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Club 33 at Disneyland - Part 2: A Disneyland Dining Review

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 12-03-2015

In the first part of this series of articles, we looked at Club 33, what it is, how it came about, and the look and feel of the place today.

Now le'ts turn our attention to the FOOD! The main attraction at Club 33 is really the dining room, and we were able to sample dinner there during our recent visit.

When we entered the Club 33 dining room, I was surprised at how busy it was, given that we’d literally only seen one other group of four people in the bar area. There are usually two seatings a night, one around 6:15 pm, which is when we were eating, and a later one around 8:30pm, but given that Disneyland was closing at 9:00 pm the night we were there, we were fortunate enough to have our table for the rest of the evening, which was lovely.

The first impression you get of the dining room is that it’s very light and airy, and in the recent refurbishment Club 33 underwent, we were told they added a window where there used to be a fireplace, which helps with that feeling.

The menu is set, with four different options per course, although if you like the look of two items from the third course, for example, and don’t want anything from the second course, that’s fine. Like most Disney restaurants, you can also ask for items to be left off dishes as well, which I did, as some of the ones I wanted came with meat, but my version didn’t.

You can pick from either five courses at $105 per person or six courses for $120. Yes, that is the price. It’s not cheap in here, but would you expect anything else from a private club? About the closest you’ll find to this place that we can all book is Victoria and Albert’s at Walt Disney World, so that’s the sort of price range and quality of food you’re looking at here.

For first course, I opted for the sautéed asparagus with ricotta cheese dumplings, marcona almonds and asparagus nage. This was an example of a dish that would usually come with lamb bacon, but mine was done without. I enjoyed this, but there was something in it that wasn’t mentioned on the menu that I couldn’t quite place, and it didn’t feel as if it fitted in with the rest of the flavours.

My husband had the prime New York of beef seared black and blue with tarragon-garlic puree, and the other two options were either “lobster Rockefeller” with crispy oysters and lemon hollandaise or cornbread crusted-Chanterelle mushrooms with fennel puree and chimichurri.

Moving on to the second course, the chilled tomato soup, red shrimp, croutons and olive oil sorbet immediately caught my eye as an intriguing and unusual dish, and it lived up to all my expectations. This was one of the rare occasions where I eat something that is literally absolutely perfect and every mouthful is just a complete delight. If this had been the option for all the remaining courses, I would have been a very happy customer!

My husband opted for the salad of frisee, coastal strawberries, avocado, pistachio and buttermilk dressing, which had appealed to me. I had wanted to try some, but consumed as I was with the wonder of my tomato soup, I completely forgot until his plate had nothing left on it! The other two options for this course were a trio of beef carpaccio, black walnuts, smokey blue cheese, and orange tarragon marmalade or the “Lafayette” garden salad with shaved radish, cucumbers and vinaigrette maison.

If you got the impression this was the soup and salad course, you’d be spot on. Now I had champagne served with both of these courses, as I opted for the wine pairing with my dinner. I liked the fact you could choose from a wine pairing with either three, four, five or all six of your courses, so it meant you decided how much wine you would like. The other nice thing was the wine pairings weren’t set in stone. Your server would talk to you about the type of wine you liked, so they could find one that would work for you, which was a nice touch. The impression I got was they had three or four for each course they could pick from.

Here I do want to say a word about the service we had. Terrie Jo, or TJ as the regular Club 33 members know her, was exceptionally knowledgeable on both the food and the drink. I took lots of advice from her during the course of the meal, and all of it was spot on. I suspect, although I don’t know for sure, that she was effectively our sommelier for the evening, as well as our server, as I certainly didn’t see one anywhere else in the restaurant. That’s pretty impressive, and I would imagine that she is a complete mine of food and drink information!

If you opt for a wine pairing with just three courses, it’s $35, with four courses costing $45, five courses setting you back $55 and if you want wine with all six courses, it’s $65. I personally thought that was a reasonable price, given the price of the food here. I opted for three courses, as I knew each would be a reasonable pour, and so it proved to be. It worked perfectly for me. I certainly didn’t want to disgrace myself by drinking too much, and on that subject, I want to say a few words about the atmosphere here.

I think it’s fair to say that I was a bit intimidated when we first entered Club 33, not something that I usually feel, but having heard so much about the place, and being invited by members who we hadn’t met before that evening (they were friends of friends), I didn’t want to do anything to disgrace them. However, you quickly learn that it’s actually a fairly informal atmosphere in here. The feeling is of an extended family, as all the members know the Cast Members here very well, not surprising as no doubt they visit regularly to make the best of their membership (you’re talking $44,000 to join and annual dues of around $16,000). Considering the price of membership, I was pleasantly surprised by the relaxed feel that Club 33 has.

In the final part of this series of articles, I’ll conclude our dining review, looking at our third, fourth, cheese and dessert courses…

About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 12-03-2015

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