Sherman's Food Adventures: Holland America MS Westerdam Vista Dining Room Night #2

Holland America MS Westerdam Vista Dining Room Night #2

Our 2nd dinner of our Mexican Cruise aboard Holland America’s MS Westerdam would be the 1st of two gala dinners. Generally, the menu for these meals are more appealing with certain premium dishes. Well, having just cruised on the MS Veendam in the Summer, the menu looked very familiar. In fact, it was exactly the same except for a few items. It was not surprising though as I would imagine the menus to be consistent fleet-wide.

Despite only being 2 of us, we tried our best to put a dent in the menu by going for all 3 appetizers including the simple, yet appetite-whetting Honey Pineapple with coconut and strawberries. We found the slice of pineapple to be tart and sweet as well as the chunks on top. However, we would’ve liked to see the presence of more coconut. Also rather light, we had the Orange Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with lime and melon balls. The shrimp was a bit underdone in this case, so the snap texture was interrupted by a soft and slightly chewy interior.

Completely opposite of the 1st 2 appies, the Escargots Bourguignon was immersed in butter, wine and parsley. I found the snails to be decent in size and buttery soft with a slight rebound chew. Of course the flavors were rich due to the butter, but that’s the whole point of the dish. I needed a bit more bread from our basket to help soak up the buttery goodness. Viv decided to add the Salad of arugula and frisee just to provide some balance to our meal. It was nicely plated and reminded us of the same refreshing one we had on the Veendam. The vinaigrette was acidic but nicely balanced by the fresh fruit.

Completing our starters, I also added the Carrot Soup that was lightly sweet and a bit aromatic from the oil. There was some creaminess added by the dollaps of crème fraiche. I would’ve liked to see a bit more salt as the soup was very mild. It was silky and smooth though. Heading into our entrees, we split 3 of them including the Rack of Lamb with couscous. Unfortunately, the lamb was overdone and at least with one of the pieces, it was well-done. Hence, the meat was heavy and not moist. Flavors were okay though as the rub on the outside was impactful. The couscous was nicely prepared being soft with a rebound.

Also overdone was the Maple-Lacquered Duck Breast as each piece was dry and a touch chewy. Moreover, the skin was not well-rendered, which meant it was chewy and fatty. However, the sweetness of the figs were a nice compliment to the duck. Not sure about the bread pudding underneath as it was a bit wet and somewhat heavy. Nice use of day old bread though. On the other hand, the Beef Tenderloin was quite rare (which was even evident on the outside of the steak. I asked for medium-rare. No matter, it was still nicely charred and completely tender. Although the green beans took on the color of canned beans, they were actually still crunchy. The grilled shrimp were on point and flavorful.

For dessert, Viv had the Chocolate Souffle, which had completely collapsed. Interestingly, the chocolate sauce was served table side incorrectly being merely poured out top without making a hole at the top. It looked heavy, but ultimately, the soufflé was fairly light and not over-sweetened. I had the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake which was super light. It was airy and tangy with only a purposeful amount of sweetness.  Despite being a "Gala Dinner", we thought the selection of dishes was only somewhat better than the regular nights.  Coupled with some of our proteins being overdone, it wasn't a particularly memorable meal.

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