Mariner of the Seas…Amplified! The Dining Part – Chops Grille

Our last night on board we had reservations for Chops Grille, the steakhouse offering.  We have eaten at Chops at least once on every cruise since 2012.  And if I am being completely honest, its hit or miss.  When it’s good, it’s REALLY good.  But its not always good.  So how was the Mariner?  Let’s See!!

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Since we have been here multiple times and the menu hasn’t changed recently, we ordered our favorites…

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Grilled Black Pepper Bacon.  If you like bacon, this is always good.

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Forest Mushroom Soup.  I generally go back and forth between this one and the Three Cheese Roasted Onion Soup.  Both are really good.

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Crispy Goat Cheese Salad.  We love this one!!

Next up…Entrees.  So no big surprise here…we both got steak.  I mean, its a steakhouse for heaven’s sake!  Plus, the real reason to eat at Chops is the sauces!!!  You can choose from Bearnaise, au Poivre and Bordelaise and they are all pretty fantastic…but for me, there is only one…

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A medium rare Filet drowned in Bearnaise!!!  It’s almost embarrassing how much sauce I ask for, but those awesome waiters at Chops just keep it coming!  Not everyone is quite as gluttonous with their sauces…

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But I guess if you are getting a 20 oz. Porterhouse, you really don’t need the extra sauce to be a glutton!!  But hey…we are on vacation, we certainly can’t eat like this every day!!

The sides are served family style and honestly, I usually don’t eat any because I am so full but I do still have some favorites.

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So the fries are really just there in case there is some Bearnaise left after my steak.  I can’t let that go to waste!  The Gruyere Tater Tots are super yummy though!  Some other favorites are the creamed spinach, the roasted mushrooms and the salt jacket baked potato, if your in the mood!

By the time dessert rolls around I am so full I can barely move.  I am not a big dessert fan anyway, so it is super easy for me to skip this all together.  I do, however have a Haute & Steamy…caffeine!  That’s what I need!

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It is a super yummy layered coffee drink, with vanilla vodka.

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And some ice cream and berries…You know ice cream doesn’t fill you up…it just fills in all the cracks and crevices in your stomach.  At least that is what my BIL tells me!

So after a thoroughly satisfying meal at Chop’s, it was time to pack our stuff for disembarking in the morning.  Always the saddest day of the cruise!

As I said in the beginning, Chop’s Grille can be hit or miss depending on the ship.  On the Mariner of the Seas, it was certainly a hit.  I may not have raved about it like I did the other two dinners…that’s what comes with a comfortable familiarity I guess.  The other two restaurants were new and shiny.  Chop’s ended our trip like an old friend telling us: “See you soon.  I’ll be here when you get back.”

And when will I get back?  Actually in January I will be repeating this trip.  This time with the other kid.  I haven’t decided if I will do all of the same restaurants…but we will see.

But before that, I have a 14 day Journey’s Cruise in September, a trip to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights, a solo cruise (my first solo) over Thanksgiving, and a big 21st Birthday/New Years Eve cruise to experience.  Plenty to come!  Hope you’ll stay with me!

 

 

 

 

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Mariner of the Seas…Amplified! The Dining Part – Izumi Hibachi & Sushi

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!!

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Next Up: Jamie’s Italian