculture, says Master Sommelier John Blazon, manager of wine sales and standards for Walt Disney World Resort.
"The surge in the use of the screw cap is nothing short of a revolution in wine packaging," says Blazon. Industry experts say that the screw cap is the most significant technical evolution in the wine industry since the glass bottle was introduced 250 years ago.
And the options for screw cap wine are growing, said Blazon. The Wave serves no California wines (California Grill on the resort's 15th floor has a corner on the California market), but instead focuses on bright-style New World wines from the Southern Hemisphere, including Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Sparkling wines from Tasmania, Rieslings from South Australia, floral New Wave whites from Argentina and Pinot Noirs from New Zealand are among the interesting choices, with 50 available by the glass. A flight of 3-ounce samplings and dessert wines, ports and sherries round out the wine list.
For beer fans, certified organic ales from Orlando Brewing are on the menu. Produced in Orlando, these handcrafted ales use only American-grown certified-organic barley malt. Three Orlando Brewery ales are available on tap, including Blonde Ale, Pale Ale and Blackwater Dry Porter. Also on the menu is gluten-free Redbridge lager.
Trendy cocktails are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start the day with a Pomegranate Splash (vodka, pomegranate liqueur, cranberry juice and soda water) or the Ultimate Bloody Mary (organic vodka, Bloody Mary mix and a dash of red chili sauce).
"Natural and flavorful are the buzzwords for cocktails," said Stuart McGuire, director of beverage sales and standards for Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. The Pure-tini mixes organic vodka with organic mango and passion fruit liqueur. The Antioxidant Cocktail features wild berry vodka, black raspberry liqueur, açai juice with agave, lychee, aloe juice and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The Wave is part of a revitalization at Disney's Contemporary Resort that includes a makeover of the hotel's fourth floor with a new game arcade and new quick-service eatery for salads and sandwiches (replacing Concourse Steakhouse). The popular Chef Mickey's restaurant and the monorail station anchor that family-friendly area.
The new restaurant will be on the Disney Dining Plan and will honor the DVC, Passholder, Disney Dining Experience, and Cast Member discounts as currently accepted at Concourse Steakhouse.