In my world, if someone else is going to do all of the cooking and all of the cleaning, I am pretty much in heaven. So for us, the MDR has always been just fine. Oh sure we have eaten at the specialty restaurants, we LOVE the Chef’s Table experience, but we are usually just as happy to eat every night in the Main Dining Room. We have (mostly) always had excellent service and by this point we all have our favorite dishes on each menu (let’s not talk about the great escargot shortage of 2015).
But for this trip, I purchased the Ultimate Dining Package. This allows us dinner in a specialty restaurant every night of the cruise, plus Lunch at Jamie’s on boarding day (I learned this too late for me, but still a good option for next time). It does not include the Hibachi experience at Izumi’s, however they will give you a discount if you want to eat there one night.
We had originally planned to do Jamie’s Italian the first night, Chops Grille the second night and then repeat whichever we liked best on the third night. However, when we got on board and talked to the dining people, we decided to take the discount for Izumi’s Hibachi on the first night, eat at Jamie’s on the second night and finish at Chops on the third night.
Up first: Izumi’s
Since we were only two, we were seated with another group…fortunately they were really awesome and celebrating a birthday! The meal begins with Salted Edamame Beans and a green salad, pretty typical of many hibachi restaurants.
Our waiter described the process of hibachi in case anyone was unfamiliar. Next you choose you protein, I chose the steak and shrimp. I love hibachi shrimp so I am always going to choose this. As it turns out, we had someone allergic to shellfish so it was interesting to see how they handled it. Suffice to say, if you have an allergy, just let them know and they will make sure you are safe.
Then…the show begins!
Our chef was from the Philippines and I thought he was great. We LOVE hibachi so we eat at our local restaurant at least once or twice a month so we have seen great chefs, really good chefs, and just okay chefs. I would certainly place him in the really good category. The food was pretty standard hibachi, our meat was cooked well and my shrimp did not get overcooked. My only TEENY, TINY complaint was that the only choice was rice and I usually don’t get rice, I get lo mein, that was not an option. But overall the dinner was really good, onion volcano and all!
I also have a full 30 minute video of our chef preparing everyone’s meals, but goodness that is too much for a review! Also, a note on meal timing. The first picture of our waiter at the beginning of the meal was taken at 7:09pm, the dessert pictured below was taken at 8:52pm so count on a full two hours for this dinner.
Then, if you’re not already full…dessert! We were actually pretty full so just ordered one of each to see them.
Sorry about the half eaten one…I didn’t get my picture fast enough! And don’t forget…Is’s someone’s birthday! They brought out cake!
I am fairly certain that I rolled out of this dinner…I was that full!
Final thoughts on Izumi: I think it is a great addition and it will continue to be a big draw. It has the potential to be a “one and done” restaurant because of the limited menu, but I for one already have reservations for my next Mariner cruise in January. Now if I could only convince them on the noodles!!
Next Up: Jamie’s Italian