And just like that, Flying Fish, formerly known as Flying Fish Cafe, has become arguably the second most elegant restaurant at Walt Disney World. In my estimation, only Victoria & Albert’s offers a more upscale decor.
It took more than just dropping the word Cafe from the name. The restaurant, on Disney’s Boardwalk, was closed in February for a complete renovation. When it originally opened, almost 20 years ago, the Fish had a more whimsical decor that featured paeans to the glory days of Coney Island’s boardwalk, with such touches as booth backs that swooped like the track of a roller coaster, light fixtures of parachuting porpoises and touches of tiles that resembled fish scales.
I have to begin by saying that I don’t watch the “reality” cooking shows. None of them. And in fact it’s “Hell’s Kitchen” that first put me off of the genre.
When the program was first set to air, in 2005, my editors at the Orlando Sentinel thought it might be fun to have the restaurant critic write a review. So they handed me tv critic Hal Boedeker’s preview copy — I think it was VHS — and I sat down to watch it. It turned my stomach.