Cruise ship review - - Norwegian Cruise Line - - Norwegian Escape - - dining review - - page 3
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Over the years, Norwegian has developed several outstanding specialty restaurants and these stars anchor the food line-up on Escape. They are in the same physical locations as on Breakaway and Getaway and the décor is the same. Three of them, Cagney's, Moderno, and La Cucina have both indoor areas and outdoor seating on the Waterfront promenade. On a balmy tropic night, dining outdoors is hard to beat.
Le Bistro was Norwegian's first specialty restaurant. Despite the name, it is not a traditional bistro like you would find in Paris but rather a French-inspired fine dining venue. The menu has been enhanced for Escape but not changed radically. Highlights include the five peppercorn beef tenderloin and the chocolate fondue.
The dimly-lit interior recalls 19th century Paris giving Le Bistro a romantic feel. It is an adult rather than a family venue. There are also tables along the Deck 6 indoor promenade beneath the spectacular chandelier. While these tables are good for people watching, you do get noise and fumes drifting down from the casino on Deck 7.
Cagney's has emerged as one of the leading steakhouses at sea. Early versions of this franchise had a 1930s gangster theme - - an apparent play on the idea that Chicago is noted both for its gangsters and its steakhouses. Even the restaurant's name was a reference to actor Jimmy Cagney's portrayals of 1930s gangsters.
All of the gangster theme is gone and on Escape, Cagney's is a serious restaurant with a sophisticated décor and an upscale steakhouse menu. It features certified Angus beef steaks.
As usual, I ordered the large filet mignon. The trick with such a big cut is to avoid having the exterior charred and the center raw. Cagney's successfully accomplished this task leaving the steak both tender and flavorful.
Next door to Cagney's is Moderno Churrascaria. Moderno is a Brazilian-style steakhouse that premiered on Norwegian Epic. It was so successful there that it has been rolled out across the Norwegian fleet.
Moderno is a fun venue. You begin the meal by visiting a salad bar that has an array of salad items, cheeses, cold cuts and soup. You could easily make a satisfying meal just from the salad bar.
Once you've finished your first course, a waiter will bring some side dishes to share among the table. He or she will also give each guest a paper disk that is red on one side and green on the other.
As long as the disk is green side up, waiters carrying secures of beef, chicken, lamb, pork and pineapple will stop by and cut off slices for you. When you have had enough or want to pause, turn the disk over to the red side.
The food is tasty. In addition, you also have the entertainment of the interaction with the servers and the anticipation of what will be arriving next.
La Cucina is Norwegian's Italian-inspired restaurant. Originally, the concept was to have family -style sharing of the various dishes. Indeed, the name La Cucina (the kitchen) was meant to reflect this informal approach. However, since Norwegian Epic, this venue has become increasingly sophisticated.
For Escape, La Cucina has a new, more upmarket menu. It is now similar to the menu at Giovanni's Table on the Royal Caribbean ships - - a venue that has gone through a similar evolution. Each guest decides whether he or she wants an appetizer, pasta dish, main course or dessert. Individual choice rather than group compromises.
In general, I liked the new menu. I particularly enjoyed the filet mignon with Gorgonzola sauce. (Escape does beef very nicely). My only regret was that La Cucina no longer offers the excellent pizzas that were on the old menu. Perhaps it was felt that pizza was inconsistent with the more sophisticated image this venue is striving to achieve. However, as Princess Cruises has demonstrated with Alfredo's Pizzeria, it is possible to offer upmarket gourmet pizza on ships.
At one time, the Japanese-inspired restaurant on the Norwegian ships was refereed to as the Teppanyaki Room, reflecting the fact that the Teppanyaki restaurant on those ships consisted of one table in one room. Over time, the popularity of this concept has proved so great that Teppanyaki on Escape has multiple tables covering a large expanse.
The attraction is as much entertainment as food. A dozen or so guests sit around a table. In the center is a chef, who usually with a display of flash dexterity, prepares and cooks each guest's meal. It is good fun, especially for families.
Above: Le Bistro.
Above: Beef Tenderloin in Five Pepper Sauce at Le Bistro.
Below: Cold Water LObster Tail Roasted in Butter at Le Bistro.
Above: A filet mignon at Cagney's.
Above: Moderno Churascaria.
Nelow: From the salad bar at Moderno.
Above: La Ciucina.