Monday, October 18, 2010

My thoughts on 'Ohana Dinner

'Ohana is one of the table-service restaurants at the Polynesian.  'Ohana serves both breakfast and dinner. We had a chance during our recent trip to the World to enjoy both meals.  In Hawaiian, the word 'ohana is loosely translated into "family".  Meals are served family style, everyone's your "cousin", and it's a great deal of fun.

Due to my not-so-BFF Tropical Storm Nicole causing torrential downpours on our Not-So-Scary Halloween Party night, we decided to reschedule and hit 'Ohana for dinner instead.  We were tired and drained from our experience with the weather, but the lovely concierge got us a last-minute ADR (advance dining reservation, for you folks that don't know all the lingo yet).  And hey, according to CurlyKristen ... "MEAT ON A STICK! GOOD!"

 Upon arrival, they greet you and you walk in with one of your "cousins".  Stopping by the service counter, you are shown their special drinks (sadly, I was too tired to indulge), and you pick up a basket of "Welcome Bread".  I thought this a bit bizarre at first, but oh.  OH.  The bread.   It's this soft and delicious pineapple laced goodness.  It's crusty on the outside - but not TOO crusty.  It's smooshy on the inside.  Oh, so tasty.  You carry the loaf of golden brown goodness through the dining area, and past the grilling area.  There, you will see tens (close to hundreds, if they're busy) of stakes of meat.  I wanted to stop and marvel at the meaty goodness, but our "cousin" hurried us to our table.  I was annoyed, but then my stomach gently reminded me that A, my daughter was carrying delicious bread to eat, and B, it had been hours since I'd eaten anything.  So I sulked and followed along.  mmmm bread ...

As the saying goes ... "But wait!  There's more!"  Why, you ask?  Because shortly after being seated, the parade of food began.  And I do mean a parade of food.  We literally ran out of room on our table.

I have dreams about the salad dressing ... oh my.  I piled it HIGH on my plate, knowing that sticks-o-meat were coming.  It's a lovely version of sweet and sour - with a bit of a honey-lime kick.  I may or may not have licked my fingers a few times.

And then ... it ramped up.

The most delicious honey-barbeque chicken wings showed up, accompanied with one of my weaknesses:  dumplings.  Steamed dumplings that had been gently browned a bit on each side on a griddle.  Delicious!

After I'd considered lying these items on the table and making snow (food?) angels, even MORE food showed up!  Steamed veggies, dipping sauces, and lo-mein noodles were brought to our table, along with our first serving of meat.   Through the meal, we were offered:  steak, chicken, shrimp, and pork.  All were adequate, but a bit dry.  They were well-seasoned, but a bit overdone for my tastes.  That's not to say that we didn't eat more than our fair share though.

We had several "rounds", and finally said "no more".  The dishes were cleared from our table, and the heavens opened.  The angels sang.  One of the most amazing things happened to me.

'Ohana. Bread. Pudding.

This amazing concoction is mooshy challah bread soaked in caramel and sunshine.  It is topped with a scoop of cool vanilla ice cream, and placed on a plate with a serving of bananas foster topping.  When they brought it to the table, I think I heard the sound of my rear end growing larger.  And I just didn't care.

I may or may not have consumed the entire plate alone, while my daughter finished her birthday cupcake and the bowl of ice cream with sprinkles (also pictured).  You can also see the remnants of our second loaf of Welcome Bread in the back of the shot.

If you're interested, you can find the full recipe (with a video to help) for the bread pudding over at A Taste Of Disney.  I am planning to make some of this stuff here pretty soon.

During dinner, the entertainment abounded.  There were conga lines, shaking of maracas, limbo contests, and more.  There also was a sighting of a buttoned-down corporate dad wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt over his clothing.  It was fun, but got loud at times.  It's a great place for kids, that's for sure.

Would I suggest 'Ohana for dinner?  Yes.  I think that it's a good use of a table service credit.  However, I don't know that I'd schedule my day around it.  If I were staying at the Polynesian and / or was having a "slow" day (park in the morning, relaxing dinner in the evening, early to bed for rope-drop the next day), this would be a great fit and one of my top choices. 

Score:  I give 'Ohana dinner a solid 8 out of 10.  If the meat were juicier (and included sausage), it may have been a 9.  However it was a good value for the price, and a great meal.

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