Sherman's Food Adventures: Holland America MS Westerdam Vista Dining Room Night #3

Holland America MS Westerdam Vista Dining Room Night #3

Unlike our time on the Oosterdam and Veendam, the Westerdam sported some technological goodies including big flat screen TVs with information throughout the cruise as well as creative Internet packages. The most useful innovation was the Holland America app which was free and allowed us to check on our daily schedule, book shore excursions and reserve tables at their specialty restaurants. In addition, we could also view the daily dinner menu from the main dining room which could help us decide whether we wanted to head to an alternative dining venue if it wasn’t appealing.

Well, the David Burke inspired menu for night 3 was not super attractive to us (and we’ve had this meal on the Veendam recently), but we went with it anyways. We both began with some simple appies including the Fruit Ceviche, which is always a fancy name for fruit salad. Hey, it was a very fresh fruit salad with sweet chunks of pineapple. The Tuna and Salmon Tartare was a bit small in size, resulting in a less than impressive looking plate. By itself, the tartare was buttery and tender, but it definitely needed the drops of sesame sauce and mustard to add the necessary acidity and aromatics.

We also went for both of the featured soups including the surprisingly good Black Bean and Chorizo. At first, it looked very much like a sweet Chinese red bean soup, but it surely wasn’t. There was a robust bean grittiness that was actually appealing. The addition of meaty and spicy chorizo kicked up the flavour and body of the soup. For the Chili Corn Chowder, it was slightly thick and mildly sweet with a spicy kick. The creamy crème fraiche provided little pockets of creaminess, but the charred corn was sticky and mealy.

For our mains, I had the classic Prime Rib with baked potato and veggies. Whoever sliced the steak was probably off-balance as it was thin with the cap and thick with the rest of the meat. No matter though as it was a perfect medium-rare and buttery soft. It was well-seasoned where the rub penetrated beyond the exterior. The sauce was a bit too salty though. I would’ve liked some bacon bits, but they didn't offer any. Viv had the Black Cod which was also executed properly. The meat was buttery and flaky while being aggressively seasoned. We would’ve liked to see some crispy skin though. Underneath, the risotto was cheesy but too soft.

As per usual, we added a 3rd dish just because. It was the Pork Medallions with mushroom sauce and spatzel. Although well-charred, the pork tenderloin nuggets were dry and underseasoned. However, the creamy mushroom sauce was impactful and plenty Earthy. Also under-seasoned, the spaetzel was texturally on point though being chewy with a proper sear.

For dessert, I went for the Blueberry and Mango Crisp which was stone cold. So much so, the ice cream on top stayed frozen and didn’t even melt. Hence, it was not enjoyable to eat despite the crispy sugary topping and semi-sweet fruit filling. Viv’s Chocolate Cake was much better being moist and chocolately. It looked very sweet, but ultimately was not.  As you can probably guess, we were not super-enthused about the meal as a whole, even before we ate.  Things were just not executed that properly.  With that being said, the food was definitely serviceable and yes, we realize we were on a cruise ship.

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