Sherman's Food Adventures: Carnival Freedom Posh Dining Room Night #2

Carnival Freedom Posh Dining Room Night #2

After our first night aboard the Freedom, I was already getting the sense that the food was going to be better than expected.  Sure, I didn't have super high expectations going into it, but I did have minimum requirements.  So far, the first dinner showed that the food wasn't going to be what once was considered, "the McDonald's of cruising".  Our second night was our "Casual Elegant" dinner where lobster would be on the menu.  If my memory serves me right, NCL didn't even offer lobster in the main dining room for the duration of our 7-night cruise.

I started off my meal with the Fried Oysters accompanied by chipotle lime dip.  Although small in portion (hey, you can always order more, it's a cruise!), the 2 oysters were lightly fried, hence being buttery and soft inside.  The breading was crispy and just the right thickness.  What brought this altogether was the creamy and spicy dip.  It gave life to the mildly-briny oysters.  For Viv, she had the Italian Wedding Soup with kale, meatballs, egg, endive and parmesan.  The light chicken broth was not oversalted, unlike many other versions of this soup.  Meaty and lean, the meatballs gave body to the soup while the tender kale florets ate easy.

My son ended up with the Mushroom Cream Soup as a means of satisfying his vegetable quota.  Good try buddy...  We made him eat the broccoli on his main dish...  The soup was indeed creamy and full of woodsy mushoom flavor.  There was actually lots of mushroom which had been diced into small pieces.  Again, the soup was not oversalted, which we enjoyed.  To get my intake of greens, I also added a Baby Spinach Salad on the side.  This was topped with plenty of crumbled blue cheese as well as being dressed in blue cheese.  Hence, the flavors were a touch sharp while creamy throughout.  Loved the walnuts which added a texture.

For our mains, we practically all had the Broiled Maine Lobster with toasted orzo, shrimp, broccoli and citrus gremolata.  Okay, this was another pleasant surprise as the lobster was absolutely perfect.  No joke.  The lobster was barely cooked through, which meant the meat was succulent, buttery and sweet.  This is no small feat as we've been on 10 cruises and this has been executed the best.  On the side, the shrimp didn't take a back seat as they were grilled beautifully being buttery with a cold-water snap.  My daughter didn't do the lobster, opting for the Spaghetti Carbonara instead.  It was a large portion of noodles which were fairly al dente, but a little dry.  It did taste good with a garlicky cheesiness while the bacon crumble added saltiness.  With that being said, we could've done with more saltiness.

To get more of a variety, I added the Slow Cooked Prime Rib with baked potato and broccoli.  The thinly sliced prime rib was medium and sauced with a thick au jus.  Much like the flat-iron steak from the previous night and the tenderloin I had for brunch, the meat was tender and moist.  It was also well-seasoned where I didn't need much in the way of anything else.  So far, the meat quality was impressive and we hadn't even made it to the steakhouse yet.  Our last dish was the Seared Striped Bass with lemon, creamy savoy cabbage and sourdough fried potatoes.  Unlike the mahi mahi, the bass was flaky and moist while being well-seasoned.  The lemon provided a nice acidity.  We weren't enamored with the potatoes though as when the batter got cold, it wasn't that appealing.

For dessert, we shard the Creme Brulee and the Malted Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with warm chocolate sauce.  I thought the custard in the brulee was nicely textured being silky and lightly eggy.  It wasn't too sweet either.  However, the sugar topping was somewhat uneven.  As for the hazelnut cake, it was more of a cross between a ganache and a gelatin.  It tasted good with a nice chocolate start and a hazelnut finish. Other than a few issues here and there, this was yet another solid meal.  Considering that the kitchen has to produce a wide range of dishes for half of the passengers at a time, the execution was more than acceptable.  We went away especially impressed with the lobster.


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