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Carnival Magic Prime Steakhouse is prime dining experience

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ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC - Why pay $35 extra to dine in Prime Steakhouse when the food in the other Carnival Magic dining rooms is so great? Because it is worth it.

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I made a reservation my first full cruising day and ate in Prime Steakhouse that night. I had heard about its excellent reputation and how the 69-seat steakhouse books up quickly. So I wanted to be sure I ate there on this cruise.

Although the Northern Lights Dining Room and the Southern Lights Dining Room both offer a pleasing décor and tasty cuisine, Prime Steakhouse is a cut above. It is quieter, of course, and more elegant. A Prime meal is an experience. Plan to spend several hours there in the plush seats.

For starters, I was served a creamy mushroom cappuccino that I didn’t order. “Compliments of the chef,” my server said, placing the lovely tureen in front of me.

The chef also gave me the recipe and I am sharing it below. He said it isn’t difficult to make and I am certainly going to try once I get home.

Located on Deck 5 aft, Prime Steakhouse has an “Old World” feel to it. I could almost imagine that I was in some small European restaurant somewhere. But it also has shipboard accents like the big round windows that look like portholes. Candles and soft red lights make it very appealing and relaxing. An open kitchen lets diners see the chefs at work.

The food and presentation are excellent. . A bread basket was served with a small tray of butter, olive mix and tomato/olive oil topping. I tried all three and couldn’t pick a favorite.

I also had a small Caesar salad and a bowl of lobster bisque. You could see the big chunks of lobster in the bowl before the server poured the soup over it. Really enough for a meal (remember I didn’t know I would be served that scrumptious mushroom cappuccino).

I’ll never forget sitting next to a diner on one of my first cruises and he got the strangest look on his face when the server brought his clam chowder. The big bowl had some clam bits in it and the diner thought that was it. He didn’t know whether to complain or laugh. Then the server poured the chowder over the clams and I could hear the diner breathe a big sign of relief.

Prime Steakhouse is known for its USDA prime aged porterhouse (a whopping 24 ounces), New York strip, filet mignon and prime rib. But the restaurant also serves lamb chops, veal chops, chicken, seafood, pasta and lobster.

I had a bit of both surf and turf with a lobster and filet mignon combo and a baked potato. Baked potatoes can be hit or miss in many restaurants. Many of the potatoes are overcooked and mushy or they seem too crusty and prebaked. The Prime potato was just right and the little tray of toppings was wonderful – butter, sour cream, bacon pieces and chives.

I had already been warned to save room for dessert. And I had already been told what to order – the Chocolate Sampler. The selection of four mini-chocolate desserts was exquisite and I enjoyed them all. Would definitely recommend it.

On my Prime dining night, I saw mostly couples but also saw a family with two young teens, a group of girlfriends traveling together and a single woman at a window table by herself. That is one thing I really appreciate on this Carnival Magic cruise. As a solo traveler myself, I am always given a table for one because I request it. In the main dining room, I am given a table for one by the window. How many restaurants would give up prime seating like that for one person?

My delightful dinner in Prime Steakhouse ended just in time for me to catch the evening’s show in the Showtime Theatre. All in all, a very memorable day on the Carnival Magic.

Prime Steakhouse Mushroom Cappuccino

1 lb. chopped assorted mushrooms
5 tablespoons onion
1 chopped garlic clove
2 ounces clarified butter
2 pints chicken stock/vegetable stock
1 pint cream
Few drops truffle oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Eight sprigs thyme

Sauté onions and garlic in butter. Add assorted mushrooms. When mushrooms are cooked, blend in blender and sieve through a chinois. Return the puree to the pan, add cream and few drops of truffle oil, stir until desired consistency. Serve hot. Serves four.

For more information: Check out the Carnival website at www.carnival.com

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