Forget what you know about traditional steakhouses. The days of quietness, intimacy and old-school nostalgia – defined by standard cuts of meat and a baked potato – are long gone. STK at Disney Springs welcomes high energy and full-on nightclub vibes in a chic, avant-garde setting, where guests get to indulge in modern takes on classic American cuisine. There are steakhouses and there are experiences. Here, you get an artful, upscale blend of both.
Nestled in The Landing district of Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, this big-city fine dining restaurant has lived up to its hype since its opening earlier this summer. You’ll find a two-story brick building flanked by a stunning outdoor patio found on both floors, bustling with a mix of locals, out-of-towners, business folk and the uber-trendy clientele. And true to STK fashion (seen in STK outposts in Las Vegas, New York, L.A., Atlanta, Miami, D.C. and Chicago), the experience begins the moment you enter.
Bumping sounds of an in-house DJ greet guests at the door and play a major role in the fun, stay-all-night atmosphere. DJ Jay-R was on the turntables the evening I dined at STK. I couldn’t help but dance in my white-leathered booth to an upbeat stream of old and new hits that was sure to please everyone’s musical palate. The sleek and sexy décor was another draw. Dark-wood flooring, leather frames and large wall sculptures complemented by white blossoms, full-length mirrors and light fixtures hung throughout added to the ambiance of the dimly lit venue.
But, of course, the innovative menu – highlighted by a stellar array of premium cuts of meat and decadent sides – remained the star. Complimentary pull-apart sourdough bread arrived at our table shortly after we were seated, which was perfect to enjoy as we perused the menu. Market salads including an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad with red chile-honey dressing, and a shaved Brussels sprouts salad topped the list, followed by a short selection of mouth-watering appetizers, and a vibrant raw bar of fresh selections, from oysters and shrimp cocktails to Alaskan king crab and ceviche.
For the more adventurous, try the grilled octopus ($18) for an appetizer, which offered a tender texture, nicely charred and with a flavorful, light lemony taste that paired well with the purple potatoes, capers and heirloom tomatoes it came with. What followed next on the menu was a series of burgers, sandwiches and entrees from the land and sea. Standouts included the STK wagyu burger, Florida grouper and free range chicken.
However, none can compare to the real showstoppers: the steaks. Ranging from $28-$92, options included everything from a 6-ounce filet medallion and a 16-ounce sirloin to a 32-ounce cowboy rib steak and 32-ounce porterhouse. We chose the 24-ounce version of the latter for $65, shared between two people. It can be best described as a steak lover’s nirvana. Cooked medium well, this thick cut of steak was highly marbled for rich flavor and optimal juiciness. Although sauces weren’t needed, we chose two – a special STK sauce and a bolder variant – among eight others to go along with our porterhouse.
The sides, big enough to share and just as creative and palate-pleasing as the main dishes, featured creamy Yukon potatoes, sweet corn pudding, asparagus, wild mushrooms and parmesan truffle fries, to name a few. We went with the mac and cheese as our accompaniment and it was creamy and comforting without being over-indulgent. A perfect STK ending would’ve been a bite into one of their hard-to-pass-up desserts like mini ice cream cone samplers, warm baked cookies and dulce de leche-filled donuts, but unfortunately we did just that: pass them up. We were so full that we had to take our leftovers to go. Fortunately for us, it made for a great breakfast the next day.
Knowledgeable, friendly and attentive waiters provided exceptional service to match STK’s flawless cuisine, stylish décor and one-of-a-kind atmosphere. All in all, the fun, modern and upscale edge of STK Orlando is just what the charming destination of Disney Springs needed.
Orlando, FL – 8/26/16
By: Maureen Mariano
Photos By: Alex Mateo