Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chef's Table • Rhapsody of the Seas

During my time on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas, I was given the opportunity to dine at Chef's Table on board the ship. Chef's Table is a fine dining experience given to their cruisers where we are able to have an intimate 7-course dinner where the chef would explain how each dish was made. This included wine pairings for each course that was chosen by the cruise's sommelier. With a maximum of 12 people allowed for each dinner, this was truly a very special dining experience that I won't forget.

We were greeted by Anastacio, Rhapsody's sommelier in the Centrium and started off with a glass of champagne to relax before dinner. Shortly after, we walked through the Eliweisse dining room to get to the special room that would host Chef's Table. With 3 big round windows on the left and a long table in the middle, we sat down at the gorgeous set up and awaited for our meal to start.

After a couple introductions, we were given an amuse-bouche, a little bite to open up your senses and get your stomach ready for what was about to go down. It was a spoonful of crab meat mixed with crudo dressing placed on top of an ice wine jelly. Topped with a bit of seaweed salad, this was a delicious start to our meal.

The first course was Hearts of Palm, which was a simple salad made with avocado, tomatoes, arugula, cilantro, leeks, and heart of palms. As described by the chef, we were told that although this dish was very simple (all you need to do is chop up the ingredients, basically), the most important part of this dish was the champagne dressing. Made with lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and champagne. I love avocado anything, and with the champagne dressing, it was a great refreshing start to our meal. This salad was paired with a sauvingnon blanc from Nobilo - what a sweet, refreshing citrus wine!

Second was a Sweet Pea Soup, paired with a glass of white zinfandel from Beringer. I love soup, but I've never been surprised about how good a soup was until I had this pea soup. It was so smooth and rich in flavour, and the bacon was so soft! I've never given a second thought to how well a piece of bacon could pair with a pea soup.

Next up was the Butter Poached Lobster in a caviar beurre blanc sauce. This was one of my favourite courses of our dining experience. The lobster was so soft and tender, and when coated in the sauce, it was absolutely delicious. This dish was paired with a Penfold chardonnay, a South Australia wine. We got to enjoy seeing the sun set while sipping on this wine.

The fourth course was a tease of some of the best Braised Short Rib Ravioli I've had. I say 'tease' because we only got three pieces! The stuffing is a delicious mixture of braised short ribs, parmesan cheese, and marscapone cheese. This dish was paired with a pinot noir from California.

And then it was time for our main dish of the night: Prime Beef Tenderloin. Apparently the best things comes in threes, because we got three pieces of this tenderloin! It came with a side of garlic, buttery mashed potatoes (ugh so good), asparagus, and mushrooms. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, these pieces of meat were so tender and melted in my mouth. It was paired with a cabernet sauvignon from Clos du Bois in California.

All good things come to an end. A sweet ending to our Chef's Table dining experience was this dessert plate called the Chocolate Sabotage - chocolate ganache, a chocolate mousse duo, a chocolate lava cake, and vanilla ice cream, paired with a port from Portugal.

The above photo is our host, Anastacio, being super excited about the port wine. We had such a great time at this intimate dinner with Anastacio and the chef. Chef's Table is one of the specialty dining options aboard Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas. If you are celebrating something while you're cruising, I would highly recommend making a reservation at Chef's Table - you will be in for a treat! The food is superb, the wine is paired perfectly, and the dining experience itself is something you can't get anywhere else. And if my blog post didn't convince you, please tell me why in the comments below, because I'm already wishing I was back on Rhapsody having this meal again just by looking at my photos!
In addition to Chef's Table, Rhapsody also has three other dining options: Chop's Grille, Giovanni's Table, and Izumi.
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