Tahlequah Daily Press

Checking It Out

October 23, 2008

Five-star dining: A once-in-a-lifetime treat

(Continued)

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS —

AAA – of which my family is a member, and which I recommend to anyone who travels – has a different scale. There are maybe two five-star places in Oklahoma on that list, and a few four-stars as well. But on either scale, these restaurants are hard to find, and they always come with a breathtaking price tag.

Despite the unavailability of such top-drawer restaurants in the area, and despite the cost of dining at one should it be available, there are a surprising number of “foodies” in Cherokee County who would relish the opportunity to dine like royalty. At least once. And preferably on someone else’s dime.

With the holiday season looming, several area residents are scouting out warmer climes for a brief vacation respite. If higher temperatures are a priority and cost is a factor, your best bets will be the Orlando area in Florida or Southern California. And if you’re really audacious and have saved back some extra cash, you might want to try a new dining adventure.

My husband and I dined this year at our first Mobile four-star restaurant, one of only 11 in Florida. It’s actually listed as Central Florida’s only five-star restaurant with AAA. This is not a privilege we could normally afford, but thanks to a special “gift,” we were able to indulge in this exceptional treat.

The restaurant is Victoria and Albert’s, and it’s at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World. We’ve never stayed at the Floridian – it’s the priciest of the Disney World lot – but we’ve strolled through it and eaten at another restaurant there, Narcoossee’s, which was also very good.

V&A;, as it’s affectionately called by Disney cast members, features a “fixed price” menu that changes daily, depending on the available freshest ingredients and the whims of the chef. Sit down and take a deep breath before you read on. The minimum cost is $125 per person for the six-course meal. Accompanying wine courses are another $60 per person (but if you enjoy wine at all, you’ll want the whole package, and I’ll explain why momentarily). For each course, you’ll be able to choose among three or four offerings, and some of these cost extra (like the “Kobe” beef entree, $35, or the golden Osetra caviar appetizer, a staggering $150 for a half-ounce!).

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