Thursday, December 29, 2016

Goodbye to the Grande

We had an early dinner at The Grande after our day in St. Kitts. We hadn't initially booked any restaurants for that night, figuring that one of the points of Dynamic Dining was to figure out what you liked and then make arrangements later. This proved to be much more difficult than it sounded, since when we tried to add a second dinner at The Grande for day 8, they kept telling us there was no availability until we persisted and they finally allowed us an early time. Very "dynamic," for sure. We had originally only booked one dinner at The Grande because of the more formal dress code, but our first dinner was good (and better than some other restaurants) so we wanted to return and were glad we were able to.

While the menus had a lot of options at each of the restaurants, and in most we tried lots of different things, at The Grande we found ourselves gravitating towards a lot of the same dishes as our first visit. The meal started off with some champagne and also the same bread as the first dinner.

We also both ordered the prawn cocktail again, which was fine.

For a second appetizer, we both (at least we think it was both of us) got the bacon and egg salad. M had really liked this the first time, but this one wasn't as good. The arugula had been replaced with shredded lettuce, and that substitution just wasn't up to par. We weren't sure how it was day 8 out of 12 and the ship was out of arugula, but that certainly seemed to be the case. Even the servers weren't certain why the greens had changed, but said people had been asking them about it.

M chose to get the eggplant napoleon again for her entree. It was tasty, light, and healthy just like the first time, one of the real standouts from the dinner entrees across all the restaurants.

A got the roasted beef tenderloin this time, which was served with duck pate, asparagus, puff pastry, and truffle-madeira sauce. He ordered it rare, but it came out closer to medium rare. He mentioned it to the waiter while also saying it was fine, but the waiter went ahead and had another order made, and this one was cooked up properly. He really didn't need two orders, but, eh, it's a vacation. The meat was very tender on both cooks and had good flavor. The meat had the right bit of salt but could have used more pepper. The pate was rich and paired very nicely with puff pastry and the meat. 

There was also a truffle-madeira sauce that came on the plate and some asparagus. Having never had this type of sauce before A wasn't sure what it was supposed to taste like, but it was good with the steak and all other ingredients combined. The asparagus was welcome since there was so little vegetable matter on the dish.

For dessert, the chef sent out a special dairy-free dessert because M's mom can't eat dairy. It was an almond cake with a raspberry sauce that was also topped with raspberries and blackberries. This was delicious and reminded us of an almond cake we had tried in Barcelona (but have not yet posted about). This was one of the best desserts we got on the ship, and while it was nice for the chef to create this special for the dairy-free folks, we wished that it was on the regular menu and we could get it all the time. Especially since A had to use the restroom after the desserts came out, and by the time he returned, M had eaten almost all of the almond cake.

We got a chocolate cake off the regular dessert menu, which was pretty much the same as last time and fine, but we didn't finish it because we were so much more interested in the almond cake. The key lime tarte was pretty much the same too. As with most key lime tartes (good or bad) A couldn't help but finish it.

We had a nice dinner at The Grande, even if some of the dishes didn't live up to the first night. Most of that could be explained by the ingredient shortages though. It's funny how we thought that we wouldn't want to spend that much time at The Grande for formal dinners, yet it became one of our favorites. At the end of the day, it seems that cruises still just do their best work with formal dining.

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