Sherman's Food Adventures: Cagney's Steakhouse (NCL Bliss)

Cagney's Steakhouse (NCL Bliss)

After our solid specialty restaurant experience at Le Bistro (not surprising as we've done it twice before on previous NCL cruises), we were looking forward to our dinner at Cagney’s.  For those who aren’t familiar with NCL’s specialty restaurants, Cagney’s is another one of their longstanding offerings.  This is their classic steakhouse featuring all of the usual options including appetizers and sides.  We’ve had it once before aboard the Pride of America and came away pleased.  With that in mind, we had the same expectations this time around.

Packed and super busy, Cagney’s was much more popular than Le Bistro possibly because who doesn’t love a good ol’ American steakhouse?  We ended up trying almost all of their appetizer options including the Iceberg Wedge Salad.  Interestingly, the lettuce did not resemble a wedge, rather it was a half-dome.  Regardless, it was fresh and crisp.  I liked that they didn’t overdress the salad and there was plenty of blue cheese.  We found the Ahi Tuna Tartare was a bit on the bland side even though there was the promise of wasabi, pickled ginger and green onions.  The tuna was buttery and meaty but could’ve used more seasoning.  The lattice chips on top were crispy and went well with the soft tuna.

One of their signature dishes is the Lumb Crab Cake with lemon mustard cream and radish salad.  After several orders, we could see why.  The large freshly made disc was full of crab and no filler.  Fluffy and full of appealing crab texture, this was only lightly seared for color.  The natural briny sweetness of the crab was highlighted even though the creamy sauce did add some acidity.  This was better than many of the "on land" restaurants I've been too.  We also enjoyed their Lobster Bisque as it was purposefully salty (without being overly so) and featured the classic aroma of lobster.  This was amped even further with chunks of lobster.  It wasn't too thick either, so it wasn't too heavy or cumbersome to eat.

One of the more surprising appies was the Slow-roasted Pork Belly with apple cider marinade and honey soy sauce.  It not only looked appealing with a caramelized glazed exterior, it was also texturally on point.  With just enough fat and plenty of tender meat, the buttery pork belly practically melted-in-our-mouths.  Furthermore, it was perfectly balanced between sweet and savory.  Something rather classic was the Prawn Cocktail.  It featured 3 giant prawns that were prepared properly.  Meaty, de-veined and naturally sweet, there really wasn't the need for the cocktail sauce.  However, we did use it because it added the usual sweet tanginess as well as a bite from the horseradish.

For our steaks, I went big with the 20oz Porterhouse prepared medium-rare.  It was mostly that except for some of the edges of the striploin portion.  I found the meat to be tender with the filet side to be more buttery (as expected).  Since this was not a very big porterhouse as it was more of a T-bone, the filet was pretty small.  The striploin was also tender but much meatier where it was not as soft as I would’ve liked.  My daughter had the second biggest steak in the 16oz Roasted Prime Rib.  She also requested medium-rare and it was perfectly so.  This was one of the better dishes as the meat was melt-in-her-mouth tender.  It was also well-seasoned where the rub had penetrated the meat.  As you can see in the picture, the meat was pretty uniformly medium-rare throughout indicating proper preparation.

My son decided on his favorite cut being the 10oz Striploin cooked to medium-rare.  This was prepared properly and more evenly than my steak.  Of course being only one cut and uniformly thick, this was an easier task.  However, it was similar to mine as it was meaty and decently tender but not as much as he would’ve liked.  There was a nice sear and his Maitre’d butter was a good compliment.  Viv had something smaller in the 5oz Tenderloin.  It was textbook medium-rare where it was buttery soft.  Being a tenderloin steak, it wasn’t as flavourful as the other cuts, but the Bearnaise helped provided some fattiness.  I kept making fun of her 5oz compared to my 20oz which made her give me the death stare...

My mom had the Surf and Turf consisting of the same 5oz tenderloin as well as a skewer of prawns.  The steak was exactly like Viv’s in terms of execution and texture.  She also had the Bearnaise, which was necessary in my opinion due to the leanness of tenderloin.  The prawns were appealingly grilled where there was a nutty caramelization on the outside.  Texturally, they were meaty with a sweet snap.  Moving away from steaks, my dad had the Fisherman’s Platter.  This consisted of shrimp, scallops, calamari, branzino and crab cake with mustard remoulade and sweet chili dip.  He asked for it to be grilled and all of the seafood was pretty much on point.  Of course, the crab cake was exactly as good as the appie portion.

We decided to get all of the Sides including truffle mashed potatoes, parmesan truffle fries, onion rings, cheesy soft polenta, broccoli, creamed corn, mushrooms and mac n’ cheese.  The highlights included the creamy soft polenta and the plump corn. It was not overcooked where the sweet pops were welcomed.  I thought the fries were pretty mediocre as they weren’t that crunchy and the mashed potatoes could’ve been more flavorful.  Broccoli and mushrooms were cooked right while the onion rings were crunchy.

Onto dessert, Viv and I shared the 7-Layer Chocolate Cake served with vanilla ice cream.  This looked impressive at the table beside us which lead us to ordering it.  Good decision as it was really good.  Each layer was soft and fluffy with enough moisture while not being wet.  The cake was chocolaty without being overly sweet.  I’m not sure where they get their ice cream from, but it was not that smooth.  My daughter went for the Chocolate Brownie which was beautifully plated.  Yet, that was the only positive thing about it as it was rather dry and too dense (even for a brownie).  It was predictably sweet, but it was full of chocolate flavor.

My mom decided on the Butterscotch Cheesecake with caramel sauce.  It was also nicely plated and the cheesecake itself was textbook.  Appealingly dense and creamy, it was full of cheese essence and flavor.  It was very sweet though due to the butterscotch.  That in itself wasn’t very appetizing to me, yet at the same time, I can see how some people with a higher sweetness tolerance enjoying this.  My dad shared the Raspberry Creme Brulee with my mom (she has a sweet tooth) and it was also pretty textbook. The custard had the ideal viscosity and exhibited plenty of raspberry within it.  The sweetness was purposeful and the sugar topping was perfectly torched.  So other than a few small issues here and there, Cagney's delivered as a steakhouse.  The meats were prepared right and the appies were tasty.  Definitely recommended as a choice if you have a dining package.

The Good:
- On point preparation of steaks
- Solid appies
- That crab cake...

The Bad:
- Some sides were meh


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