We’re back with another addition to our dining reviews blog and this one was a heavy hitter. Formerly known as The Wave inside of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Steakhouse 71 was a new addition for the 50th Anniversary Celebration opening its doors on October 1, 2021. There was a lot of anticipation surrounding the grand “re-opening” of this restaurant space with a lot of complaints and improvement suggestions that plagued The Wave. It was time for the Walt Disney Company to flex its muscles and dig deep to answer back to the masses.
This was not only my first-time visiting Steakhouse 71, but it was also my very first-time stepping foot inside The Contemporary. Upon entry, I was enthralled by how modern and sleek the furnishing and decor of the lobby felt. The resort itself underwent a facelift as a whole in preparation for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Whoever spear-headed the remodel deserves a pat on the back for sure! They somehow were able to combine homage of the past, an early 70’s relic with a modern “contemporary” if you will (see what I did there?) type of vibe. We arrived early so we had time to visit some shops and take a long glance at the magnificent Mary Blaire mural that fills the atrium of the resort. It is truly an incredible spectacle, if you haven’t seen it, I urge you to do so. There was also time to go down by Bay Lake and take some family photos and just make a moment to look out across the lake and take in the twilight hour with lights of Bay Lake Tower glistening across the water.
Once our table was ready, we make our way to the entrance of Steakhouse 71. Being on the ground floor level of the resort, there wasn’t much effort needed in getting there. The entry way is a tunnel framed with stained wood and beautiful signage, along with a hallway littered with photos from the early days of Walt Disney World construction starring brothers Walt and Roy Disney. It gave me chills just looking at these iconic photos because they capture the progress of Walt’s visions coming to life by building this legacy that still stands today.
The restaurant had very low profile, open concept feels. With the Steakhouse 71 Lounge attached to it and in a clear view, it just had a good flow that gave you a feeling of having room to breathe. Lighting was slightly dimmed, not to the extent of Le Cellier, but it still had a elegant luxury restaurant type of glow. Very easy on the eyes. I was impressed by the amount of detail the decor had been given. Classic photos paired with elegant modern artwork gave a tip of the hat to the respects of the past, while also considering moving forward into the future.
Starting with our food experience, our waiter sat us and took our drink orders. I opted for just ice water being that I sweated so much earlier that day at Epcot and drank enough festival beers to float an aircraft carrier. We requested bread service which consisted of sea salt crusted potato brioche pull apart rolls that came with butter and a roasted tomato and garlic jam. Both spreads were incredible, but the tomato garlic jam stole my heart since I’m a sucker for roasted garlic. The cloves were roasted so delicately and placed in a ramakin underneath the tomato jam and were so soft you could literally spread the entire clove like butter! The bread itself had a sea salt crust on top with a sprig of rosemary speared into the center of the roll. Easily some of the best bread I have ever had in my life.
Now for the meats! I took a chance and left the fate of my selection in the hands of our waiter and what his favorites were on the menu. Upon his suggestion, I got the 20 oz. prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and garlic mashed potatoes. With each steak dinner, you have a choice of sauce from a list of about 8 or 10. He also suggested I pair the au poivre with my prime rib, which is a Cognac and cream sauce with whole peppercorns. My wife Breanna opted for the 10 oz. New York Strip with broccolini, mashed potatoes and the red wine sauce. I tried a bite of her dish, and it was phenomenal! For the kiddos, I was truly impressed at the value of the meal offerings they provide. All three of my girls chose the 4 oz. sirloin and their choice of two sides. Mashed potatoes, fresh grapes, and ice cream sundaes were among those that they chose. The ice cream sundaes included two generous scoops of vanilla ice cream with a bowl of iridescent Mickey head sprinkles and another bowl of semi-sweet milk chocolate morsels!! Dad tax came in clutch for these since they couldn’t finish them, so I left fat and sassy.
Overall, I was completely satisfied and impressed with my experience at Steakhouse 71. I will be returning to dine there again, maybe for breakfast next time. But up to this point, it was the best steak I’ve had on Disney property. Even though it was on the pricey side, I still saw value especially after my annual passholder discount. I was able to treat my family of five to a fabulous steak dinner for less than $150 and that price included a handsome 20%+ tip to my waiter who was just as incredible as the experience itself. I hope to be typing another blog about this place soon for the breakfast menu, so stay tuned! Until next time, I want to thank each and every one of you who take the time to read these blogs. I try to put all my efforts and passion for food into these things and I hope they make you smile or get hungry while you read them. I truly enjoy making these and I hope you enjoy reading them.