REVIEW – Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming at Disney Springs
Opening back in July 2016, we just now made some time to get out to Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming at Disney Springs. It’s probably a good thing that we took so long too, otherwise we would probably have spent all of our time and money here! Lets jump into the review.
Sitting right on the springs of Disney Springs, Homecoming is billed as a southern comfort restaurant.
Featuring ample light and wood throughout, it hits the mark from an aesthetics perspective. As you walk in you’ll notice the high ceilings and an abundance of woods used throughout.
To the left of the entrance sits the bar.
There is also a patio that wraps around the side of the building that sits on the springs and offers wonderful views. The patio is completely screened in, keeping with the southern style of the restaurant.
And a quick overview video.
We’re off to a great start as far as the theming is concerned. Let’s check in on some food.
Bee Haven Bay Fried Green Tomatoes – $12
Shaved ham, remoulade sauce and dressed local greens
I would consider this a light appetizer, with 5 slices of battered green tomatoes in total. The shaved ham is a nice touch, but not overly flavorful. The remoulade sauce is the highlight of this dish. It’s a very light sauce that packs a very good flavor. Among the ingredients comprising the sauce are mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, and hot sauce (though I wouldn’t classify it as hot).
For as much as we enjoyed the appetizer, I have passed on subsequent visits to save some much needed room for the main dish and dessert.
Fried Chicken & Doughnuts – $25
Two pieces of Chef Art Smith’s famous fried chicken served with house-made sugar doughnuts and creamy mashed potatoes
The fried chicken is probably why you’re here, and definitely why you’ll return. The chicken is Buttermilk-Brined for 24 hours prior to hitting your plate and it shows with every bite! The bread is just crunchy enough to serve its purpose, but it also barely clings on to the layer of buttermilk beneath it. I’ve probably not encountered a better cooked chicken either. Perfectly white all the way through with a soft, forgiving texture that isn’t chewy.
The sugar doughnuts were a bit dense the first time we had them, but for lunch the next day they were much fluffier on the inside.
I really enjoyed the final piece of this plate, the mashed potatoes. For me, mashed potatoes are generally hit or miss, but these were a hit. They had no texture or clumping to them, without being too creamy or soupy. Probably the best mashed potatoes I’ve had on property.
The dish also comes with two dipping sauces, but the only one you should care about is the spiced cane syrup. Somewhere between a syrup, liquid, and jam in consistency, this can (and should) be used for both the doughnuts and chicken.
Chopped Pork Barbecue Plate – $24
Dressed with HFK sweet and spicy barbecue sauce served with Momma’s mac and cheese and cheddar drop biscuit
The chopped pork here makes the dish more easily manageable than if it were to be pulled pork. Soft pieces combine with burnt ends to sit under a wonderful sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. I was able to identify more of the sweet taste than spicy, but I definitely used the extra provided as I made it through the dish. We’ve had Momma’s mac and cheese before as an appetizer, but I only mention it here because I think it’s a wonderful strategy to either get a meal with it as a side, or substitute it for a side if your dish doesn’t come with it.
This is hands-down the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had and recommend adding it to any dining experience you might have at Homecoming. A baked top layer hides the mac and cheese well, but also provides for a burst of flavor and a bit of a crunch to start the dish out. The cheese beneath is unbelievably creamy and tasty, and it’s a good thing that the cheese is good because this plate is endlessly cheesy.
I thought that the pickles were nice and sweet and gave you a bit of a contrast to the pork. I didn’t particularly care for the cheddar drop biscuit and found it a bit dry.
Fried Chicken Sandwich – $17
Buttermilk-Brined for 24 hours and double-battered, dressed with hot sauce Aioli, iceberg lettuce, tomato and bread and butter pickles
This chicken sandwich uses the same technique as the fried chicken and doughnuts mentioned above and it’s better for it. The double battering is noticeable when compared to the regular fried chicken plate, but it doesn’t present a challenge when biting into it. While the description labels the Aioli as “hot sauce”, I wouldn’t go that far. If you’re interested in this sandwich, I would recommend removing the tomato and lettuce so you can enjoy the simplicity of the hot sauce Aioli, chicken, and butter pickles. I would also highly recommend substituting the chips for the mac and cheese.
Shine Cake – $10
Butter Cake, Soaked with Moonshine Syrup, Served with a Scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
This cake is delicious. Only served to those 18 and over due to it’s moonshine content, this cake closely resembles a rum cake in moisture and texture. The vanilla ice cream served with their desserts is also wonderfully rich and compliments this cake nicely.
Hummingbird Cake – $10
Pineapple-Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Served with a Scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Their most popular dish according to our server requires that you enjoy banana, as it is present in every bite. The cream cheese frosting was where I spend most of my time as I personally don’t care for banana much. Again, the ice cream was rich and a nice addition to the plate. It’s worth noting that both the Hummingbird cake and the Shine cake were very sharable. We could easily split the Shine cake between two or more and the Hummingbird would suffice for closer to four people.
Sweet Tea Shine – $12
Sweet tea, fresh-squeezed lemon and moonshine
Similar to an Arnold Palmer in structure, it skews a bit more toward the sweet tea in practice. Like most of the drinks here, it’s tough to taste the moonshine, but you will feel it a little bit.
Fig and Berries – $11
Fresh muddled strawberries with Dobel Diamante Reposado Tequila, fig jam, agave and lime juice
A wonderfully fruity drink, this one is both delicious and refreshing.
Blue Hooch – $12
Blue Flame moonshine, lemon-infused moonshine, blue curacao, house-made simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and a splash of Sprite. Our strongest shine on tap.
Another effective drink where you don’t have to fight the taste of moonshine. This is effectively an electric blue lemonade.
Disney Springs has something for everyone, and if you’re looking for southern comfort food, this is your place. It’s really hard to try and compare Homecoming to places like Morimoto Asia or D-Luxe Burger, but the quality of food here compares to the best of them. When we were talking to our server, he said that according to Disney guest surveys, they’ve ranked at the top of all Disney Springs restaurants since they opened in July.
I think there are two often used phrases that can apply to Homecoming; quality over quantity and save room for dessert. From service all the way through dessert, I’m happy to say that Homecoming gets it right.