Sherman's Food Adventures: Holland America MS Westerdam Vista Dining Room Night #1

Holland America MS Westerdam Vista Dining Room Night #1

After taking a sneak peek of the menu while we were exploring the ship, it was decided our first dinner aboard the MS Westerdam was going to be in the Vista main dining room.  However, it would be in the lower level since we did not have fixed dining.  Interestingly, we seem to eat at around the same time, but choose open seating.  No matter, it was easy enough to just call down to the front desk to make a rez.  However, most of the available times were after 8:00pm.  Didn't matter though as we were without the kiddies!

We decided to split the Seared Scallops and Calypso Shrimp Cocktail for our appies. Attractively caramelized, the smallish scallops were buttery and sweet. They were barely cooked, hence, they retained a good amount of moisture. I found them seasoned well on their own, however, the confit tomato and vanilla-scented vinaigrette added some acidity. Eating more like a potato salad without the potatoes, the shrimp cocktail was tossed in a mustard calypso sauce. It was creamy and lightly flavoured and allowed the sweet brininess of the shrimp to come through. Texturally, the baby shrimp were buttery and meaty.

Since these were fairly light appies, we added 2 mains as a mid-course prior to our larger dishes. The Salade Nicoise sans tuna was definitely a larger dish of greens, but we were a bit perplexed how it would be enough for a meal. It featured all of the usual suspects of a nicoise except for the aforementioned tuna. Nothing particularly interesting about this, but it did the job. The second item was the Eggplant Cannelloni Parmigiano which was smartly constructed with thin layers of soft (but not mushy) eggplant stuffed with herbed ricotta. This was a flavourful dish with the zing of the tomato sauce and the saltiness from the Parm.

For our actual mains, I had the Shrimp, Andouille & Grits featuring braised okra, tomato sauce, citrus and roasted pepper. This was a winner in my books with fluffy grits that were seasoned completely by the spicy tomato sauce. There was a lingering kick to go with the equal parts of acidity and saltiness. The shrimp was on point being meaty with a firm snap. Interestingly, I didn’t notice any andouille on the plate – was it purely in the sauce? Viv ended up with the Apple Cider-Brined Pork Chop with cherry raisin chutney. The pork chop was meaty, yet fairly tender from the brine. It had more of a braised quality where the meat was completely cooked and moist. Flavours trended towards sweet with the strong taste of cloves being overwhelming though.

For dessert, we had the Key Lime Pie as well as the Apple Struedel. Despite the pastry being on the wet side, the filling in the struedel was very good. The bits of apple were tender with a bite being tart and only purposefully sweet. Buttery and rich, the key lime pie was tangy and sweet. The crust was very buttery.  A minor complaint was that they served a slice with a broken edge.  Not aesthetically-pleasing at all. Our first dinner aboard the Westerdam was consistent with Veendam, which we cruised on 5 months prior.  It was decent for cruise ship food with a few issues here and there (but then again, they are serving so many people at once...).

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