After a solid meal at The Pinnacle Grill, we settled into our assigned table at The Rotterdam main dinning room. The second night of the cruise happened to be the first formal night. So we dressed up to the nines for our meal (not that I love being in a suit while eating). Turns out that it wasn’t a good experience as someone smudged whipped cream all over the back of my brand new jacket. At the very least, they paid for my dry cleaning. Yet at the same time, this was not something that was necessarily impressive either.
Getting to the food, I began with the Escargots with garlic and butter. This was a pretty classic preparation with sinfully tasty melted butter. There was enough garlic and cheese for full impact and flavor. The snails themselves were soft, yet not mushy. I would’ve liked more crostinis to soak up the sauce. I guess I could've just ate it like soup... Yet, I also had the Creamed Artichoke and Carrot Soup, so I didn't have to eat all that butter... This was nicely pureed where it was smooth, yet at the same time had chunks of artichoke and carrot added for texture. The soup was creamy and naturally sweet.
Viv decided on the Salad of Arugula & Frisee and it was pretty good for a salad (since we are rarely impressed with any salads...). The ingredients were fresh while the balsamic vinaigrette was balanced and impactful. Loved the sweet elements such as the pear and Mandarin organges that helped balance the taste. Viv also had the Orange Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail which was similar to the one I had at The Pinnacle Grill being meaty with a firm snap. Loved the natural sweetness as well as a light saltiness. Interestingly, the accompanying dip was a cilantro lemongrass aioli. It was aromatic and not acidic like cocktail sauce.
For my entree, I had the Rack of Lamb with tomato couscous and garlic pearls. The meat was prepared a nice medium (it wasn't overdone) which meant the natural juices were still there. I found the lamb to be succulent and tender while nicely seasoned. I thought the cous cous underneath was also good texturally and flavor-wise. Viv had the best dish being the Maple-Lacquered Duck Breast which was tender and well-seasoned being the right balance between salty and sweet. I wish the skin was rendered more though. Underneath, there was corn-cranberry pudding, candied figs, braised Swiss chard and cider-vinegar sauce. There was an abundance of sweetness that was balanced by the sauce.
My daughter went for the Yellowfin Sole Fillet which was lightly coated and pan fried. The batter was a bit soft, yet mildly seasoned. The fish itself was soft and not overdone, but there needed to be more of the sauce vierge since the dish was bland and somewhat dry. On the other hand, the smashed potato crab gallette was excellent being soft and slightly crisp on the outside while appealingly salty. The rest of the kiddies had the Baked Ricotta Stuffed Shells which were blessed with a tasty and fresh garlicky tomato sauce. It was tangy and sweet while bright including plenty of basil. The shells were slightly soft, but not mushy where the ricotta filling wasn’t too wet either.
For dessert, almost everyone had the Chocolate Souffle which were mostly collapsed. However, they weren’t dense at all. Flavorwise, they were good being semi sweet while accompanied by a creamy and tasty chocolate sauce. It was sweet, but not too much. I had the Black Forrest Cake and it was very light featuring fresh whipped cream. The cake itself was moist while not overly chocolatey. I wished the cherries were more tangy though. But this was not bad considering it was a sugar-free option. Overall, this was a pretty solid meal for the main dining room. Definitely a cut-above that of the most recent cruises I've been aboard Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.