For those of you who have been on a cruise you know that dining onboard is an experience in itself. With several restaurants and cafes located throughout most ships, food is available in some fashion around the clock, offering different themes and specialties. If you’ve never been on a cruise before it might be tough to get a sense of what the culinary experience is all about. Last week, Celebrity Cruises aimed to solve this dilemma by creating the ultimate pop-up restaurant to provide a taste of innovative and sophisticated dining without boarding a ship.
Using The Kitchen NYC as a spacious backdrop to set up shop, Celebrity Cruises offered a savvy approach to bringing its culinary versatility to land with “A Taste of Modern Luxury,” a unique pop-up showcasing some of the cruise line’s signature dishes as well as a few New York-inspired specialties. Recognizing extraordinary cuisine to be a critical part of Celebrity Cruises’ vacation experience, the pop-up offered diners the opportunity to sample a palatable menu intertwining earth and sea.
Upon arriving at the pop-up, diners were invited to sample Celebrity’s Master Mixologist Junior Merino’s (aka The Liquid Chef) delicious cocktails taken straight from his Molecular Bar concept that’s featured onboard Celebrity's Solstice Class ships. Keeping with Junior’s philosophy of drinking “with all of your senses,” diners enjoyed the Big Apple—an ode to New York City—featuring roasted apple mixed with cinnamon, Xtabentún, Hudson Valley Whiskey, lemon, and Junior’s own spiced apple bitters and Coming up Roses—Junior’s signature cocktail—featuring Bacardi Razz, Dainzu Rose Essence, champagne, lime, rose petals, and raspberry rose foam.
To give visitors a taste of dining on the high seas, tables were set with waves of white fabric all softly lit with blue hues to provide the perfect escape from the New York City Winter. While perusing the menu, diners were able to enjoy a glass of wine from a nice selection featuring 2010 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir and 2010 Álvaro Palacios Les Terrasses Priorat.
The three-course meal offered something for everyone. Starters included hamachi crudo—Osetra caviar, shiso cauliflower, and lemongrass—and Jerusalem artichoke velouté—Ibérico ham, black trumpet mushrooms, sourdough croutons, and mascarpone. The winning appetizer was the hand made ricotta cavatelli served with a wild mushroom fricassée, mache, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and shaved black truffles. This dish had a lot of texture and really brought out the ricotta without being overpowering.
For the main course, diners were able to play it safe with the seared halibut, served with salsify, beef oxtail marmalade, and Brussel sprouts all in a Parmesan emulsion, or the pork and “beans,” featuring pork tenderloin and cheek, tarbais beans, collard greens, and heirloom carrots complemented by cider jus. For the adventurers, the menu featured the five spice crusted Cervena venison loin—a specialty featured at Celebrity’s Murano restaurant—served with celery root fondant, wilted spinach, red cabbage marmalade, and lingonberry sauce. Although venison is known to be quite gamey, this interpretation proved to be quite subtle yet flavorful. This was the favorite.
To conclude the delightful meal, Celebrity Cruises offered two enticing desserts: Valrhona cocoa cake—a rich chocolate mousse blend with a peanut butter crème bruleé served with salted caramel ice cream—and warm pineapple tart tatin served with a light coconut ice cream, lime confit, and bits of passion fruit. To pay homage to New York City, the third dessert option was the strawberry fields and custard—literally a green patch of white and milk chocolate covered strawberries complemented by your choice of coffee, vanilla, or strawberry custard as featured at Celebrity Cruises’ Qsine restaurant.
For a few days, New Yorkers were able to sample a taste of what Celebrity Cruises’ approach to food is all about. With nearly 100 restaurants and 150 bars and lounges across 11 ships, Celebrity Cruises offers cruise-goers a globally influenced and sophisticated dining experience that will leave a lasting impression well after the ship has docked.
For more information on cruises visit: www.celebritycruises.com/dining