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Palette pleaser

True to form, in the Artist Point restaurant, Disney does it up big – from the size of the room, to the size of your plate, to the size of your food portion, to the size of your bill, which, in this instance, is justified.

And they do it beautifully.

Located in the jaw-dropping magnitude of the Wilderness Lodge, in the Magic Kingdom resort area, the restaurant follows the Northwest theme both in decor and menu. Half-a-dozen starters from the woods, rivers and fields offer exotics such as the sautéed elk sausage that's served with braised potatoes, onions and mushrooms ($5), or shrimp and chicken saté marinated and grilled on a rosemary skewer and served with sea grass and dipping sauce ($8.25).

The Northwest salmon sampler ($9) featured smoked pepperlachs and cured gravlachs (both are cuts of salmon) and pan-seared salmon presented with a relish side of onion, sweet peppers and capers – a generous and successful combination. However, smoky pepperlachs and pork nearly overpowered the pot-au-feu, a hearty soup combining lentils, potatoes, pork and elk sausage in a saffron broth ($4). The Oregon sampler of marinated wild berries, pickled asparagus, bleu cheese and duck confit ($7.25) delivered enough vinegar to lock even my vinegar-loving jaw, and the fowl was typically greasy. But the creamed onion soup ($3.50) was light, perfectly seasoned and garnished with chive strips and freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Five seafood entrees ranged from a rainbow trout pan roasted with pancetta with a lentil and red pepper side ($15) to a line-caught wild king salmon from Alaska ($19.50). The latter was marinated in whiskey and oven-roasted with julienned winter squash and couscous enhanced with plump raisins and pine nuts. The huge salmon steak was perfect – flaky but moist with delicate seasoning.

From a meat list that included espresso bean barbecued chicken ($15.25); a 16-ounce porterhouse ($21) and a lamb-pheasant dish ($19.50), my companion chose a smoked prime rib ($17.50) that was generously marbled and served with red potatoes he deemed delicious. All entrees are served with a delicious tri-lettuce salad, nicely chilled and tossed with just a whisper of raspberry vinaigrette. There's also a freshly baked hazelnut bread loaf and sunflower seed rolls.

This is a thoughtful menu, innovative and prepared with care – an amazing feat when you consider that this place can accommodate 206 people (and often does). And our service was as spectacular as the setting – although next time, we plan to take our coffee outside, by the magnificent lobby fireplace.

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