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Test kitchen 😂


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53 minutes ago, Wildcatllamas said:

I definitely respect your opinion. And the portions are smaller then a meal in one of the other restaurants.

 

I know that everyone here at some time has had poor experiences with any one of the restaurant venues on our different sailings. It happens. If this was a norm then there are problems there but I think that as you can see most of us have had good experiences there.

 

Now a perfect example of a change in experience - I have eaten the rib steak at Pink Agave 3 times. The first two is was one of the best rib steaks I have ever had. This last time the taste was wonderful but there was a line of gristle in it. Very unlike the other two times. This is usually found in the last couple of cuts on the smaller end and sometimes these will be labeled as Delmonico cuts. If that had been my first experience, being a steak lover, I would have been a bit turned off by it. So I can fully understand where you are coming from.

I think we all like to think what we think is the correct way. I saw a few people commented that they enjoyed it. That does not lead me to a conclusion that “most have had good experiences there” any more than it makes it a fact that most people just like to “gorge” themselves, which assumes those who didn’t care for it were all just a bunch of hungry heffers looking to tie on a feed bag. 
 

 

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What it comes down to is this: Test Kitchen is just incredibly polarizing. People either love it or hate it. And that's ok, and it doesn't matter why they love or hate it. Personally, my husband and I are fans, we even like both menus! But because we like it doesn't mean it's right for everyone.

 

We took our family over the holidays, and some enjoyed the experience, others barely took 2 bites of the food. I knew going in that would be the case, and told people they didn't have to join us there, but everyone wanted to try. And that's kinda the spirit of it, just trying something different. Now, if you are used to that type of meal on land, I can see where it is probably underwhelming. That's a valuable opinion to share so that other folks who share your experience can go in with the correct expectations.

 

For others, it's going to be a new experience, which may be good or bad. And some people don't want to try something that different and that is also ok. The nice thing is there are many restaurants and dining options to choose from, so no one has to go to Test Kitchen if they don't want to. And certainly, if you've tried it and hate it, you don't have to go back.

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3 hours ago, aqlollipop said:

For others, it's going to be a new experience, which may be good or bad. And some people don't want to try something that different and that is also ok. The nice thing is there are many restaurants and dining options to choose from, so no one has to go to Test Kitchen if they don't want to. And certainly, if you've tried it and hate it, you don't have to go back.

One of my biggest problems with VV is the lack of a main dining room. I don't mind going to the Galley for breakfast or lunch, but I like to have a nice sit down meal for dinner. If you eliminate Test Kitchen and you find that Extra Virgin is very difficult to get into (I wasn't able to get a reservation on a seven day cruise), your sit down dinner options are limited. I am not a fan of Gunbae or Razzle Dazzle either.  

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5 minutes ago, basenji56 said:

I am not a fan of Gunbae or Razzle Dazzle either.  

The old dinner menu on RD was much better IMHO.  OK, the deserts are better on the new menu, but the secret steak and several options for chicken dishes were better than the dry, overcooked fried chicken they now offer.

 

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14 minutes ago, cantgetin said:

The old dinner menu on RD was much better IMHO.  OK, the deserts are better on the new menu, but the secret steak and several options for chicken dishes were better than the dry, overcooked fried chicken they now offer.

 

I ordered the fried chicken last month and was disappointed. Based on the comments I had read, I had very high expectations for the food on VV and was somewhat disappointed.  I did like the abundance of fresh fruit in the Galley.

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3 hours ago, basenji56 said:

One of my biggest problems with VV is the lack of a main dining room. I don't mind going to the Galley for breakfast or lunch, but I like to have a nice sit down meal for dinner. If you eliminate Test Kitchen and you find that Extra Virgin is very difficult to get into (I wasn't able to get a reservation on a seven day cruise), your sit down dinner options are limited. I am not a fan of Gunbae or Razzle Dazzle either.  


yeah, I agree with this.  I’ve been on 2 cruises with virgin and couldn’t get dinner at the wake on either. The dining reservations and show reservations are definitely frustrating compared to other cruise lines.

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This is why VV, to me, is the choice of where I go.

 

How often do people go to a place that's so polarising? I have eaten in some stunning locations around the world, from mountain views to fireworks to music and burger joints in the middle of nowhere in a truck siding. Everyone should (and will) take away something from every meal on board VV. They don't aim to please all the people all the time, as that ends up bland and not pleasing anyone. 

 

TK is not everyone's bag, but it's not BAD. It's just not to everyone's taste. Certain cities seem to think they own the culinary world and how they serve or portion is correct. There is no correct, there is their way. Even the best "super taster" chefs in the world will have a dish they love which everyone hates. A well-known chef swears by fish-finger sandwiches with mayo, and a side of crushed taco shells. 

I mean, the only thing "wrong" or "bad" is the assumption you speak for everyone else. 

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I really enjoyed my test kitchen experience, I did think drowning the steak in chocolate was strange, but it worked.  Will I drown my steak at home with chocolate?  Never, but again it worked.  My biggest complaint was the drink pairings.  For the cost I was expecting more than shot size drinks. 🥂

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On 1/28/2024 at 8:56 AM, Wildcatllamas said:

I have to agree with Walter. I have done it 3 times and each time I have enjoyed it. I would agree with a 7 rating.

 

I was born and raised in Denver - or as it was referred to back in the early 60s a "cow town" by those from back East. But I have traveled all over this country and eaten at some of the very high end fine dining and steakhouses across the country. With that being said - I will never judge a cruise lines food by some very exclusive restaurant anywhere in this country. Unlike a land based restaurant there are so many variables that a cruise line must factor in for their dining experiences that making a head to head comparison is difficult. Some cruise lines definitely come close. But to say the steak was "thimble sized" is a gross exaggeration of the portion size. It was a tenderloin medallion that was about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. So with that being said this is the second "restauranteur" from the Big Apple to come here and blast the food. 

Big city .... Big appetites . 😲😄🤨

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3 hours ago, Tyler414 said:

I really enjoyed my test kitchen experience, I did think drowning the steak in chocolate was strange, but it worked.  Will I drown my steak at home with chocolate?  Never, but again it worked.  My biggest complaint was the drink pairings.  For the cost I was expecting more than shot size drinks. 🥂

Wow, the couple next to me he had the cocktail pairing and she and I had the wine. Our wines were about half a serving but his drinks were pretty close to a full drink. He was definitely getting toasty but the time dinner was done.

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Yeah I don’t think they are quite shot size, just probably about half a normal cocktail; so you get equivalent of three drinks across the 90 minute meal which is about right and feels about right for $40 compared to drinks on the ship.

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6 minutes ago, Watchmen said:

I had the wine pairing. It was fine. My wife had the proof free and it was nearly un-drinkable. 

The zero proof flight I had was insanely good.  
 

I didn’t realize there was this much hate for test kitchen! Haha 

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11 minutes ago, Watchmen said:

I had the wine pairing. It was fine. My wife had the proof free and it was nearly un-drinkable. 

Since it is a wine pairing could you ask them to give you something else?  I really prefer dry wines.

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12 minutes ago, tbmrt said:

Since it is a wine pairing could you ask them to give you something else?  I really prefer dry wines.

The pairings is a specific wine chosen to go with each course, if you want to choose your own wine don’t order the pairings and just choose your own from the menu.

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I don’t think people understand the idea of test kitchen - it’s supposed to be pretty out there flavors and preparations.  The idea is you try new things! You may like it, you may not.  
 

I liked the asparagus ice cream! The guy across the counter from me did not.  That’s the whole point of the place.  If you don’t want to try new things and have fun, go someplace else! Haha. 

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Anyone have any comments (polarizingly good or bad) on beer pairings, including size? Excited to try Test Kitchen for the first time and didn't realize wines would be 1/2 pours.

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1 hour ago, sfspider said:

Anyone have any comments (polarizingly good or bad) on beer pairings, including size? Excited to try Test Kitchen for the first time and didn't realize wines would be 1/2 pours.

Not sure about the beer other than that those will not be full pours either. Do you really want six full drinks during a single meal? If so, you won’t get that at Test Kitchen. 

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3 hours ago, Travel-and-See said:

I don’t think people understand the idea of test kitchen - it’s supposed to be pretty out there flavors and preparations.  The idea is you try new things! You may like it, you may not.  
 

I liked the asparagus ice cream! The guy across the counter from me did not.  That’s the whole point of the place.  If you don’t want to try new things and have fun, go someplace else! Haha. 

That it is experimental doesn’t mean it cannot be criticized. 

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5 hours ago, Travel-and-See said:

I don’t think people understand the idea of test kitchen - it’s supposed to be pretty out there flavors and preparations.  The idea is you try new things! You may like it, you may not.  
 

I liked the asparagus ice cream! The guy across the counter from me did not.  That’s the whole point of the place.  If you don’t want to try new things and have fun, go someplace else! Haha. 

I disagree. I found nothing about it “out there” or new. I think most people understand that an egg yolk and frozen peas aren’t an innovation. Pâté can be purchased at Wegmans in the cheese case. And filet with blueberries and cocoa have been a foodie trend in the UK for years. It wasn’t edgy enough to be considered innovative. 
 

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On 1/29/2024 at 7:13 PM, basenji56 said:

One of my biggest problems with VV is the lack of a main dining room. I don't mind going to the Galley for breakfast or lunch, but I like to have a nice sit down meal for dinner. If you eliminate Test Kitchen and you find that Extra Virgin is very difficult to get into (I wasn't able to get a reservation on a seven day cruise), your sit down dinner options are limited. I am not a fan of Gunbae or Razzle Dazzle either.  

We had dinner in Extra Virgin tonight and it was absolutely fantastic. Last night we ate at The Wake and it, too, was great. We got the small Seafood Tower at The Wake and it was incredible. The clam chowder was delicious.  Presentation and quality of food was  🎯 in both restaurants.  
I find it interesting that certain users here saw NYC in my profile and used it to make prejudiced assumptions about who I am to pick apart my critique.  I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in Miami, and have lived all across the US.  I hope my review helped some people who may not know what Test Kitchen is and might not want to use a night to dine there when there are only 7 nights to dine and other options.  

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My suggestion on VV is to try each restaurant at least once,  We were surprised to find places that we didn't expect to like became favorites and places we thought we'd love weren't as good as we'd expected.  Don't rule out a place based on reviews here or preconceptions.  Everyone is different.

 

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6 hours ago, Watchmen said:

Not sure about the beer other than that those will not be full pours either. Do you really want six full drinks during a single meal? If so, you won’t get that at Test Kitchen. 

Well you could get full pours but you’d pay full menu price for the drinks, not the pairing menu price.

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Thanks for responding. Wasn't trying to get 6 full beers, just wondering whether to try one of the pairing and if it was "worth it.". If I try the wine pairing and my wife has a sip or two of any good ones, a 2.5 oz pour is gone very quickly, and I was worried mixed drinks would be similar. Just looking for Intel (size, quality, etc) on the beer pairings since nobody had commented and others thought the other types of paired drinks were a little small.

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On both the wine and "drinks" pairings I have done in TK, i have got smashed on lol 

 

Some are pretty strong and on number 6, you better be a good balance on a bar stool lol

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