One of my favorite restaurant meals I’ve had as a food writer in New York City was at Geoffrey Zakarian’s The Lambs Club. Tucked inside the Chatwal Hotel on W. 44th Street, his kitchen turned out interesting, perfectly cooked modern American dishes like dry aged ribeye steaks, fresh diver scallops and house made pastas.
So when reserving specialty dining options on Norwegian Breakaway, the Iron Chef’s Ocean Blue restaurant was at the top of my list. But was the meal worth the extra $39 per person cover charge?
From Manhattan to Norwegian Cruise Line
As soon as you enter Zakarian’s Ocean Blue on board Breakaway, you notice the intimacy of the 58-seat dining room. A welcome respite from the clatter of the more crowded complimentary eating options, Ocean Blue is an oasis whose decor is simple and clean with wood accents, white tablecloths, and window-side seating. Unlike some of the other specialty dining options available on board, you are limited to one dish from each of the three courses: an appetizer, a main, and a dessert but trust me, you won’t walk away hungry.
What's for Dinner at Ocean Blue
Ocean Blue’s menu offers a variety of seafood dishes influenced by a multitude of cultures, from Indian and Thai to Chinese and Italian. So you could go around the world in a single meal, starting with a beautifully composed beet salad accompanied by Florida pink shrimp and smoked trout roe, then moving on to lightly roasted sea scallops with grapefruit, fried white anchovies and caramelized pork belly, before finishing with a bergamot tea panna cotta. If you feel like you need something a bit more hefty, go ahead and order the grilled Delmonico steak or the roast peking duck entrees. Add a bottle from the ample wine list, and though you may be hundreds of nautical miles from the food capital of the world, you will be taken right back to the sophistication of Manhattan’s high-end culinary scene. The main difference? Your bill will only come out to a fraction of the price you’d see in his midtown eatery.
So, is it worth it? It is, indeed. And in fact, it’s actually a bargain.
Update – August 2015
Earlier this year, Norwegian Cruse Line’s partnership with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian to operate specialty restaurant Ocean Blue on Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway ended quietly. Ocean Blue will continue to charge $39 per person until October 3, 2015, when they will begin offering a-la-carte items.
This is the official statement issued to us by Norwegian Cruise Line.
“After several successful years, Norwegian’s engagement with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian concluded earlier this year. Geoffrey has been a great partner and we are very appreciative of his work to create a luxury dining experience on our newest vessels.
Ocean Blue restaurant on both Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway continues to offer the outstanding culinary experience that our guests have come to love, now with an expanded menu. Ocean Blue on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway will also begin offering à la carte options on October 3, 2015.
As a brand, we are investing heavily to evolve our onboard dining experiences to keep our menu offerings on-trend, contemporary and delicious.”