Our last full day on the boat. Never a day I look forward to. This is the day you have to pack and put debark luggage tags on your bags, set them out in the hall, and hope you remembered to save at least one outfit to wear in the morning (don’t laugh…I’ve worn jammies on the ride home for just this reason!!).
However, there is one thing on our schedule tonight to look forward to, Chef’s Table. This is a seven course (don’t worry, they’re small) tasting menu paired with 6 wines and a dessert cocktail. If you know me at all you know this is right up my alley! In fact, I reserve this dinner every cruise even though the menu hasn’t changes since my first one back in 2012. But for this one, not just the menu had changed.
My first Chef’s Table experience was also on the Freedom way back in 2012. Mom and I decided to try it. It was held at a long table up in the WindJammer, the buffet restaurant. They have since moved it to the Main Dining Room…in a pretty cool spot!
Yep, that round table right in the middle, with the spiral staircases on either side. (Pro Tip: Those staircases are tricky after 6 wines and a dessert cocktail…be safe!) The setting is gorgeous and you feel like a superstar eating up there.
Another change is the menu. It had long been rumored that the menu was going to change and when I sailed last summer on the Rhapsody, the Maître D’ confirmed that there would be a change, but not when so I did not know going in if we would be having the old menu (which I love) or the new menu (which at this point, I hadn’t even seen). As it turned out, we had the new menu:
And some fancy new place settings:
That’s two napkins folded to look like a tuxedo! Snazzy, right??
The first thing I noticed about the menu was the choice of entrée. On the old menu, there was only one choice…short rib. If you did not eat meat, the chef would make something for you on the fly (I am sure it was good but just to be clear, I eat meat, and I love short rib) but this was the first time I had seen an actual choice between beef, fish and vegetarian. After the soup course (I think, maybe salad) the waiter came around and asked for your choice.
But first up? Scallop Carpaccio:
Basically just thinly sliced scallops with the dressing, a yuzu vinaigrette.
After that, the soup course. This is first served with the bowl empty so that you can see the ingredients and then the server pours the soup into each bowl at the table.
Part of the fun of the Chef’s Table is the unique and interactive presentation. At the start of each course the chef says a few words about what goes into making each dish and why it is served the way it is. Then the Sommelier talks about what goes into the wine pairings for each course. The wine is the one thing that always changes, while the chef must stick to the approved menu, the Sommelier has some freedom to choose the wines based on what he has on hand at the time. The wines for this Chef’s Table overall I would describe as adequate. No show stoppers, but nothing too terrible either.
Moving on to the salad course:
Now everyone loves lobster, and I am no different, but this was probably my least favorite course. While the lobster itself was fine, the pineapple/vanilla dressing was a bit sweet for me. YMMV
Now onto the entrèes. Twelve people can sit at that table for dinner, and at our meal there were eleven Filets and one Tagliatelle. No one ordered the fish…ergo I have no pictures of the fish (you better believe I would have taken a picture of someone else’s food if there had been that option!). But I do have pictures of the filet:
and the Truffle Tagliatelle:
As both dishes were ordered by people in my party, I was able to try both…and both were amazing!
If you have not yet had enough food, never fear! The absolute richest dish is yet to come. That’s right! Dessert!
Valrhona Chocolate mousse with dulce de leche gelato and salted caramel cookie crumbles. Believe me when I tell you that it actually pained me to leave this, but since I still had to fit in an airplane seat I had to content myself with just tasting each component.
In addition, coffee is offered, the Executive Chef, Maître D’, Sommelier and servers all come out to thank you and say goodbye and then we all precariously walked down the spiral staircase and out of the dining room.
I really enjoyed the new menu. And I REALLY love the new location. I will continue to reserve Chef’s Table on my Royal Caribbean cruises…even if they don’t change the menu for another six years!