After several interruptions, including a last minute decision to run our Juke Box Diner review first, the opening of Outpost Cafe (review coming soon), and the start of Grand Carnivale, Zachary and I are finally back to share our thoughts from our April visit to Kings Dominion’s new French fry stand, Excavator’s Taters.
These fantastic “taters” are nothing like the fried potatoes you will find as side items at other restaurants in the park. They are thick-cut steak fries in their skins, served in generous portion sizes making them either a great snack or a filling side. Especially now that Excavator’s Taters has been added to the dining plan, this eatery seems like an excellent option to us.
Before diving into individual reviews, we have some general comments. We thought all of the meats were good and the vegetables fresh. The cheese seemed to be the most consistently weak aspect of any of the dishes and we were puzzled by the lack of sour cream across the board. We were also surprised at the lack of a vegetarian option, beyond the plain fries. Especially given how fresh the vegetables have been at all of the new restaurants, it seems like a missed opportunity.
More specific comments are probably more useful, however; so here are thoughts on each dish:
Since they are the basis for all of the menu options, it makes sense to start with the plain fries. As I already mentioned, they are thick-cut and cooked in their skins. We found them flavorful and not too salty.
Kings Dominion is using good bacon and topped the fries with plenty of cheese. Once again, the scallions were fresh and flavorful. For us the only thing missing from this classic combination was sour cream.
This option tasted bland and generic. We wished for more onion, sauce, and cheese. We also thought sour cream would have added some much-needed contrast.
This topping had a ton of spice, with heat that intensified as we ate. Both the pork and bacon had strong flavors and worked well with the sauce. We thought the scallions added some nice color and complemented the barbeque-y sauce and meat.
The chunks of beef really stood out in the stew-like sauce and were the strongest aspect of this traditional preparation. We would have liked more intense flavors, especially from the cheese curds, however. We were also a bit turned off by the presentation.
When we were done sampling everything at Excavator’s Taters, we decided to rank all of the dishes. Both of us thought the first three dishes in the rank-ordered list below were significantly stronger than the last two. That said, we think all of the preparations are great menu options at least conceptually. With slightly different ingredients our preferences could change, but for now here is our list from our most to our least favorite:
Overall, it is difficult to go wrong at this new eatery, and we are excited to see it added to the Meal Plan. Obviously, we had some favorites, however. The Loaded Pork Taters were especially tasty, with a flavorful variety of fresh ingredients that came together to create the perfect topping to the park’s excellent fries. But, please, Kings Dominion, give us some cool sour cream!
As Chef Denis Callinan continues to overhaul all of Kings Dominion’s eateries, it becomes increasingly clear that the park is becoming a place to find interesting and tasty food. We are very excited to try all of the other new dishes and will share our thoughts on those, as well. Check back here for our upcoming review of Outpost Café, the new quick service restaurant in Jungle-X. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and join the conversation on the ParkFans Forum.