Hollywood Brown Derby
|Address||Disney's Hollywood Studios|
Walt Disney World
M, T, W, TH, F, Sat, Sun
M , T , W , TH , F , Sat , Sun
|Noise Level||Medium Noise Level|
Fashioned after the original restaurant in Los Angeles, HBD is worthy of a better dressed crowd than the t-shirted masses from the theme park, but there's no getting around that. A must-have here is the Cobb salad, which was an invention of the owner of the original Derby.
I started my lunch with sweet Zellwood corn chowder, which also had bits of applewood smoked bacon. It was a large bowl -- whether it was worth nine bucks is up for debate -- and the kernels of corn still had a nice bit of crunch. I would have liked to have seen some more bacon, and the drizzle of ancho chili oil on the top, which resembled something like an oil slick, didn't add a lot, but overall it was a nice chowder.
The original Brown Derby is where the Cobb salad was invented. It was the creation of former Derby owner Bob Cobb (you’d think he’d go by Robert, wouldn’t you?), who whipped up the salad as a late-night snack for a Hollywood VIP back in the '30s. The story goes that there wasn’t much in the fridge the night the bigwig came in so Cobb just chopped up what he could find. It’s the chopping that defines a Cobb today. Here the Cobb has greens, turkey breast, egg, bacon, tomatoes, blue cheese, avocado and chives. The basic salad is $15, but for two more bucks you can have some chicken cubes added. I splurged. The salad was delivered in a large bowl with the various ingredients grouped together. The man who brought the Cobb to the table asked if I would like him to toss everything together. I figured I’d let an expert do it.
Except for being unable to identify the greens – they looked sort of like soggy parsley but didn’t have that sharp taste – I liked the salad, especially the chewy bacon and salty blue cheese.
I also had the grilled Atlantic salmon, a sizeable, fresh-tasting fillet that had a delightful charred edge. It was served atop a bed of baby spinach on a platform of thickly sliced ugli tomatoes (I guess that would make it a platform bed). There were too many tomatoes and not enough cannellini beans, and I couldn't discern the bacon vinaigrette that the menu promised.
For dessert I had the grapefruit cake, which the menu touts as a Brown Derby original! The exclamation point was unnecessary, and so were the calories. The yellow layer cake with cream cheese frosting was undistinguished in flavor.
Disney's Hollywood Studios