There are a ton of new changes happening at Disney Springs. Fulton’s Crab House closed to make way for Paddlefish, a seafood restaurant. The edifice was originally Empress Lilly, a 19th century replica of a paddle wheel boat, named after Walt Disney’s wife, Lilly. The interior and exterior of the restaurant has been updated with a more contemporary feel. The paddlewheel that once was a feature of the Empress Lilly has returned, reminding guests who care to reminisce about the history of the restaurant. The restaurant opened early February.
Upon entering, there is an exhibition kitchen. I wanted my table to be in this area, but was taken to the second floor and given a window seat. It was a great view of the Amphicars and The BOATHOUSE. Maybe next time I’ll enjoy the bar and kitchen views. Also on the list to try next time is the outdoor patio area and rooftop bar.
The new menu reflects a modern take on seafood that one would expect to be served from a boat. Since my meal at Paddlefish was to be the first meal after finishing the Princess Half Marathon, I came in starving, wanting to order everything on the lunch menu. I ordered the Crab Fries and Clam Chowder for appetizers and the Crab BLT as an entree. Since fries also accompanied the BLT, I requested a salad in place of the fries.
The Crab Fries came out first. The potatoes were cut with the skin on. Blue crab was piled high and it was served with a slightly spicy Louie dressing and scallions. There was a generous portion of fries and crab meat; this appetizer would be great for sharing. The contrast of the chilled crab and hot fries was noticeable. I found myself wishing the crab was warm. As the fries cooled, the flavor of the Louis sauce changed to something slightly less appetizing. Next time, it will be ordered without the sauce.
Next was the Clam Chowder. I love a good bowl of clam chowder and this most certainly did not come from a can. It was everything you could ever want in a bowl of chowder, creamy, lots of clams and potatoes and great flavor. Somehow, I was missed when the waitstaff delivered bread to every table. It would have gone well with the chowder. I could have eaten just that and left the restaurant fulfilled. The salad I requested in lieu of fries was served next. It was bright and colorful; its flavors matched the appearance. Romaine hearts, cucumber, miniature heirloom tomatoes, red onion, Asian pear, and yuzu combined to make this delightful little salad the unsuspected winner of lunch. The entree arrived last. The Crab BLT was on fresh (and I mean FRESH) made ciabatta roll and included the crab cake, lettuce, tomato, avocado, mustard sauce and Applewood bacon. Though I was full from the courses served earlier, I made it my business to finish the sandwich. I did not want to carry leftovers around the park.
I grew up eating seafood and will choose it first over just about anything, so I was thrilled that a seafood restaurant would continue to have a special place at Disney Springs. Paddlefish gets 3.5/5 stars from me. While the remodel is beautiful, there are still some kinks in service to be worked out and the prices are a bit high for portion size. Disney Dining Plan is accepted, but many menu items have an upcharge posted, making this restaurant not convenient for folks using the Dining Plan. Paddlefish should be fairly easy to snag a reservation at for a while, there are a few other new restaurants at Disney Springs that will probably garner more attention. Because I love seafood, I will definitely return for a steam pot, an order of scallops, for rooftop drinks, and to experience the exhibition kitchen. This is a great restaurant to visit with seafood loving friends for an upscale meal after a day at the parks.