It’s been a few years but we finally made it back to Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort to see the allergy master Chef TJ at work. This restaurant is actually a seafood buffet, which makes it ironic as vegans to want to go here. But if you go and are fortunate enough to be there when Chef TJ is working you are in for a treat!
But first let’s look at what is offered on the buffet here that is vegan as is. Chef TJ gave us a tour to see what was vegan during our visit and honestly there was more than I expected there to be. The buffet featured a pesto style pasta dish, a buffet version of the tofu Chef TJ has always made (specifically when he was at Trails End), various cooked vegetables, fruit, salad, and plain noodles.
So while not an amazing amount, definitely more than one would expect at a seafood buffet. I did vocalize to Chef TJ that they should really label the options on the buffet with the plant-based logo, so hopefully they eventually add those on to make it even easier for guests.
Now let’s get into the fun part of this meal, the full on Chef TJ treatment. Chef TJ does special options for guests with various dietary needs, this wasn’t just for us, this is for vegans in general. But he is also the go to guy for any allergy options. So even if you’re not vegan and just gluten free or dairy free or whatever free he will accommodate your needs.
Our first option brought to us was a Bread Service. This featured some of the most delicious focaccia I have ever had with some plain hummus, a pesto-y artichoke bowl, and black beans.
The focaccia was garlicky and also had some oil brushed on it. It went really well with all of the options for topping/dipping. It had some nice salt on it as well, I was happy to eat it plain.
The hummus was incredibly creamy and offered a really nice flavor with the bread. The beans were by far my favorite part as they were incredibly well seasoned with some nice citrusy-tang to it and I would have eaten the whole bowl of them if I didn’t know what I was in for. The artichokes had the vegan pesto sauce on them that was on the pasta on the buffet, it also had watermelon mixed in. The artichokes and beans were both cold as well.
Next up we were given some Elote Style Corn. Out of all of our dishes this was my favorite. Not only because I love corn (you can take the girl out of Ohio but can’t take the Ohio out of the girl), but because the flavors on this were so good. It was a perfect mix of smokey and sweet. There was a miso and lemon drizzle on it and they were cut into perfect little bite size pieces. There was a slight heat to it but more in a flavorful way and less of a sweating way.
After the corn was some Sausage and Mushroom filled “Samosas” in Curry. The curry itself was pretty intense, but in the best way possible. It offered a nice sweetness but also had the earthy flavor that curries provide. It was mostly a thick soup consistency.
The little samosa itself was kind of a cross between a wonton and a samosa, the filling was pretty minimal but the flavors were very good. It was mostly a sausage blend with no real mushroom flavor. The wonton-style wrapper was a really good crunch with the curry. This is a pretty iconic Chef TJ item as he loves to be creative with flavors and blend things you wouldn’t expect.
Next up was our main entree which was Mongolian Meatballs with Spicy Potatoes and Crispy Broccoli. The meatballs were made from Beyond Meat, it definitely seemed like he took some burgers and reshaped them. They had a nice sweet sauce coating them and they were really enjoyable. I do wish it was Impossible though so it wasn’t as much of that overwhelming Beyond flavor.
The potatoes weren’t spicy at all, they were more of the consistency of a smashed potato and were also enjoyable. My least favorite part on this dish was the broccoli, but that wasn’t due to flavor but more to cooking style. They definitely appeared to be air fried which can easily turn them into crispy delicacies but when over cooked they dissolve in your mouth, which is not enjoyable.
Last was the most important part of the meal, dessert! Just because he’s at a new restaurant doesn’t mean the dessert tower is gone, it’s just now modified. The current version features the plant-based dessert off the buffet here which is a vegan Tiramisu. He then added it to the tower with vegan ice cream, fruit, and of course a signature chocolate sauce drizzle. The Tiramisu was a decadent dessert with so many layers and a soft texture. I would happily eat that on it’s own and not on the tower!
As always, Chef TJ delivered and let us roll out of the restaurant. Our meal here took almost 2 hours, but it was absolutely worth it! Chef TJ works 5 nights week, I recommend shooting for later in the week and a later dining time to get the full treatment. Just be sure to note your special diet when you check in and again when you meet your server. Then ask if Chef TJ is in, if he isn’t a chef should be able to walk you around the buffet to point out what is vegan.
If you’re interested in what breakfast looks like here, find our review here.
Review from May 2022.
Any idea what Chef TJ’s schedule is this summer, 2023?