Sherman's Food Adventures: Sun King Steakhouse (Carnival Freedom)

Sun King Steakhouse (Carnival Freedom)

Similar to other cruise lines, Carnival has a free app that has all of the necessary info such as the day's schedule (where you can bookmark activities and a reminder will sound on your phone).  Another great feature is the available food when you check the app including menus for the main dining rooms.  Therefore, you have a good sense of where to eat for dinner without waiting for that day's menu to come out.  That was a good thing as we had originally booked Sun King Steakhouse online several months prior on the last night at sea.  One check of the Posh menu for that night and yes, it looked like we made a good decision.

Since it was an extra $35.00 per person surcharge (including 15% gratuity), we were treated to a more intimate dining room complete with a dedicated kitchen.  Furthermore, the bread and butter was more deluxe featuring brioche and focaccia accompanied by butter, tapenade and tomato confit.  I really enjoyed the latter as it was lightly tomatoey with a slight tang.  Beyond that, we were started off with an Amuse Bouche which was a chili chicken atop a thin slice of fingerling potato and topped with cheese.  It was nice savory bite that wasn't as spicy as it sounded.

For our appies, I had 2 including the Trio of Escargots which included brioche baked, garlic & parsley butter braised and vermouth & escargots veloute.  As like the main dining room, the snails were beautifully prepared being buttery and tender.  I especially enjoyed the veloute as it was silky and aromatic.  The brioche was nice, but rather heavy, so I ended up picking the snails out individually.  My next appie was the Lobster Bisque with vintage cognac, fleuron and fresh cream.  The bisque itself was silky, thick and chock full of aromatics from the lobster shells.  As much as the chunks of lobster meat was tender with a sweet bounce, it was too cold for the soup and brought the temperature down.

Viv's 2 appies included the Ahi Tuna Tartare consisting of sashimi-grade yellow fin tuna belly.  The tuna was lightly dressed where the natural sweetness was highlighted.  There was bits of orange and avocado mixed in for some acidity and creaminess.  I thought there could've been touch more tang, but it was fine nonetheless.  The fish itself was buttery and tender.  Her next appie was the Grilled Portobello Mushroom marinated in EVOO and aged balsamic vinegar.  As much as the tender slices of mushroom were impactful and flavorful, it was a bit too sour for Viv's liking.  A less aggressive approach to the marinade process would've been more successful.

My daughter continued the trend with 2 appies for herself starting with the Baked Onion Soup.  This came out scorching hot (which was a good thing) topped with the usual crouton and melted cheese.  Often, French onion soup can be rather salty due to the over-aggressive seasoning or reduction of the liquid.  This version was none of that.  Rather, it was sweet and rich from the caramelized onions.  On top, there was plenty of cheese to make it hearty.  Her next dish was the good ol' Caesar Salad featuring whole leaves and fresh-made dressing with anchovies.  This was good as the romaine hearts were crisp and fresh while the dressing exuded a noted anchovy flavor.

As for my son, he had the Beef Carpaccio topped with shaved parmesan and cheese marinated mache lettuce.  Thinly-sliced, the beef was fresh and melted-in-his-mouth.  There was barely any chewing required.  Although the capers and cheese provided some salt and tang, there needed to be even more seasoning as the dish was rather bland.  For his next appie, he had the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail marinated in a garlic and green onion oil.  With this, the cocktail sauce was not even really necessary.  I personally thought that the marinade combined with the cocktail sauce didn't really go.  I would've preferred it just plain with the sauce on the side.  With that being said, the prawns were fantastic having a meaty snap.

For my main, I went for the 18 oz. Grilled Prime Cowboy Ribeye prepared medium-rare.  This was indeed cooked to my specifications and well-rested.  As a result, the meat was juicy and tender.  I got the 3 peppercorn sauce on the side and it was creamy with a light spice.  For my side, I went for the Yukon Gold Mash with wasabi.  It was buttery and really creamy with a notable hint of wasabi.  My daughter decided on the 9 oz. Broiled Filet Mignon also prepared medium-rare.  Since it was such a thick cut, the center was more rare than medium-rare.  That was fine as the meat was moist, well-charred and super tender.  Also well-rested, there was no blood on the plate.  The side of wild mushroom red-wine demi was silky and rich.  For her side, she had the creamed spinach that was not overcooked.

My son opted for the 14 oz. Broiled Prime NY Strip Loin prepared medium-rare (as a family, we do not eat steak cooked more than this).  Again, this was charred nicely and well-rested.  Most of the steak was super-tender, flavorful and buttery.  Some portions had some sinew which was not edible.  For his side, he went for the baked potato complete with butter, sour cream, chives and bacon.  Viv went for some Surf & Turf with half Maine lobster tail and a petite filet mignon.  Both items were perfectly prepared.  The lobster was moist exhibiting a buttery snap while the filet mignon was much like the other steak being charred and medium-rare.  She got the Bearnaise sauce on the side which was creamy, buttery and lightly acidic.

For dessert, I had barely any room in my stomach for the Cheesecake with hazelnut biscuit.  This classic baked New York style cheesecake was rich, creamy and actually somewhat light.  Hence, it didn't eat completely like a NY-style cheesecake, but had the attributes.   I found the sweetness to be restrained while the cheesiness to be ample.  For Viv, she had the Caramelized Washington Apples baked in a puff pastry dome.  This was a visually beautiful tart-like dessert to look at.  It was packed full of tender and sweet apple slices on top of a flaky shell except for the bottom where it was compacted.  It was a little on the sweet side though.

For the kids, they shared the Chocolate Sampler consisting of bittersweet chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream, banana panna cotta topped with date and yogurt sherbert and tiramisu & chocolate marquise topped with banana ice cream.  These were rich and not as sweet as they appeared, especially the bittersweet cake.  The tiramisu was creamy and full of boozy essence.  Overall, the meal at Sun King was good and naturally the service was top notch.  Of course the selection of steaks was better than the main dining room and better quality.  However, as mentioned in my other posts, I thought the steaks in the main dining room were just as good.  Therefore, one could probably be content with that the whole cruise.  But if you want to indulge and be pampered even more so, go ahead and make a reservation at Sun King.


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