I have several favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World, and I think because of the variety, I tend to lean towards restaurants with menu items I can’t get anywhere else. At least around my neighborhood.
My husband and I tried Jiko on a whim one night when we failed to make reservations anywhere to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We opted to allow one of the African cast members recommend things from the menu that she might really find at home, and we were not disappointed. The food was flavorful, bursting with spices and aromas that you certainly won’t find in my Irish kitchen, and it was a meal we will always remember fondly – and not just because we were child free that night!
It was several meals later that I opted to try the filet mignon with the macaroni and cheese. Thank goodness for the internet, because had I not read that they did not only amazing things with the filet, but the mac and cheese was not the kind I’m used to (the orange, out of a box kind), I probably never would have opted for what looked like a meal you could get at a local steak house.
But this was an elevation of a perfect meal. The filet, always perfectly cooked, crusty on the outside, tender inside; a red wine reduction that was so delicious it nearly made you weep; and the macaroni and cheese, with a blend of four cheeses, resting on the red wine reduction so that it soaked into the macaroni, was divine. It very quickly became not only my favorite Walt Disney World meal, but my favorite meal anywhere. Ever.
So today, it is with considerable mourning that I tell you my favorite dish is no more. You can still get the filet mignon, but it now comes atop a bed of potatoes and with a side of broccolini. Yes, I said broccolini. They’ve replaced my decadent and delicious, cheese filled goodness with a green vegetable.
I may actually cry.
It’s not that I don’t think Jiko, being a signature restaurant, should be able to change it’s menu, but this was a dish they were KNOWN for. Their reputation among Disney foodies was built on the mac and cheese with filet dish. Change up something else, throw potatoes in there on another meal, but don’t mess with perfection.
Did DaVinci paint Mona Lisa’s sister after he painted the Mona Lisa? Well, damned if I know, but I can tell you that Mona Lisa’s sister didn’t sell as well as she did.
I’m so sad to see this dish gone from the menu, and hope there is an outcry loud enough to cause them to bring it back. I loved it, and I’ll miss it, and it will certainly give me pause before I book dinner at Jiko in the future.
RIP, my delicious mac and cheese.