Its location on Walt Disney World’s Boardwalk resort puts it slightly off the radar for many Orlando locals, but Kouzzina by Cat Cora, the Food Network’s first female Iron Chef, reigns supreme under the house of Mouse. Kouzzina by Cat Cora is the Greek American chef’s first table side restaurant, featuring a diverse menu of Greek and Mediterranean specialties inspired by recipes from her childhood and heritage. The atmosphere is loud and family friendly and the restaurant itself is accented with shades of woods, creating a rustic, homey environment surrounding a large open kitchen area. When Chef Cat Cora is away, this Kouzzina (which means kitchen in Greek) is led by the fabulous and fun Chef Dee Foundoukis and her team, bringing together flavorful dishes made on the restaurant’s wood-burning grill and oak-fired ovens. The dishes range from oak-grilled steak and lamb, Greek spinach pie, to calamari, and more.
For a more quiet, intimate, and sophisticated experience, reserve and head on over to the restaurant’s private “CoraNation Room” on Friday and Saturday Nights. Here, up to 24 guests are treated to a specially created, seasonal five course menu meal for $65, with wine paired with three of the courses (appetizer, entrée and dessert) for an additional $35. This experience is available at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and reservations must be made at least 72 hours in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE.
I was recently invited to a media dinner featuring a sample menu for the “CoraNation” dinner. From the amuse bouche featuring poached lobster to the leeks with glazed duck, everything tasted very good, delicate and refined. There were fennel dusted goat cheese salads, made with lettuce grown on Disney property at one of the EPCOT farms, as well as a chilled watermelon drink. The main entrees included oak grilled and peppered lavender lamb loin served with clamshell mushrooms in a smoked tomato lamb jus as well as pan roasted red grouper with kalamata olive oil hollandaise, summer squash, and kasseri corn cake. The meal ended with a sweet note, or rather, three: crispy phyllo filled with fig honey and farmer’s cheese, phoenika with chocolate tahini, Greek yogurt panna cotta with za’atar spiced grapefruit. Each dish came with a wines, many from Greek and some from Chef Cora’s private label, as well as sides of various luscious Greek olive oils.
For a preview of what you may find at this experience, see the photos below from the media event at Kouzzina featuring this “CoraNation” experience:
Sample menu for the CoraNation room – RSVP ahead
Glazed duck and lobster amuse bouche items
Fennel, goat cheese, baby beets salad
Cat Cora’s private label Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olives and olive oil from Greece
The entree of pan seared grouper and lamb loin
Pan seared grouper with kasseri corn cake
Oak grilled Lamb loin with mushrooms and au jus
Greek yogurt panna cotta with za’atar spiced grapefruit.
phoenika with chocolate tahini