World Cafe at Fiesta Resort Guam - Special Values and Intriguing Tastes
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
It was the right time to go. You know how surfers intuitively know when to catch that "right" wave, just as it's building its curl to a crest, well I felt it was time to try out one of those nightly specials at the Fiesta Resort Guam's showcase dining venue, the World Cafe. Yes, it was a drizzly, chilly rainy season night and it must have been these very conditions that drew us to the comfort foods we found at the World Cafe on Tuesday night.
The moment you enter the World Cafe, you feel a "scenic rush", which comes from seeing the expanse of the beach and Tumon Bay visible from virtually all areas of the restaurant and even more so in one of two private glass-walled dining rooms that jut out almost over the pool. Once the choice of where to sit was made, we ordered drinks and perused the a la carte menu. Our waitress, Mayeth, informed us of the Tuesday night special that featured three plated entrees and included the salad bar, soup selection, and dessert bar. Zee was chilled and really had to have that soup so the decision was made to do the specials but to get that soup ASAP! The specials, by the way, were an 8 oz. NY Strip Steak ($21.95), a Crispy Seared Norwegian Salmon Fillet with Honey Pesto Sauce on Linguine ($18.95), and an Asian-influenced Rice Pilaf with Beef ($16.95). We ordered the Steak and Salmon entrees.
Before anything else could be done, Zee had her soup bowl and had started eating, murmuring approval and relief from the cold. It was a perfect remedy for getting that chill from her bones. The Chicken & Corn Soup, which I had later was as good as she said (it actually takes more to impress her than me, and she really liked it!). The other soup we sampled was the Gyoza soup. It was spicy and a little pika, but still quite good.
I was impressed by the selection of foods awaiting us in the salad bar. The presentations were simple and clean, however, there were notable embellishments to dishes like the poke that had flowers carved from radishes, and a bread basket with bread sticks woven into a pattern on a French loaf. It didn't need to be a lot of food, just enough, with items like Chicken Kelaguen, mixed greens, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, cucumber, corn, kimchi, Japanese pickles, a seaweed salad, and a few more choices.
The main entree, though, was really what we'd anticipated, and though the sample entrees on the display counter previewed the three choices, the true impact of these dishes didn't hit until they were placed down in front of us. The Salmon looked awesome, nearly smothered in that lime green pesto sauce, and the New York appeared promising under its savory brown gravy. What surprised me most was the mashed potatoes - they were genuine, down-home, mashed potatoes - the same ones that momma used to make, with lumps of real potato still in the buttery, creamy whipped blend. The Black Angus New York was right-sized for a meal with so many other elements, and cooked to my liking. A sprig of fresh rosemary protruded artistically from one side of the steak, enhancing the presentation. Perfectly steamed broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower added more points to my overall appreciation of this dish. Oh, yes, I'd have this one again!
The salmon and pasta dish was actually more compelling than the "steak & potatoes" dish since there were many more taste elements involved. The honey & pesto sauce was original and ideally suited to the salmon's rich and light taste...it was sooooo good! The linguine was blended with capers, tomato bits, black olives, and snow peas. This was a magnificent preparation, as good and even better than others I've had at restaurants with similar plate service styles. The portion size was actually too big to finish the dish there, so we had the remainder packaged to go. We did save room for desserts, and had a really good American cheesecake, some fruit, and a few pastries. Zee had a cup of hot tea (she loved the cup's bright pattern design) and I had refills on my China Mist iced tea, both are $2.50.
The World Cafe is modern with a contemporary style and a casual, yet refined ambiance, with some of the seating and spot lighting offering a sense of privacy and intimacy. The clean, polished stone counters and wooden table tops still retain that fresh brand new appearance. The a la carte menu is still being refined, however, it contains a bit of something for everyone's tastes, with such items as Miso Ramen ($8), Spicy Roasted Garlic and Shiitake Mushroom Spaghetti ($10.50), Black Angus Beef Curry with Potato & Onions ($9.50), and Seafood Linguine with Nori and Tobiko ($12.50). Sandwiches like the Fiesta Hamburger Special can be ordered either American or Japanese style ($9.50), whereas the Fiesta Sunrise Club Sandwich is only $7.50. There are also some Fiesta Specials, such as the House Special Meatloaf Platter with Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables and Mushroom Gravy ($14.95) and the Jumbo Stuffed Pork Chop, with Mashed Potatoes, Sauerkraut and Apple Sauce ($15.95). Much of the credit for this menu innovation and fine-tuning to local tastes is owed to the Fiesta Resort's culinary team lead by Executive Chef James Birk. The dinner service is tended to by Chef de Partie, Mike Fergurgur, along with other cooks.
The World Cafe's lunch buffets are $13.95 +10% s.c.(this s.c. applies to dinner as well). I had the opportunity to do lunch the following day and was surprised to see an appetizing Roast Beef carving and a chafing dish filled with foil-wrapped, pre-cut and stuffed Baked Potatoes. The salad bar was just about the same, but there were a few more fresh-baked desserts on display, along with a halo halo station. Other hot entree items in the chafers were teriyaki chicken, sesame short-ribs in gravy, baked salmon, and a seafood medley with calamari, mussels, and shrimp. There were two soups here for lunch, but I only had one which was like a kadu katne (beef soup) in a coconut broth...they used short ribs and the meat just fell off the bone. These soups and other components of this buffet were under the guidance of Chef de Partie James Lee. These young chefs are up and coming and really like to show their stuff.
The World Cafe offers a breakfast and lunch buffet, with an a la carte dinner menu selection. They are still working to adjust and perfect things, however, I can honestly say that the meal we had was filling, tasty, and value-priced, and that service provided by our server, Mayeth, was excellent. For reservations, call 646-5880, ext 1810.