Archive for the Allure of the Seas Category

GIOVANNI’S TABLE – on board the ALLURE OF THE SEAS

Posted in Wine Dinners, Allure of the Seas, Giovanni's Table (on board Allure of the Seas) with tags , on April 29, 2011 by ballymote

The eight cruisers had chosen Giovanni’s Table, the Italian Eatery in Central Park, for our final dinner of the voyage. We had thoroughly enjoyed our first dinner at Chops Grille and had been slightly disappointed in the majority of our evening meals in the Main Dining Room and thus we were looking forward to a great experience to conclude this wonderful week onboard the world’s largest cruise ship.

Our very capable server this evening was Arguejus, from Chile. Despite being from South America he had acquired a very passable Italian accent and he suggested several different items to be brought to the table and served family style.

 We had some nice freshly baked bread with some oil and cheese for dipping and we looked over the wine list carefully before choosing a couple of bottles that went with most of our entrees.

We selected the 2008 Peter Lehmann, Shiraz “The Weight Ticket”. Lots of dark jammy flavors with hints of pepper and spices this Australian wine was priced right and served as an excellent partner for the rich dished to come.

 This item turned out to be the favorite of most of our dining partners. It’s even fun to say. This was the Sformato di Fontina e Spinaci con Funghi Tripolati e Pomodorini (double-baked fontina and spinach souffle, Italian-style sauteed mushrooms and grape tomatoes. We had to have Arguejus bring more of this to keep everyone happy.

We also shared some Capresse and Antipaste with fresh meats, cheeses and roasted red peppers and a plate of Foccaccia with herbs, potatoes, olives and pesto. We feasted on these dishes for a while before it was time for the pasta portion of our feast.

 It was hard to pick a favorite from the trio of pasta dishes placed before us. This was the Ravioli di Polpa di Granchio, Maryland crab ravioli with shrimp, chili oil and grape tomato sauce. Nicely presented and tasting just as good as it looked.

This was the Gnocchi di Potate con Crema al Gorgonzola a Sugo d’Agnello, potato gnocchi tossed in light blue cheese sauce on thyme-scented baby lamb and root vegetable sauce. We passed this around and watched the entire plate disappear in a heartbeat. We barely had room for what turned out to be our absolute runaway favorite of the pasta dishes….

 The Risotto Pomodoro, Basilino Mozzarella 3 Verdure Griglianti, tomato, basil and mozzarella risotto topped with grilled veggies and herb oil. Unlike the risotto we had in the Main Dining Room on the previous evening, this one was cooked to perfection. It was chock full of wonderful, cheesy flavors and we had to force ourselves to pause in our eating because we had forgotten that our entrees were still to come.

 I had the chicken breast filled with ricotta and mushrooms, wrapped in prosciutto and served with a Chardonnay-sage sauce. The chicken was wonderful and I was pleased with my entree.

Several at the table opted for the beef. In this case, an 8 ounce beef tenderloin served with garlic fries in a Barolo reduction sauce. These are the nice, meaty fries that I don’t see often enough. Everyone was happy with this choice.

 This was probably the best looking of all the plates on our table. The veal ossobuco au jus with tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese polenta and sauteed green beans. I was told it tasted every bit as good as it looked.

We had one fish lover in the group and she selected as her entree the baked filet of Sea Bass atop baby lentils in a red wine reduction and artichoke cream. The fish was tender and flaky and the lentils added just the right texture to make this creation a winner.

We were very nearly stuffed but it seemed sinful to pass on the array of desserts that were presented to the table.

 We gorged ourselves on canollis and some excellent tiramisu and were proud that we were able to leave Giovanni’s Table under our own power. You certainly are never going to find this much food and this much food quality for the ridiculous $10.00 service charge which we gladly paid. It almost doesn’t make sense to hope for something decent in the main dining room when this kind of feast is offered in such close proximity. Giovanni’s is a winner!

CHOPS GRILLE – on board the ALLURE OF THE SEAS

Posted in BYOB Restaurant Reviews, Chops Grille (on board Allure of the Seas) with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by ballymote

 On our first night on board we passed on the Main Dining Room in order to try one of their specialty restaurants, Chops Grille. Located on Deck 8 in the Central Park area of the ship it’s an impressive venue much like you would expect at a land-based steak house. Our party of six were one of the first to be seated and presented menus and the wine list. Wine selections are slightly limited but there is enough to choose from and prices are about equal to what you would expect to pay in any decent restaurant offering wine (slightly more than 2x retail).

 Kathy and I shared a bottle of the 2008 Craggy Range, Te Kahu, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. This was a tasty blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec and would stand up well with the filets that most of us were eyeing on the menu.

I began the meal with the Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Cake with a Remoulade sauce.

 Joe had the Beefsteak tomatoes with Purple Onions sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles. His was a nice presentation of fresh looking tomatoes and mine was a good choice as the sauce for the crab cake was perfect.

A few of us also ordered the Cheese and Onion Soup. One nice thing about these specialty restaurants is that they will bring you virtually anything and everything from the menu if you so request, It’s not like restaurants where you are limited to one appetizer or else you pay for additional items. The soup was very good. Some in our group raved about it but I felt I had tasted better onion soups in the past.

 Some of our group went with the Chops Grille House Salad and others sampled the Shrimp Cocktail. All of us were pleased with our choices and looking forward to the star of the evening, the 10 ounce filet mignon. The steaks came with your choice of four sauces, Classic Bernaise, Chimichurri, Green Peppercorn and Cabernet reduction. Most of us tried two of the four. All of them were good. We had ordered sides for the table which included sauteed broccollini, roasted potatoes with prosciutta and parmesan (yummy) and fried onion rings. The steak was wonderful. Tender and prepared just as each had ordered. Barb was the lone holdout.

She described her Alaskan Halibut as, tender, flaky and delicious.

 Our server, Richard, was from South Africa and he preformed admirably all evening. He even explained why he would not be telling the guys at the next table that shorts and flip-flops were not permitted in the restaurant. The best thing Richard did all night was telling us how good the Chocolate Mud Pie on the dessert menu was.

I wish I had been hungrier because I didn’t eat nearly enough of this delicious treat. I found myself several times during the course of our week on the Allure wishing that I had this dessert back. Everyone agreed it may have been the single best dish we ate all week.

Dinner at Chops was a great way to begin our week of fun and food and I would highly recommend making reservations here prior to your cruise.

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