Thursday, April 17, 2014

French Fry Diary 575: Raglan Road

Usually every trip to Walt Disney World for me includes a journey to Downtown Disney and Cookes of Dublin, which until recent years has had the best French fries, pardon me, Irish chips I have ever had. Lately though, they haven't been so great. Whether it's because of changes in the cooking process or just general laziness in prep, I don't know, but they ain't what they used to be.

As a change of pace, this trip, we decided to try the big fancy sit-down restaurant attached to Cookes of Dublin called Raglan Road this time. It's the same folks doing both places, but rather than a walk-up counter service, this was a nice sit-down place. We had planned on having a whole group of folks with us, friends and family, but one by one, people dropped out for various reasons. I was beginning to wonder if I should change my deodorant.

At first, as it was just myself, The Bride and her mom, we were thinking of just going to Cookes of Dublin as Raglan Road was so much more expensive, and Cookes was easier. Thinking of the folks who couldn't make it, we bit the bullet, and went to Raglan Road for a full meal and experience - and it was an experience. Absent friends and family don't know what they missed. No regrets.

The restaurant is pretty big, like most places in WDW, it's like a TARDIS, bigger on the inside than it looks outside - a large dining area and bar area, with one big stage and a center stage as well. We had heard there were shows, and bands, but we did not think, being so early (it was five-ish) we would see them. We were wrong.

I got my usual, a plain burger, as well as an order of the chips and an order of the onion rings which I had been told I should definitely try. The burger was very good, and came on a weird roll that had strips of ham? Or onion? Baked and threaded through it, very very tasty. As far as the food goes, it needs to be said. They may be next to each other, and they may be the same operation, same management etcetera - but Raglan Road is not Cookes of Dublin. Raglan Road is vastly superior.

As we were beginning to enjoy our meal, the entertainment began. It was as if Riverdance erupted around us, on the large stage in front of us, and a small center stage spot behind us. Propelled by the music of Creel, the tap group known as Our Darlin' Dancers put on an amazing show. So terrific, and later kids from audience were brought up on stage, shown moves, and danced along. Everyone had a great time especially the two little kids who were dancing next to our table.

Back to our meal, especially the French fries and the onion rings, the stuff you're here to read about. Both the rings and the fries (I mean chips) came in proper paper cones, although other tables had them dumped on to plates, which was also kinda cool. The onion rings were fine in the cone, but the fries were kinda wedged in there pretty tightly. The cheese was like a glue holding them together. Note the shape of the pile once we dumped them onto a plate ourselves.

My friend Dom was dead on about the onion rings. They had the same wonderful batter as the Cookes of Dublin onion rings, with big thick and juicy onions, and a very crunchy exterior. To die for, these were fantastic. However the fries were a bit different from the fare at Cookes. These natural cuts were bigger than usual shoestrings, with good amounts of cheese, garlic, and something that always needs a careful measure - just the right amount of truffle oil. Near perfect fries. Raglan Road more than makes up for Cookes of Dublin's recent decline.

Since it was The Bride's birthday, we also got as a dessert the bread pudding that one of our absent friends had recommended. We didn't order it, it came on its own - that's just how Disney rolls. This was a luscious dessert, and the vanilla and caramel cream over it was sweet heaven. What a wonderful birthday gift. Thank you!

There was a lot of food, so we ended up taking some of it back to our happily microwave equipped hotel. The onion rings were a bit soggy the second time around, but based on my experience, I think these would have been awesome if baked when reheated, rather than nuked. I might say the same about the fries, but for the record, they were an inedible disaster in the nuke. Definitely bake leftovers.

Raglan Road is awesome, one of my favorite restaurants in WDW, and it gets my highest marks. Very highly recommended, and I would definitely come back. As a matter of fact, I look forward to it. Raglan Road rocks.

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