This is the first in a set of reviews for this meal giving an overall review of the meal and service given to us onboard the Breakaway.
I arrived, with my wife, on time at Ocean Blue to find the rest of my party of five already seated and enjoying their cocktails. Our waitress, Miss Cherry, seated us, took our cocktail order and chilled the wine we had brought along for dinner. I ordered a “Champagne ’75” which is a good light fizzy drink to clear the palette before dinner.
The table was set perfectly for dining. A crisp and clean table service. The restaurant was nearly full but the staff moved so quietly that they seemed to appear as if by magic with the dishes and drinks. Either we were so busy enjoying the meal or they have hired Ninjas as the waitstaff as I never heard an unnecessary sound from the staff. Cherry attended the table attentively and instantly with a decorum that would have made Royalty blush.
Once cocktails were served all around our waitress, Miss Cherry, arrived with two loafs of Mascarpone bread each about the size of two large Cinnabon rolls. Topped with white and black sesame seeds held on by a lightly salted butter or oil (with perhaps a touch of garlic?) We immediately asked for a second helping of the bread. Little did Miss Cherry know that the bread was to be only the first of many calls for seconds from our table.
My first course choice was the Crispy Calamari with Hot Peppers and Fresno Chili Aioli. Others at our table of five we ordered the Mussels, the Beef Tartare, the Beet Salad and more Calamari. As their were only five of us we did not order the Grilled Prawn Panzanella. To my amazement the courses were served by 4 or 5 waitress and waiters with each handling an individual dish. A very, very pretty presentation executed very well in a small space.
We enjoyed the Beet Salad so much that we asked for an “encore” of the salda. Chef Erica sent on the Beet Salad with the addition of a plate of the Grilled Prawn Panzanella to our delight.
My main course was the Lightly Roasted Sea Scallops with Caramelized Pork Belly. Other’s ordered the Dover Sole (2), the Monkfish Lion, and the Roast Peking Duck. As a preview I will say that the pork belly made me go weak in the knees with the flavor.
I now know what it is to be a judge on the Iron Chef panel. The food I was served was meant to be eaten as an ensemble where each bite contains all of the ingredients rather than breaking up the dish as individual bites of protein, starch and vegetable. Each mouthful was a symphony of taste as each piece played its own notes in a growing harmony.
Even with five overwhelmed diners tossing food crumbs about our Miss Cherry kept the table dressed perfectly throughout dinner. Glassware, flatware, dishes, butter, napkins all came and went without interruption to the melody of our meal.
We accepted the suggestion of coffee with the dessert course. As there are eight desserts and only five diners we were forced to choose carefully. I chose the Chocolate Soufflé. Others chose the Bergamont Tea Panna Cotta, the Creme Brûlée, the Lemon Meringue Tart and the Cheese Plate. It soon became evident that each of use wanted to try all of the dessert menu and we did. Not one of the eight desserts failed to bring anything but joyful satisfaction to the palette.
A quick word about the Cheese Plate served at Ocean Blue. It is of small portions of very fine cheeses. The cheese is unbelievable when tasted in small bites. It was not a selection to be eaten as one would eat swiss cheese or Cheez Wiz on Ritz crackers where volume would be important factor. Each of the five of us sampled the cheese plate and each was fully satisfied by the experience of the bites we took. Any more cheese would have been overwhelming for a single person as it was more than enough to sample for five. I do not know how the flavors of the cheese plate could be wholly consumed by two at dinner let alone a single diner.
I will review each individual dish separately in other postings as they deserved as much.
In conclusion of my overall report I will say that when Chef Erika Suarez graced our between the main and dessert course we nearly rose in applause for her Kitchen. My own expressions of delight were filled with adjectives such as “refreshing, light, effervescent and delicate” as the meal was a delight all around leaving us with a feeling of ready to attend a night of dancing on the NCL Breakaway.
I now count my dinner on the Breakaway at the Ocean Blue with Miss Cherry and Chef Erika as one of my top 10 meals of my lifetime as it is more than comparable to other meals I have been served at Chez Louie, Wally’s Desert Turtle, dinner at Mr. Aaron Spelling’s house, the Peasant Restaurants in their day, Meadow Wood, Made in China, Quanjude, The Lobster Pot Rediington Shores, the Red Stag Asheville, and the bread pudding at Mrs. G’s locally.
As to value we felt the cost was for such a dinner was a bargain. The ability to enjoy such a fine meal without having to make reservations months in advance or traveling miles is perfect on the NCL Breakaway. It is a not to be missed onboard excursion on your trip to Bermuda. The restaurant just works.
My suggestion to anyone wishing to dine here is to bring friends but not children under 21 as they might not appreciate the full meal correctly. Not that any child who can sit still for the entire meal would not love every dish. This is a restaurant to be enjoyed as a meal between diners. While the ship’s reservations system looks for parties of four I would very much like to recommend you bring your friends, old and new, in parties of four or larger so that you can share the flavors of the food together. Please talk to the restaurant directly if you are bringing more than four, the concierge helps in many ways.
If you do dine at Ocean Blue might I recommend that you ask for Miss Cherry when you place your reservation so as to be sure she is available for your meal. ( If you encounter any problems with reservations you might want to say that "Mr. Race said I would enjoy dinner at Ocean Blue", as I became a minor celebrity during my cruise.)
I am sure that any of the fine wait staff at Ocean Blue would serve you a great meal though I shall forever hold Miss Cherry in my heart of dining hearts for her exacting performance during our meal (Thank you my dear.)