OL 048: Our Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Review Will Make You Think Twice About Visiting
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen
This is Why Our Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Review Will Make You Cry
Our Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Review actually started with a request from a reader. It was a simple question, really. He wanted to know who makes Orlando's Best Milkshake.
There are a few places in town that are creating really over the top milkshakes in the style of Black Tap in New York City. I looked at our options and I honestly thought that Toothsome Chocolate Emporium had the most interesting options and was likely to be the winner.
I was half right.
Despite the many positive reviews we've seen of the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen – that's the full name – our group left more than disappointed. It was an expensive blunder of a night and a colossal waste of time. Worse, we invited friends visiting from the UK to join us. So not only did we waste our own time and money, but we put a dent in their Orlando vacation.
Let's get into the review.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium uses the Universal/CityWalk parking garages for those of you arriving by car. There is space for guest drop-off for those who have a ride, but don't need to park. Universal Resort guests have a water taxi service. Parking is free after 6:00 PM, which causes a bit of a rush for cheapskates like us.
I'm not fond of parking at Universal Studios. We experienced a problem with another visitor who had the driving skills of a 3rd world country. No need to worry about lanes or traffic control devices. He drove sideways across traffic lanes right in front of me.
If you enter from Kirkman, there is a traffic loop that goes a long way to the left, and then turns you around to drive a long way back to the parking garages.
Arriving just after 6:00, no employees controlled parking by the gates. Basically, drivers jockeyed for position in ever narrowing lanes to get into the garage.
My biggest gripe is how the parking attendants handled filling up the spaces when you get to your row to park. It's really a nit, but it's festered into a gripe.
When they start filling up a new lane, the first car has to go all the way to the end and then they start filling toward the front. Reverse order. It guarantees that the people who arrived later than you get a better parking spot than you do. It seems incredibly stupid, since people who walking away from their cars are heading into oncoming traffic.
Once you get to the area that leads to the parks, you have to go through security. Honestly, it's not bad. The line moved quickly. Everyone goes through the metal detector and all bags get scanned.
After that, you have a long walkway to get to the opening maw of CityWalk.
We thought that Toothsome Chocolate Emporium really nailed their atmosphere. The outside looks like a factory, complete with smokestacks spewing steam. Note to some guests. Stand under the wrong pipe and that steam turns to hot water and drips on you.
Inside, the SteamPunk atmosphere is everywhere. Almost everything looks like it was made from copper. There are video screens in the dining area that show various gears & cogs in motion.
Staff wear uniforms in keeping with the theme.
It's a very loud restaurant. I noticed that the sound system plays turn of the century brass band music. You'll probably hear it better in the restroom than out in public areas.
We went in the evening and the place was packed. The wait was 1 hour, 20 minutes. No place to sit, so we stood in the gift shop. So did many other people and their screaming children.
You don't have to wait on site, though. Instead of giving us a buzzer, they send a text message to notify you that it's time to come up to the stand. That's great if you have a phone with a text message plan that works in the US. Our friends from the UK didn't have that option. So if you're traveling internationally, this system may not be something that works for you if you haven't splurged on a US phone & text plan.
Once we got our notice, we moved beyond the podium and waited again. Total wait time ran from our 6:37 arrival to finally being seated at 8:05 pm.
After a long wait, we were all very hungry and ready for nice service.
Things started out pleasant enough. Some confusion as to who should serve us came up. The first server took our drink order and went away. Then another server came out and told us he was helping out because the other server was too busy and offered to take our drink order.
I let him know we placed our drink order and he went away.
After a while, the original server came back with some of our drinks. Eventually, he returned and served the rest of our party of seven.
Our plan was to just have milkshakes, but we decided to order meals. Toothsome isn't cheap, so most of us ordered a flatbread as a meal. We got those about 9:15 pm.
While serving our meals, the server said milkshake orders take at about 20 minutes. We asked for our milkshake choices. They arrived about 40 minutes later.
Overall, service was very slow. It wasn't unpleasant, but we noticed that everything ran extremely slow.
My final complaint was about the tip. Since we were a party of seven, the restaurant added an 18% gratuity automatically. Not a word about this from the server. Then the slip to sign for our credit card arrives, with the usual space for a tip.
Had we not paid attention to the bill, it would be an easy way to leave a tip on top of the included gratuity. We told our visiting friends and they appreciated they discovery, as they were about to leave a second tip.
I don't mind that the restaurant adds a gratuity on the bill for a large party. I also don't expect them to have a separate signature slip without the line for a tip. However, I think it was sleazy of the server to keep quiet about the gratuity on the bill (which was outrageously high).
This is where Toothsome Chocolate Factory fell flat on its face. While the presentation looked great, it just wasn't a good meal. My flatbread had clearly been sitting for a while. It was evident by the condition of the melted cheese. If that wasn't enough of the clue, it wasn't hot. I don't mean warm. My flatbread was room temperature. My daughter's flatbread came out the same way.
In fact, so was every meal served to everyone in our party. Room temperature.
Maybe this is a factory. They make a lot of stuff and let it sit until your server decides to pick up the pieces of your order. Sort of like an old Auto-Mat, except they would at least heat or chill your food.
I ordered the BBQ Chicken Flatbread. It had plenty of chicken, though not well distributed. The kitchen just clumped the chicken in the middle. The BBQ sauce was nice and not overpowering, but it also was only in the center. The outer pieces on each end were rather pathetic.
My daughter ordered a Four Cheese Flatbread. Plenty of cheese, but also room temperature and the cheese wasn't really distributed very well. She made do with it.
Finally, it came time for our milkshakes.
Wouldn't you know it, my milkshake was also room temperature. Not even cold to the touch. Fortunately, my wife's milkshake was cold. Our daughter also got a warm milkshake.
I tried to drink it through the straw, but I couldn't. Mine was the brownie milkshake, which comes with a brownie on top of the glass. They poke the straw right through it, which serves to clog up the straw with brownie. I pulled that sucker out and tried to find a place to put the brownie. There weren't any plates or napkins around after the main meal. To be fair, the brownie was the best thing I had there. Absolutely delicious!
Now I get to try the milkshake – the very reason we came to this restaurant! Man, it sucked. It was warm chocolate milk with tiny bits of brownie inside. Quite honestly, it tasted gritty. Warm. Gritty. Thin.
If you're looking for Orlando's best milkshake, this isn't it.
As my wife and I started discussing the condition of our milkshakes, we realized that they didn't even have all of the ingredients mentioned on the menu description. Mine should've had some chocolate syrup inside, but it was missing. My wife's Peanut Indulgence milkshake had a lot of whipped cream and one dented Reese's cups. Our daughter's Salted Dulce De Leche milkshake seemed to have all of the ingredients. It was just warm.
The presentation looked great, but the experience was an enormous letdown.
Basically, the kitchen was taking shortcuts and the server wasn't picking up orders in a timely manner. I've had better milkshakes at McDonald's Drive Thru.
We aren't cheap people, but we expect value for our money. Once again, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium really doesn't deliver.
We had three milkshakes, two flatbreads, and three non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, iced tea and Coke).
For that miserable meal, the bill came up to $91.85, gratuity included.
I've had larger meals with appetizer, drinks, full meal and dessert for my family at The Cheesecake Factory for less money. We were still a bit hungry on our way home from Toothsome.
This is a beautiful restaurant with a very long wait, poor service, lousy food quality and a very high cost. To us, it's the definition of a tourist trap. Everyone wants to be there, yet no one wants to admit that it wasn't that great.
I was angry when I left the restaurant. We invited friends on vacation here and it was just a complete waste of time and money. The only good thing is that my wife got to spend time with one of her best friends from the UK.
How I wish we'd gone to Hard Rock Cafe instead, or perhaps anywhere else. We feel terrible for inviting them to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.
In fact, I felt so bad that I posted reviews on Yelp!, TripAdvisor and Universal's web site for Toothsome Chocolate Emporium mentioning our issues with the place.
As a result, someone from Universal responded to us on Yelp! At the time, I thought this was a personal outreach. It wasn't. A day later, I had the exact same outreach for my review on TripAdvisor – word for word.
However, I bit and replied. Universal offered a guaranteed reservation and a $49 credit for a return trip. After discussing it, Lee and I agreed that we don't intend to take them up on the offer.
Our review was from the point of view of any consumer who walked into the restaurant. We reported our experience and you can decide for yourself if you want to visit.
That said, we recommend you avoid spending your valuable time and money at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen.