When I cruised on the Norwegian Sky in July 2018, one of the things I worried about was the quality of the complimentary dining options. I already posted about the buffet on Youtube, and I will write posts soon about breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. The complementary options were fine, but they weren’t great. Dining is a key part of the my cruise experience, so I booked a specialty dining package. On the first night, I went to Le Bistro. Le Bistro is the French specialty restaurant on most NCL ships. My meal was superb, and it was definitely worth the upcharge.
Le Bistro is probably the most formal space on the Norwegian Sky. When I arrived, there was a white napkin on my place setting. They immediately took it away and replaced it with a black napkin which was laid on my lap. As with any formal restaurant, there was never a blank place in front of me. There is no dress code to eat there, but everything else about the setting suggests how hard NCL is working to create a formal dining environment.
My menu contained one sharp disappointment. This was a French restaurant, so I was expecting to order very good wine. However, no wine was included with the open bar package. Very few wines were available by the glass. There were some reasonable choices, but the wine list didn’t match the place where I was eating. I don’t have a good picture of the wine list, but it was just… fine. The dinner menu, on the other hand, presented some excellent possibilities.
I ordered the grilled asparagus, mushroom soup, and roasted rack of lamb. Before any of that came, they brought me fresh bread. I have no idea how they baked excellent, fresh bread at sea, but they did. Apparently, however, that wasn’t going to be enough. They also brought me an amuse bouche of a salmon paste and toast points. I really, really didn’t think I would like that. It turns out that I did. Before I could finish that, they brought my asparagus appetizer.
The asparagus was excellent. A couple of the ends were tough, but it was generally quite tender. Asparagus pairs well with orange hollandaise, as well. Who knew? As I was finishing that, however, my waiter brought me my next course. Besides the lack of wine choices or a proper wine steward, that was the only real problem with the meal. They almost seemed in a rush to get food to me. The pacing could have been better. Indeed, I still hadn’t received my glass of wine at this point.
The next course was the cream of mushroom soup. I saw this happen at Le Cirque and one or two other places, and I liked the touch– the poured the soup into my bowl at the table. I enjoyed the presentation very much. The cream itself was a little dark and heavy, but I enjoyed the soup very much. I preferred the same dish in the steakhouse on the Liberty of the seas, but it was still very good.
The real highlight of the meal was the lamb. This was simply superb. The lamb was cooked perfectly, and the green olive sauce did a great job of complementing it. I am embarrassed about what I did, but I am pretty sure I would do it again. After my knife and fork took me as far as they could, I picked the lamb up by the bone to make sure I finished it. While that behavior seems more appropriate to Cooper’s than to Le Bistro, I defend my choice. I would do it again.
Shortly after finishing my lamb, my waiter asked if I would like dessert. If I were a cartoon character, a bubble would have appeared above my head saying, “I guess I’ll just be fat.” I wasn’t hungry at all, but I decided to give it a shot. I ordered the creme brulee and a cappucino. They were both excellent. What I particularly enjoyed about the dessert is that it was heavily flavored with vanilla bean. That worked very well in this dish.
This meal was a great way to start my cruise. I also ate at the Italian restaurant and the steakhouse on board, and I will write about those meals separately. It was worth ordering the dining package, and I would definitely eat here again.