Dining Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

September 2018

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Kitchen at Disney Springs, Orlando Florida

We had not been to Disney Springs since the transformation from Downtown Disney so we made a point to carve out time of this trip to explore the area. Many sources have given many dining locations accolades so we were looking forward to our options for lunch. Working up an appetite after an early morning at Animal Kingdom, we came ready to experience Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Kitchen for Florida southern flare.

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We arrived for our reservation and prompt seated on the deck with this incredible view. Already off to a good start- we were so impressed by the work creating Disney Springs!

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We each treated ourselves to an afternoon beverage. I ordered the Royal Sangria made with Pavo Real red wine, fresh seasonal fruit, agave syrup, lime juice, and blackberry brandy- very tasty! Kevin ordered the O-Town Brown Ale which he really enjoyed. We certainly need to explore the beer city in the Orlando area.

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One look at the menu and we knew we were in trouble… from biscuits and doughnuts to short rib and grits… it was difficult to find a place to start! Since the fried chicken was the specialty and knowing either of us could (or should) eat an entire portion ourselves, the first decision was to split the fried chicken. Then it was much easier to back into this with a few appetizers. We had everything came out at once so we could just start digging in.

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The first appetizer was the House-Made Doughnuts which were mini iced doughnuts piled with pecans, bacon, and drizzled with house-made caramel.

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Some much house-made goodness! These were outrageously delicious and we loved every bite- salty sweet perfection. We love dessert when it is apart of the meal!

The second appetizer we ordered was the Bee Haven Bay Fried Green Tomatoes topped with shaved ham, remoulade sauce and dressed with local greens.

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We love fried green tomatoes. Kevin’s mom makes them every summer and it is always a meal we look forward to. It is hard for us to turn down the opportunity to have them so we were excited about this dish.  Things we loved about this dish- the ham and the sauce and the entire flavor profile with the fried green tomato. Things that disappointed us- the size of the tomatoes. Can you find them among the ham and greens? The fried tomatoes were very good especially with the other ingredients on the dish but they were just so darn small. At $14 for this dish, having the premier ingredient be so small was disappointing.

And finally, the Art’s Famous Fried Chicken- described as “Buttermilk-brined for 24 hours then perfectly fried served with creamy mashed potatoes, a cheddar drop biscuit, and love”. All that love for fried chicken.

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Isn’t it a beauty? We were so excited to dig in and even more happy we split this enormous platter. Let’s start with the sides. The mashed potatoes were a-maz-ing and easily some of the best we have had. Incredibly creamy and rich- everything you want in mashed potatoes. The cheddar biscuit was another winner- another great mix of saltiness from the cheese and sweetness from the batter. If I had room I could have ate several more happily. And finally… the chicken. I have to say, our batter was soggy which is the saddest thing on fried chicken. You want that crispy bite with every piece and it was just mushy like it had been out for awhile. The batter seasoning was great and the chicken itself was super moist but how disappointing to not have the complete picture with freshly fried, crispy skin.

Overall, we really enjoyed our meal here. Great atmosphere and a great menu that can please even the pickiest eaters. I would definitely recommend splitting a bunch of options as we did- best way to try lots of offerings without feeling so regretful in the Florida heat. I think we had a off chicken day because everyone we hear raves about it and the “perfectly fried” quality. And unless the tomatoes regain a normal size, I would skip this and try something else- great flavor but give us some more tomatoes! We will definitely give it another shot on our next trip to redeem crispy skin victory.

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