I'm a big dessert fan. One of my husband's first impressions of me was that I refused to share a dessert when we went out on one of our earliest dates? How could I? What if his fork crossed the imaginary Maginot Line I'd set up and he ate part of my key lime pie? How would this affect our budding relationship? No, it's better to order your own dessert; if you're lucky, your dining partner will give you a bit of their own as well. I've been known to make an elaborate dessert in the middle of the day and "forget" to make dinner, so it shouldn't surprise you that I sometimes choose a restaurant based on dessert alone. This also explains, at least in part, my love of Raglan Road.
Raglan Road is an Irish pub transported (literally) from Ireland to Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. The owners and the chef, who are from Ireland, gave a lot of attention to the authenticity of the pub, with four antique bars, one of which is nearly 150 years old, and furniture, light fixtures and wall coverings all created by craftsmen in Ireland. Adding to the ambiance of the place, most nights an Irish band plays and there is an Irish dancer who dances on the tables. This is much more wholesome than it sounds. Even if the food weren't good, the overall feel of the place is fun and the rooms are gorgeous.
Appetizers are creative. How can you not love deep fried sausages? If you do, order the Dalkey Duo, which comes with an addictive mustard sauce. Or speared scallops on a fork? Yes, please. If you're looking for something a bit healthier, the seared beef salad is probably one of the best items on the appetizer menu, with lots of fresh greens and flavorful meat. The dressing tasted as close to homemade as you'll find in a large restaurant. It might even be homemade.
Entrees varied slightly from what you'd find at a similar restaurant. There are steaks and burgers, of course. My steak was very good, but for the price there are better steaks at Disney. Conventional wisdom regarding this place is that if you order your steak slightly less done than you normally like it, it will come out perfectly. I followed that advice and it appears to be true. Another time I had Kevin's Heavenly Ham. It was incredible; even the cabbage was delicious. I don't know that I would order anything else here. The fish and chips are good, although both times the "fries" could have been cooked a bit longer. The fish was close to perfect, however. Not too fishy tasting and the coating was very crispy.
But enough of this talk about meat. The entrees are, after all, a formality, a mere ruse designed to get me what I really want: Dessert, specifically the much lauded Ger's Bread and Butter Pudding. Since I live in the south, my expectations of bread pudding are pretty high. Considering that I can get good bread pudding at just about any small, locally owned restaurant and more than a few chains, I wasn't going to settle for just so-so bread pudding. I wanted great bread pudding. Ger's Bread Pudding didn't disappoint. The pudding itself was good, just sweet enough, but the addition of a small pitcher full of butterscotch and another full of creme anglaise brought the dessert from good to spectacular. And really, who doesn't like interactive desserts? It's fun to make a little dent in your bread pudding and pour in the syrup. My only quibble is a small one and probably one that most people (who aren't obsessed with baking) might not notice: The creme anglaise tasted like it had been made with vanilla extract rather than vanilla bean, thus the flavor of the sauce was somewhat one-dimensional. But the butterscotch sauce? I went home and played around with the recipe and made it myself. A few times. I might even make some today.
Service at Disney restaurants tends to be really good. In fact, I've had some of the best service at Disney World. Service at Raglan Road unfortunately, tends to be a bit spotty. One night, we had a server who was so bad it was actually comical. Well, after we'd finished our mean. Other times the servers couldn't have been better.
I've enjoyed each visit to Raglan Road, even the one with the disgruntled waiter. The space is beautiful, the food is good and at times excellent, and of course, there's the pudding, which deserves its following. I think what the chef is trying to do here is admirable, which is to stretch his own and our vision of what "pub" food can be. The results is often surprising and innovative, but not so foreign that diners who prefer more familiar fare will not find something to enjoy. Reservations aren't too hard to get, particularly by Disney standards. Use Disney dining (407-WDW-DINE) or make them online at theDisney website.
Corporate Description: Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant, open for lunch, dinner and late-night light meals in the center of Downtown Disney Pleasure Island, serves authentic Irish food created under the direction of Kevin Dundon, one of Ireland's celebrity chefs.Dinners at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant include modern twists on classics, like creamy colcannon soup, beef stew with a hint of Guinness, and fish 'n' chips, as well as traditional English cuisine like bangers and mash.Step inside Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant and you'll feel you've been transported to the Emerald Isles. Custom-made furnishings and fixtures from Ireland, leaded glass and delicately carved woodwork adorn this elaborate establishment where the nightly entertainment includes storytelling and energetic bands.You're encouraged to dance a jig as the band blazes with foot-stomping Irish music. Then grab a frothy beer from one of the 4 bars and lose your hat in a fairy wind. The night has just begun! (Source: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destination...ish-pub-and-restaurant/ )