The eagle has landed in EPCOT! That is to say, Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue has officially opened in EPCOT’s American Adventure pavilion. We recently discussed two new restaurant offerings arriving in EPCOT this year, one of them being Regal Eagle, and it opened its doors on February 19th. So, of course we soared into this brand-new eatery to put these savory tastes to the test!
Let’s start with the slew of sides we sampled. With every entree (except the salad), you can choose to add one of the following dishes on the side: french fries, macaroni & cheese, house-made pickles, baked beans with burnt ends, coleslaw, onion rings, or garlic toast. Both the beer-battered onion rings and the garlic toast are standard flavors that you would expect from each item, and therefore are not our top picks.
The house-made pickles were reminiscent of a cucumber salad tossed in a sweet vinegar sauce. The baked beans had a similar acidic taste to them, which wasn’t particularly appealing to us; though, the bits of hearty meat mixed into the thick sauce were positive features of this dish.
The following sides were standouts, in our opinion, because they offered unexpected flavors: the french fries, coleslaw, and macaroni & cheese. I know you’re probably wondering how french fries ended up near the top of this list, but honestly, it’s a deserved ranking due to the generous sprinkle of seasoning added to each helping. What tastes like seasoning salt adds a slightly smoky flavor to otherwise standard fries.
Similarly, the coleslaw offered a surprising taste; rather than a heavy, creamy base, the overall taste was more light! And the macaroni & cheese was a step above the typical flavor you would expect from theme park fare, offering a sharp, cheesy taste and a dash of breadcrumbs on top for that necessary “crunch!” factor.
We also sampled a variety of entree options, including the BBQ Burger, the North Carolina Chopped Smoked Pork Butt Platter, and the plant-based BBQ Jackfruit Burger. Honestly, the BBQ burger was pretty standard when you compare it to other theme park hamburger patties; however, the onion ring on top added a bit of variety, and the best component of this entree was that it’s served on buttery garlic toast instead of a typical bun.
Regal Eagle offers a plant-based alternative to the BBQ burger with the BBQ jackfruit burger. Overall, this plant-based patty had good flavor, though the consistency was a tad mushy. However, the jackfruit really soaked in the flavor of the barbecue sauce, and was an excellent addition to elevate the flavor of the burger.
Fair warning: the portion size for the smoked pork butt looks deceivingly small on the platter, but was decently filling once consumed. As expected, the meat was tender, and it may be helpful to note that while this dish is advertised with the North Carolina vinegar sauce, you can order it without the sauce. Then, you can grab any of the three other barbecue sauces from a nearby condiment bar!
Overall, the Regal Eagle Smokehouse is a solid addition to the dining offerings in EPCOT’s World Showcase. With a variety of barbecue sauces to choose from, an array of side dishes, and a wide assortment of entree options, you will likely find something for everyone in your dining party!