Sherman's Food Adventures: Holland America MS Westerdam Lunch at the Pinnacle

Holland America MS Westerdam Lunch at the Pinnacle

For the last 2 cruises on Holland America, we’ve had dinner at the Pinnacle at least once. Yes, it is an extra charge of $30, but for us, it is well worth it due to the use of premium ingredients served in a more intimate environment. The fact that the service is top notch is an absolute plus as well. This time around, Viv and I decided to give lunch a try at the Pinnacle for a $10 surcharge. Reservations could only be made aboard the ship and we did just that for our second day on the cruise.

Since we could order as many appies as we liked, we decided on 3 starting with the classic Beef Carparccio. In terms of appearance, this had to be one of the least appealing versions we’ve seen. However, it ate significantly better with a buttery smooth texture. Flavor compliments included pine nuts, crispy capers, Parm, mustard aioli and diced red onions. I thought there was a restrained amount of saltiness and the crunch of the nuts and capers added a textural contrast. There could’ve been more acidity though. The Dungeness Crab Cakes were lightly crispy outside with a nice panko coating. However, on the inside, it was rather crumbly. Also, the crab did not appear to be Dungeness as indicated on the menu. To us, it looked and ate like king crab (which wasn’t a bad thing).

Our last appie was the fantastic Grilled Prawn Bruschetta with primavera sauce, aged asiago and balsamic fusion. Underneath, the crunchy crostinis were firm yet retained a bread-like texture. The topping of peppers, zucchini and onion were bathed in a sweet and tangy balsamic EVOO sauce that went well with the large and meaty prawns. This was both a textural and flavor success in our books.

For my main, I had the Beef Tenderloin with Oregon blue cheese. This was prepared a beautiful medium rare with a nice caramelized sear on the outside. As much as tenderloin can be rather mild-tasting, the pungency of the melted blue cheese helped alleviate that issue with a smooth buttery sharpness. On the side, the scalloped potatoes were tender while not being mushy. They were buttery and sinfully cheesy while not salty. Viv repeated her dish from the Veendam with the Cioppino featuring king crab, salmon, halibut, clams and mussels. This was a hearty dish where the fish was a bit overdone while the shellfish were on point. The broth was light, a touch briny, lightly tangy and aromatic.

We ended up with 3 desserts including the Warm Fudge Brownie with coffee gelato and popcorn brunch. The brownie itself was very sweet with a crunchy surface giving way to an ooey gooey center. The best part of the dessert was the aromatic and not-too-sweet gelato. Our favorite of the trio was the Coconut Trifle with lime and pistachio. Although looking heavy, it ate lightly with only a purposeful amount of sweetness accented by the aromatics of coconut and bitterness for the dark chocolate. We loved the crunch of the pistachios.

Ending off in a lighter fashion than the previous 2 desserts, we tried the Fresh Berries with sabayon.  It was a light and refreshing dessert where the sabayon was airy, fluffy and not overly sweet.  Although one could eat at the buffet or the Dive-In burger bar for no extra charge, I would personally go for the Pinnacle Grill instead for the $10.00 per person.  It is a fantastic alternative than dining there in the evening.  Yes, there are some dishes that are not available at lunch, but the overall food quality and service justifies the surcharge.

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