Sherman's Food Adventures: The Local (NCL Bliss)

The Local (NCL Bliss)

Beyond the 3 main dining rooms that include Savor, Taste and the Manhattan Room as well as the Garden Cafe and Observatory, there is only one other complimentary restaurant aboard the NCL Bliss.  That would be The Local which is located in the middle of the ship overlooking the atrium.  At first glance, the place looks like a gastropub, although the menu is more traditional pub food.  Since I wanted to try as many venues as possible, we decided to try it for lunch on the first sea day.  

For our appies, we ended up sharing a few things including the Buffalo Chicken Wings and Pretzel Bites.  Served as a half-dozen, the wings were pretty large and plump.  Even though the skin was fried crispy, the meat itself stayed moist.  I would’ve liked to see the skin more rendered though, but that might’ve dried out the meat as well.  As for the buffalo sauce, it was much sweeter than we would’ve expected.  There wasn't the usual vinegary heat we normally associate with buffalo wings.  To be blunt, we really didn’t enjoy the pretzel bites as they were super dense and cold.  After one bite, we gave up on these.  On the side, there was a beer cheese fondue that was a bit thin and salty.

The Spinach & Artichoke Dip was barely any better.  There was plenty of spinach, but not a whole lot of artichoke.  As for that spinach, it needed to be cut into smaller pieces because we could’ve even pick it up with a chip.  The dip was far too watery and starchy rather than cheesy.  It was as if they used thickened milk rather than cheese.  At the very least, the tortilla chips were crispy.  For my main, I decided on the Blue Burger featuring blue cheese, spicy sweet tomato chutney, lettuce and tomato.  This was not bad compared to the previous 2 dishes.  The large beef patty was moist and juicy while the blue cheese really came through with sharpness.  Not sure if the chutney was actually spicy though.  Bun was toasted up nicely.

My daughter ended up with the Coney Island Hot Dog sporting melted cheese, chili and onions.  Nothing particularly complex here with a fairly large hot dog within a toasted bun.  The chili wasn't spicy, yet well-seasoned.  Tender morsels of meat made the hot dog rather robust and filling.  Side of fries were hot and crunchy.  Viv ordered the Turkey Pot Pie which was average at best.  It was not very thick which was good, but the viscosity was a bit off.  Rather than being creamy, the pot pie was starchy and sweet.  It was also short on ingredients.  The flaky pastry was pretty good though as it was super crispy and light.

My son went for the Baked Ziti with meatballs, tomato ricotta sauce and mozzarella cheese.  This was also just okay as the dish seemed slapped together rather than being cohesive.  The sauce wasn't very rich and the pasta seemed lonely with a lack of flavor and enough sauce adhering to it.  It could've stood to be baked a bit longer too for some charring of the cheese and drying out of the dish as a whole (there was water at the bottom).  As you can tell, we weren't that excited with the food we had at The Local.  Yes, it was complimentary, but then again, it further proved that the paid restaurants are a better choice.

The Good:
- No extra charge
- Good location near the Atrium
- Food comes out quick (not sure if that is a good thing though)

The Bad:
- Suspect fast food masquerading at pub food
- Servers were indifferent

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