One of the most anticipated restaurants to open at Universal Orlando Resort’s CityWalk entertainment district in the not too distant past is the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. Nestled between the entrance of Islands of Adventure and the Hard Rock Cafe, this steampunk themed eatery serves an all-day brunch in addition to a lunch/dinner menu.
With all the dining options in the resort’s two theme parks and at CityWalk, there has to be “something” to set this place apart because the menu itself features your run-of-the-mill options you can find just about anywhere. That “something” comes in the form of milkshakes and desserts.
So let’s start there!
There are nearly a dozen different milkshakes priced between $12 and $13, a hefty price for sure. The Marshmallow Crisp ($12) features vanilla ice cream, rice crispies, marshmallow fluff, fresh whipped cream, and Rice Krispies® treats. The Red Velvet ($13) has vanilla ice cream, red velvet cupcake, raspberry sauce, rainbow sprinkles, fresh whipped cream, and a cherry.
Sundaes are also available, and there’s 8 of those priced between $9.50 and $12, again a steep price. The Strawberry Shortcake ($12) features strawberry peanut butter ice cream, cheesecake, white chocolate almond bark, fresh whipped cream, and a chocolate covered strawberry. The Brookies, Cookies & Creme ($9.50) has a brookie, chocolate chip cookies, Oreo cookies and cream ice cream, fresh whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and chocolate shavings.
Bread pudding, creme brulee, and cake round of the dessert offerings that range between $6.95 and $8.95.
I’m pretty sure most of the people stopping by the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium are there to take on a milkshake or a sundae or peruse the selection of candy and baked goods in the retail store.
Let’s move on to the food. Since its opening, the restaurant has been busy, to say the least – with people waiting up to an hour during peak times to get a table. There’s a patio for outdoor seating and a two-level indoor dining room with a small upstairs bar.
Like I said earlier, the menu features a pretty standard variety. Appetizers include fries, hummus, wings, onion rings, nachos, and pork belly sliders to name a few.
Salads such as the Waldorf, Caesar and a “Superfood” top the list of about six while french onion and broccoli and cheese soup round out the soup and salad options.
There are about eight flatbreads from a standard pepperoni to a duck confit.
The rest of the menu features sandwiches such as a Reuben, a half-dozen burgers, not-so-special pasta offerings like Fettuccini Alfredo and entrees such as a New York strip, pork chops, meatloaf, and salmon.
On the night of my visit, the place was busy as it was Spring Break week. I arrived after spending some time in the parks and passed at least 30 – 40 people waiting outside for a table (even though it was after 9:30 pm) so I meandered upstairs to the bar to see if there were any seats available.
There was one.
The bar itself only has about 12 to 18 seats and a few high tops. Beer, wine, and specialty cocktails are available. After a beer, I made my selections.
I asked the bartender/server how the Duck Confit Flatbread was (duck confit, mushroom purée, roasted Brussels sprouts, dark sweet cherries, fontina cheese, arugula – $11.95). She told me she doesn’t like duck but heard it’s good. I went with it.
It didn’t take long to arrive and based on the fact that it was cold, I could only assume these were prepped ahead of time. There was a good amount of (cold) duck on the flatbread that had cold melted cheese as the base. The flat itself was crispy, the Brussels added a nice touch, but the arugula could have been scaled back a bit. The cherries added a nice added flavor to a flatbread that could have been a complete home run if it was at least somewhat warm.
For my main course, I decided to skip the standard entrees that I could pretty much get at my local Friday’s and choose one of their specialty sandwiches. When I asked what my server’s favorite was, she immediately said, “the Fork & Knife Grilled Rib Eye Steak Sandwich.” This one is described as having sautéed onions, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, arugula, herb shallot aioli, horseradish cheese, on a toasted onion brioche bun for $14.95.
Again, it arrived very fast and I tend to think the kitchen cranks out food here in such a way that a seat at a table never has time to cool off until the doors get locked for the night.
The sandwich was very disappointing, to say the least. The “steak” was about the size and thickness of a standard hamburger patty from Burger King. The bun was about the same size. The whole thing was so salty I was questioning even adding more sodium to the meal by eating the french fries that came with it!
When I say the best part of the entree was the fries, I’m not joking.
While the restaurant itself may be eye-catching and intriguing from the outside and the milkshakes and desserts may be killer, I’m pretty convinced that’s where it ends.
I’ve been wanting to try the place since it opened and now that I did, it’s pretty safe to say I won’t be making a second trip even to see if things changed. I understand it was a busy time when I was there, but cold, salty food may be acceptable for tourists on vacation, but not for me.
My recommendation if this is a “must do” on your list – go for dessert.