Beauty and the Beast season is upon us ahead of the upcoming live-action remake of the Disney classic. With it comes a new themed restaurant inside Disneyland Park in Anaheim called Red Rose Taverne, a takeover of Fantasyland’s Village Haus Restaurant inside the Magic Kingdom.
The enchanted pop-up runs indefinitely, yet the initial response was nothing short of insane, with multi-hour lines to enter when it opened this past weekend and such demand for plastic cups with red roses in them that they remain sold out.
Since the space is temporary, any princess-y decor is mostly intended to hide away any evidence of its past life as a Pinocchio-themed eatery, utilizing curtains to cover up set piece and stained glass artwork to pay homage to the fairy tale. There’s scattered imagery of Ms. Potts, Chip, Gaston, and Belle, but any mention of the forthcoming big-budget film — which is already deep into a month-long international promotional tour — is eerily missing, focusing instead on the animated imagery from the 1990s film.
Lest you think this is a bombastic ploy to remind us to buy our movie tickets ASAP, it’s truly an under-the-radar homage. Save for the lengthy line, there’s no indication that something special is going on, let alone that it’s promotional.
Eater stopped in to try some of the more popular — and bizarre — items on Red Rose Taverne’s menu, where, magically, a poutine pizza and the world’s most lazily named dessert wound up being less weird than an anthropomorphized talking candlestick. Don’t just take the dishes’ word for it:
Slow-Cooked Beef Poutine, $10.99
Instead of blending together as a gravy-soaked hangover cure, this one falls somewhere between poutine and a kind of “x-treme” nachos. The waffle fries are straight from the freezer, but the tender, flavorful beef and its gravy are excellent, while the herbed cheese curds are a welcomed surprise, especially as a flavor you rarely taste at Disney parks. It was the worst thing we tasted, but still nowhere near bad. It’s just that a bucket of wet fries seems less like an $11 entree and more like something you’d make when you’re high.
Poutine Flatbread $9.49
It doesn’t look good, it shouldn’t taste good, and yet I could not stop eating it. Between the garlic aioli, herb oil, gravy, cheese curds, french fries and, well, pizza, this dish is more complicated than the reality of LeFou and Gaston’s relationship yet holds up better than Belle on her first day in the castle. The beef poutine was a better vehicle for the meat but this baby’s crowning achievement are the cheese curds, which, when fully melted and mixed with the aioli, come through as crazy-creamy as a tricked out white pizza. The ironic lowlight of this whole concoction? The twice-cooked fries, which are too tough to gnaw through easily. It’s as heavy as a theme park pizza can get, so consider taking a walk before potentially hurling among the stars in more ways than one on Space Mountain.
Beast’s Burger, $13.49
Gruyere is a weird choice because it’s more difficult to melt — and doesn’t here, due to a quick-service kitchen setup — but the mix of horseradish aioli, caramelized onions and those delicious little morsels of slow-cooked beef atop a ⅓ pound Angus patty is an aggressive choice that demands respect. The ciabatta bun is the only stinker, getting got so soggy that holding the concoction felt like a wet double-decker s’more, but unlike the godforsaken Star Wars-themed black bun burger of yesteryear, this one is so legit.
Even better? All of Red Rose Taverne’s sandwiches come with “pommes frites”, which are far from a French retitling of any crunchy little twigs. These are the much-adored parmesan and herb-coated fries that, until now, were only available at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square, a letting you grab one of Disneyland’s best bites on the cheap and easy.
Enchanted Cauli-Flower Sandwich, $10.99
I’m not sure what about this is French — the tempura-battered haricot vert? — but there’s no way to eat this veggie sandwich without unhinging your jaw like a true American. Still, the curried cauliflower is such a smart and special touch for such a beef-slathered menu, and a bite of those fried green beans slathered in the spicy lime aioli is perfection, with a surprising amount of zing. We’ll bet no one would be itching to leave Beast’s castle if the object-inhabiting servants could cook up flavor profiles like this.
Grey Stuff Gateau, $5.49
This is what you came for, and damn, Lumiere was right: it’s freaking unbelievable. Avoid its shortbread base all together and dive into the white chocolate mousse-covered, raspberry-centered red velvet cake for a mix of the most decadent flavors you’ll find in Disneyland. Park food can often hit the sweet notes hard, but this dessert shows restraint in its flavors, elevating it beyond the sugar-sapped treats and dense chocolate cakes. Speaking of, there’s another cute rose-shaped dessert on the menu but don’t play yourself. You came all this way for the Beauty & The Beast experience, and you are ordering this dish. Who cares if it’s named after a color and a vague noun! It’s a must.
Red Rose Taverne