Walt Disney World has announced new food coming to the Brown Derby this month. This post dispenses with dish details, with photos of the attractive appetizers, enticing entress, and decadent desserts coming to the Signature Restaurant at Hollywood Studios. Plus, thoughts on our most recent meals at Brown Derby.
According to Walt Disney World, the Golden Age of Hollywood has received additions–with The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently launching menu updates. The culinary team masterfully put together dishes featuring the freshest of ingredients for Summer 2023.
For those unfamiliar with it, Brown Derby is nestled between Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Animation Courtyard, Hollywood Boulevard, and Sunset Boulevard. The restaurant features contemporary American cuisine, and this summer menu is no different–with several new additions from the kitchen.
Whether you’ve been here before or want to try this restaurant for the first time, The Hollywood Brown Derby has something for everyone to enjoy. (Those are Disney’s words, but we also think Brown Derby is pretty crowd-pleasing by Signature Restaurant standards. It’s definitely the most adventurous and ‘adult’ restaurant at DHS, though.)
Anyway, here’s a look at what’s cooking over at the Hollywood Brown Derby for Summer 2023…
The appetizers have several eats that are packed with flavor. Starting off, we’ve got some seafood options resurfacing for you. The Crab Louie features crispy olive bread, citrus blend, fried capers, and Louie sauce.
For those shrimp fans out there, the Shrimp Cocktail is topped with shaved fennel cucumbers and a traditional cocktail sauce.
There are two items for cheese lovers. The Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad combines shaved onions, Thai basil, gremolata, and a delicious citrus vinaigrette, while the Charcuterie Board features the Chef’s selection of cured meats, cheeses, and accompaniments.
For the more adventurous eaters, the Escargot is accompanied by roasted garlic béchamel and crispy prosciutto and the Roasted Bone Marrow is composed of braised beef, pickled mustard seeds, and a fig bread crostini.
The classic Filet Mignon is paired with glazed carrots, potato pave, horseradish cream, and a tasty peppercorn sauce to finish it off. The Lamb Shank is accompanied with summer vegetables, harissa vinaigrette, and nasturtium chermoula.
The new Free-Range Chicken and Dumplings brings together these two classics with a lemon-ricotta Gnudi, shishito cream, and a gooseberry jus.
The seafood aficionados have a couple options to choose from as well – the new Sustainable Fish and the Seafood Cioppino. The Sustainable Fish with white bean ragout, derby summer vegetables, and roasted tomato emulsion is another new addition to the menu.
The Seafood Cioppino brings together favorites from the sea with shrimp, sea scallops, seasonal fish, mussels, a toasted baguette, and aromatic tomato broth.
The Hollywood Brown Derby’s latest rendition of a classic comfort food dish is Shepherd’s Pie.
This new dish combines roasted garlic mashed potatoes, mushrooms, peas, corn, and carrot Romesco into a plant-based plate.
For those looking for the classic Brown Derby dishes, the fan-favorites are still here to stay for both lunch and dinner. The Famous Cobb Salad is a classic, and for good reason. This famous dish is made up of spit-roasted turkey, bacon, egg, tomatoes, blue cheese, avocado, and a classic dressing. If you want to enhance this dish even more, you can add chicken or shrimp. (We don’t think those ‘enhancements’ do anything–the salad is perfect as-is.)
The sweet tooths out there will be pleased to know that the sweet staple, the Grapefruit Cake, isn’t going anywhere. This Brown Derby original combines a moist vanilla sponge cake, grapefruit syrup, and cream cheese icing into one of Walt Disney World’s most iconic desserts.
Normally, we probably wouldn’t share a menu update announcement for the Hollywood Brown Derby. It’s really not the type of thing that gets the people going–it’s probably fair to say that none of you have been on pins and needles waiting for a new menu for Brown Derby to drop. Even though it’s one of the few in-park Signature Restaurants, it’s only like the 5th most popular table service option at DHS. And that’s not saying much given the number of table service restaurants in Hollywood Studios!
In this case, we’re sharing because it’s a golden opportunity for a belated-but-brief review of Brown Derby that we’ve dragged our feet on doing. This blog isn’t known for brevity, but neither of our meals in the last year or so elicit much wordiness. They simply were not all that good or memorable. The Hollywood Brown Derby was just okay. Average by table service standards at Walt Disney World when not taking price into consideration.
Portion sizes were small, dishes were dry, flavors were muted, and presentation was pedestrian. While average or slightly below relative to all table service restaurants at Walt Disney World, Brown Derby has been, without question, the least ambitious or inventive Signature Restaurant that we’ve done post-reopening, and that includes a couple of meals at Le Cellier.
It’s obviously not the subject of this post, but Le Cellier, on the other hand, has pleasantly surprised on both occasions. Granted, we don’t have high expectations for Le Cellier and it’s a steakhouse, so ‘envelope-pushing’ isn’t what we do expect of it, but it was surprisingly good–and seems to be trending upwards!
The specific dishes we had at Brown Derby don’t really matter. Part of why we haven’t done standalone reviews is that 3 of the 4 entrees are now gone from the menu. The bottom line is that our complaints were similar for everything we ordered. Brown Derby struck us as overpriced and under-ambitious, and we would’ve preferred doing Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater or Minnie’s Seasonal Dine. We actually ate at ABC Commissary a few hours after one of our Brown Derby meals, and wished we just would’ve done that instead (taking into account quality, portion sizes, and–most importantly–the massive cost disparity).
Anyway, the point with all of this is that this is one restaurant that could use a shot in the arm, and we’re hoping the new menu at Hollywood Brown Derby is an improvement from what we’ve ordered in the past year. Based on the photos and descriptions, it certainly looks like both of those things could be the case. I’m particularly intrigued by the escargot, roasted bone marrow, and lamb shank. All of those dishes sound ambitious but comforting–a feast that would get Gordon’s and Gaston’s seals of approval!
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Thoughts on these new menu items debuting at the Hollywood Brown Derby for Summer 2023? Have you dined here recently? How do you think Brown Derby stacks up to other Signature Restaurants at Walt Disney World, or other table service options at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!