Review: Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs
**This post was written by Krysti Reif, a special guest author, from Orlando Decoded. Orlando Decoded specializes in Orlando attractions, culture, and food! **
I’ll be honest. When I first heard a “Southern” restaurant was coming to Disney Springs, I was a little skeptical. It didn’t seem to fit. The name, Art Smith’s Homecomin’, seemed a little weird, and I’m not a huge fan of Southern food. As a native Floridian, the idea of a “Florida Kitchen” that wasn’t seafood-focused seemed pretty off base. Of course, even I can forget that Florida actually has some pretty Southern-feeling areas, especially as you travel farther north in the state.
I’m happy to report that all of my hesitations were unfounded. The restaurant is a beautiful addition to Disney Springs with a definite Florida-flair. There’s an open kitchen and patio, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
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Art Smith is a Florida-born chef, graduate of the Walt Disney World College Program, and former cook to Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Graham. If Disney Springs was going to host a signature Southern restaurant, it’s only appropriate that they showcase Chef Art’s cooking and recipes. Featuring Southern specialties like fried catfish, creamy mashed potatoes, and deviled eggs – Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is the ultimate in upscale, Southern comfort food!
After being seated near the open-kitchen, my husband and I were offered a menu and told about the restaurant’s specialities. Apparently, Chef Art Smith and his restaurants are famous for his fried chicken. We definitely had to try this signature dish, but there was only one problem. My husband does NOT do chicken on the bone. We let our server know about this hesitation, and they offered to substitute the boneless chicken breasts in our meal instead. For us, this was the perfect solution. We were guaranteed all white meat with no bones, and we got to try the restaurant’s most famous menu item.
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We decided we wanted to try the fried catfish, too (because who goes to a Southern restaurant and DOESN’T try the fried catfish). So we ended up ordering the two main dishes and a few sides to split.
While the fried chicken was very good, we much preferred the catfish. The catfish is battered with cornmeal and a slight hint of red pepper flakes! The flakes added a nice “kick” to the flavor without being overly spicy.
For sides, we had the macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and biscuit. The macaroni and cheese had a layer of cheese on top and a thick sauce. While it was delicious, the cheese sauce was very oily – to the point where, after it’s been sitting for a little while, actual pools of oil will form between the noodles.
The mashed potatoes, on the other hand, were some of the creamiest I’ve ever tasted. They were smooth, without chunks or skins. The potatoes had a definite butter taste. I felt like mine needed salt, but others disagreed with me. The coleslaw and biscuit were both delicious but didn’t stray far from what you’d expect. Nothing in particular jumped out about these items.
Orlando Decoded’s Thoughts
If you’re looking for a healthy, light meal, this is not your place. As is expected of Southern food, everything worth eating is either fried, covered in butter, or very greasy. However, if you’re looking for a filling, comfort-food filled meal after a long day in the parks you’ve found the perfect restaurant!
It’s also worth noting, however, that the restaurant tends to be a little loud. The music isn’t played at an overly high volume, but the acoustics of the building are not great. It only takes a few tables of other parties’ conversation to drown out your own.
My meal was so huge, I could not eat it in one sitting. My leftovers reheated perfectly in the microwave, and I had a delicious lunch the next day!
Overall, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is a delicious addition to Disney Springs! I loved my experience, and I look forward to my next visit! To book your visit, use My Disney Experience or call Disney Dining at 407-939-5277.
Krysti from Orlando Decoded
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