Sherman's Food Adventures: Skyline Restaurant (NCL Pride of America)

Skyline Restaurant (NCL Pride of America)

Forgoing the traditional welcome aboard buffet, we headed over to the casual Skyline main dining room for our inaugural lunch. Since we had boarded the ship rather early, we were the first ones in the dining room. Therefore, we were able to see it in its full glory with NYC-themed decor adorned by multicolored lights, shiny ceiling tiles and trim. Unfortunately, that also mean crappy photos as the reflective ceiling wreaked havoc.  We were greeted by our waiter rather warmly, but the assistant waiter seemed like she was pretty disinterested (she wasn’t rude though).

For my appie, I stared with the Tapenade and Eggplant with grilled flat bread. I found the tapenade to be a bit chunkier than usual, but that didn’t detract from the texture. It was on the saltier side and a little bit one-note. The eggplant acted as the counterbalance as it was pretty bland. When combined together, it seemed to work. The bread was a bit too stiff for my liking. Viv had the Calamari which brought back memories (or was it nightmares of our last NCL cruise). This version was slightly better, but the thin and crispy batter slid off too easily.  The squid itself was sufficiently tender while maintaining a chew.

My mom and my daughter both had the Corn and Potato Chowder which was actually quite good. It wasn’t overly thick, yet at the same time was hearty due to the ample amount of sweet corn. In fact, it was more of a corn soup as that was the dominant flavour and texture. The potato played second fiddle. Presented in a large portion, my dad’s Cobb Salad was a textbook version with greens topped with ham, egg, tomato, avocado, bacon, grilled chicken and blue cheese. It ate pretty hearty with more toppings than greens.  The blue cheese added a pronounced sharpness.

For my main, I had the Chicken Milanese with arugula salad. I thought this was prepared quite well with a moist and tender piece of breast meat. It was nicely breaded and fried until crunchy while not drying out. The chicken and breading was lightly seasoned where the squeeze of lemon was necessary to bring it to life. I liked the arugula salad as it wasn’t overdressed and featured ripe tomatoes. My mom ended up with the NY Strip with sautéed mushrooms and fries. Tender and past medium-rare, the steak was easy to chew. However, the sautéed mushrooms were completely over-salted where it made the entire dish a bit hard to eat. The side of fries were forgettable.

My daughter had the Chicken Club featuring the usual items found in a clubhouse such as bacon, turkey, lettuce and tomato with potato chips.  Pretty standard stuff, yet the bacon was crispy while the bread was nicely grilled instead of being toasted (which actually dried out the bread a bit).  My dad had a sandwich as well being the Salmon & Shrimp Sandwich with avocado on a whole wheat roll and served with chips.  Although a bit heavy with the mayo dressing, the sandwich was decent.  It featured plenty of salmon with plump shrimp that was seasoned only mildly by the dressing.

My son didn't stray very far from his preferred eats with the Grilled Beef Burger with bacon, aged cheddar, tomato and lettuce.  It goes without saying I had to remove the produce from the burger before he dared eat it. Again, much like the clubhouse, this was hardly something complex.  However, it was decently constructed with crispy bacon and a nicely toasted bun.  The meat was a bit dry though.

Normally, we wouldn't have dessert after lunch, but hey we were on a cruise!  So I decided on the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with raspberry sauce.  Trending more towards a stiff consistency, the panna cotta was still soft enough to the palate.  It wasn't very sweet with obvious hits from the vanilla bean.  Since the sauce was sugar free, it wasn't very sweet.  In fact, the tartness worked well.  Presented in a manageable size, Viv had the Blueberry Cheesecake with berry compote.  It wasn't particularly heavy nor was it super smooth.  We liked how it was easy on the sugar while the blueberry was somewhat lost.

My daughter was waiting for this day because she loves desserts and the thought of an unlimited amount got her jacked up.  She decided on the Strawberry Shortcake with toasted almonds and strawberry coulis.  The cake itself was a bit dense and stiff, but the ample fresh cream and coulis helped provide moisture.  The whole thing was pretty sweet though.  We decided to get the Milk Chocolate Mousse with lemon syrup for my son but he balked because he hates anything citrus...  So we ended up sharing it and it wasn't exactly the fluffiest version (since it was prepared long in advance), but it did taste okay being mildly sweet.  We wished for more chocolate as it tasted more milky than anything.

For dinner, we headed over to Skyline rather than Liberty solely based on one dish – the Lamb Shank. My mom loves the dish and we couldn’t have deprived her of it despite the reflective ceiling tiles made my OCD regarding my pictures go into hyperdrive. Viv and I started with a simple appie in the Prosciutto and Melon accented by balsamic reduction. As much as the melon was ripe and sweet, the one slice of prosciutto was too thick, dry and overly salty (from being dried out). It was hard to chew and wasn’t nearly enough for the amount of melon. My daughter ended up with the Cream of Broccoli and Cheddar which was creamy and rich. While cheesy with plenty of broccoli, the soup didn’t eat too salty. The same could not be said about the French Onion Soup as the consume tasted like pure salt. Furthermore, there wasn’t much in the way of melted cheese on top either.

For my main, I had the Latin Style Grilled Sirloin Steak with chimichurri, broccoli and roasted potatoes. I asked for medium-rare and the steak turned out to be well-done. Despite this, the steak was still not chewy, just a bit dry. As for the chimichurri, it was far too salty for any other flavours to stand out. On the other hand, my son’s NY Striploin was perfectly prepared medium-rare. It was also moist and tender as he ate it easily without any complaints. The green beans on the side were crunchy while not over-seasoned (I ate them; he wanted them off his plate ASAP).

My mom’s Lamb Shank was served atop 3-bean stew with tomatoes and mashed butternut squash. The large shank was succulent and gelatinous and mildly seasoned. With firm, while tender beans, the stew underneath exhibited depth-of-flavour while the squash was soft with enough moisture. Viv opted for the Thai Chicken and Shrimp in Coconut Curry on rice. The curry was pretty smooth and aromatic with a noticeable spicy finish from the ginger. Since the proteins were fried separately, the meats remained moist. The only thing Viv would’ve liked to see was more sauce.

My daughter chose the Rosemary Roasted Chicken and it was such a large portion, she had no hope in finishing. It was served with mashed potatoes, carrots and peas and pan gravy. Although not particularly attractive nor plated carefully, the chicken was decently tender, even the white meat. Since the chicken itself was brined, the pan gravy wasn’t all that necessary other than adding moisture to the dish.  My dad had the regional specialty in the Macadamia Nut-Encrusted Mahi Mahi with rice and asparagus.  Being an oilier nut, the macadamia crust was heavy and greasy.  It was crunchy though while the fish was relatively moist.

For dessert, I had the Carrot Cake and it was pretty moist for being a “no sugar added” option. There was a bit of nutmeg coming through, but I did miss the sweetness often associated with the frosting. My mom’s Ginger Custard was smooth and creamy with the definite hit of ginger.  Texturally, it was a bit on the denser side, but then again, it wasn't a Chinese custard, so it probably was intentional.  Okay, if we compare these 2 meals at Skyline to everything we had so far (and upcoming ones too), it can be summed up into 2 words - casual and unrefined.  Now that isn't necessary a criticism because the restaurant is billed as a more relaxed option (as one could wear practically anything and not get tossed out).  For us, we would rather do the alternative dining or head up to Liberty instead.

The Good:
- Safe, generally classic American food
- Large portions, but then again, it is a cruise!

The Bad:
- Inconsistent execution
- Although essentially the same as Liberty upstairs, somehow the food wasn't as good

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