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Cruise expert gives his verdict on Icon of the Seas’ most expensive restaurant – which costs $200 PER HEAD for three-hour sitting


From langoustine doused with champagne to a large rabbit’s leg and six punchy cocktails, a cruise-goer has shed light on what a $200 fine dining menu on the world’s biggest ship involves. 

Matt Hochberg, who is the founder of the unofficial Royal Caribbean Blog and YouTube channel, checked into the Icon of the Seas’ Empire Supper Club, which prides itself on offering a ‘multi-course journey’ in an ‘intimate’ and ‘sophisticated’ setting. 

Matt filmed his experience at the ship’s New York-inspired restaurant, and he starts by informing viewers that three-hour sittings cost $200 per person and, as there are only 38 seats, it is best to book in advance.

He also adds that a formal dress code is enforced, so men must wear jackets, and although children are welcome, it is not advisable for them to dine as ‘there’s no children’s menu and the menu is fairly regimented in the sense of the choices.’ 

After settling in at his table with a dining companion, Matt’s multi-course extravaganza gets underway. 

Matt Hochberg, who is the founder of the unofficial Royal Caribbean Blog and YouTube channel, checked into the Icon of the Seas' Empire Supper Club

Matt Hochberg, who is the founder of the unofficial Royal Caribbean Blog and YouTube channel, checked into the Icon of the Seas’ Empire Supper Club

To start, he is served an 'amuse bouche,' which consists of a 'small bagel,' topped with cream cheese and caviar. This is then paired with a glass of Moet champagne

To start, he is served an ‘amuse bouche,’ which consists of a ‘small bagel,’ topped with cream cheese and caviar. This is then paired with a glass of Moet champagne

Next up, the cruise-goer tucks into some spicy pecan bread with honey. He explains to viewers: 'I got to say, I like this a lot more than I thought I would'

Next up, the cruise-goer tucks into some spicy pecan bread with honey. He explains to viewers: ‘I got to say, I like this a lot more than I thought I would’

To start, he is served an ‘amuse bouche,’ which consists of a ‘small bagel,’ topped with cream cheese and caviar. This is then paired with a glass of Moet champagne. 

Matt says of the nibble: ‘I actually enjoyed this quite a bit… And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with champagne… And yes, you can get refills.’ 

Next up, the cruise-goer tucks into some spicy pecan bread with honey.

He explains to viewers: ‘I got to say, I like this a lot more than I thought I would. It is essentially bread with some spices on the top. 

‘The bread is kind of thickish… I really enjoyed the consistency [and] adding some butter was absolutely fantastic.’

Moving on to the appetizers, the first dish listed on the menu is a ‘crispy Rockefeller oyster.’

For those who don’t eat oysters, there is the option of swapping the mollusk out for a quinoa salad which comes served with avocado and beets. 

The first cocktail pairing comes in the form of a Staten Island Spritz, which Matt says consists of a mix of Tito’s vodka, Campari liquor, limoncello, orange juice and champagne.

Moving on to the appetizers, the first dish listed on the menu consists of 'crispy Rockefeller oyster'

Moving on to the appetizers, the first dish listed on the menu consists of ‘crispy Rockefeller oyster’

The first cocktail pairing comes in the form of a Staten Island Spritz, which Matt says consists of a mix of Tito's vodka, Campari liquor, limoncello, orange juice and champagne

The first cocktail pairing comes in the form of a Staten Island Spritz, which Matt says consists of a mix of Tito’s vodka, Campari liquor, limoncello, orange juice and champagne

Dinner sittings at Icon of the Seas' Empire Supper Club cost $200 per person

Dinner sittings at Icon of the Seas’ Empire Supper Club cost $200 per person

Offering his verdict on the libation, he says: ‘It certainly was a pretty looking drink and it’s not as sweet as I would have thought it was going to be.

‘I certainly would prefer to have a little more flavor. I thought it was a little on the bland side. Not that it’s bad, just not as potent as I thought it was going to be.’

The second appetizer, Matt notes, is a favorite among dinners – a ‘raviolo’ topped with an egg yolk, spinach and parmesan sauce.

He describes the concoction as ‘interesting,’ but notes that he is ‘not a big fan of egg yolks,’ so he isn’t as enthused about it.

Accompanying the pasta dish is a cocktail called the Blood and Sand, containing scotch, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth and orange. 

Matt says he ‘could have had a couple of these to say the least.’

The restaurant has a formal dress code, so men must wear jackets, and although children are welcome, it is not advisable for them to dine as 'there's no children's menu'

The restaurant has a formal dress code, so men must wear jackets, and although children are welcome, it is not advisable for them to dine as ‘there’s no children’s menu’

After settling in at his table with a dining companion, Matt's multi-course extravaganza gets underway

After settling in at his table with a dining companion, Matt’s multi-course extravaganza gets underway

The second appetizer, Matt says, is a favorite among dinners, with a 'raviolo' topped with an egg yolk, spinach and parmesan sauce

The second appetizer, Matt says, is a favorite among dinners, with a ‘raviolo’ topped with an egg yolk, spinach and parmesan sauce

For the third appetizer, a serving of langoustine sails over with a butter and champagne sauce while saffron risotto is served as an alternative. 

Matt says the yellow-hued Italian rice dish was one of his favorite overall.

To go with both options, the server produces a gin-based cocktail called East of Houston, which Matt deems ‘refreshing.’

The final appetizer comes in the form of a Caesar salad, which Matt says looks ‘too pretty to eat,’ with butterflies made out of parmesan crisps and a ‘crouton arch.’

Despite its artistic guise, Matt takes the plunge and tells viewers he ‘enjoyed every bite.’

For the third appetizer, there was a serving of langoustine with a butter and champagne sauce

For the third appetizer, there was a serving of langoustine with a butter and champagne sauce

The final appetizer came in the form of a Caesar salad, which Matt said looked 'too pretty to eat,' with butterflies made out of parmesan crisps and a 'crouton arch'

The final appetizer came in the form of a Caesar salad, which Matt said looked ‘too pretty to eat,’ with butterflies made out of parmesan crisps and a ‘crouton arch’

Matt found the rabbit dish a little chewy and he opted for seabass instead

Matt found the rabbit dish a little chewy and he opted for seabass instead

Diving into the main course section after a sorbet palate cleanser, there is a choice of three dishes, with the options being a Wagyu ribeye steak, leg of rabbit or Chilean seabass.

Matt says, depending on the main course you choice, the drink will vary. 

Ranking the main course dishes, he says the steak was ‘really good’ but ‘a little on the small side,’ while the rabbit was ‘chewy’ and hard to cut through. 

The seabass, however, is the winning creation with a great ‘tenderness and flavor’ and no fishy notes. 

Rounding things out, there are two desserts, with a white chocolate cheesecake and a ‘chocolate beehive,’ which features a trio of ganache layers with a salted caramel toffee, honey tuile.

Accompanying the sweet course is Matt’s favorite drink of them all, the Toasted Almond cocktail. 

Diving into the main course section, there was a choice of three dishes, with one option being a Wagyu ribeye steak. He says the steak was 'really good' but 'a little on the small side'

Diving into the main course section, there was a choice of three dishes, with one option being a Wagyu ribeye steak. He says the steak was ‘really good’ but ‘a little on the small side’

The seabass was the winning dish with a great 'tenderness and flavor' and no fishy notes

The seabass was the winning dish with a great ‘tenderness and flavor’ and no fishy notes

He explains that the libation, which features vodka, Kahlua, Amaretto, heavy cream and grated nutmeg, is not available elsewhere on the ship and it is exclusive to the restaurant.  

Just when he thinks the feast is over, the chefs surprise Matt with a ‘chocolate tree,’ fashioned out of chocolate and cotton candy.

Summing up the fancy dining experience, he concludes: ‘Essentially, this is the kind of place where, if you’re celebrating something special… and you want to have some time alone, boy what a great place to enjoy a special meal.

‘There were special touches that really made the Empire stand out… If you want to go to the restroom, you’re actually going to be escorted by one of the waiters. 

‘If you have a purse, they actually have a special holder for it that goes on the side of the table. 

Rounding things out, there were two desserts, with a white chocolate cheesecake being one of the choices

Rounding things out, there were two desserts, with a white chocolate cheesecake being one of the choices

The 'chocolate beehive,' featured a trio of ganache layers with a salted caramel toffee, honey tuile

The ‘chocolate beehive,’ featured a trio of ganache layers with a salted caramel toffee, honey tuile

Just when he thought the feast was over, Matt reveals he was surprised by the chefs with a 'chocolate tree'

Just when he thought the feast was over, Matt reveals he was surprised by the chefs with a ‘chocolate tree’

‘When you book the Empire Supper Club, you’ll receive an actual letter in your cabin with an envelope and stamped wax with your invitation on when to arrive. 

‘So is the Empire star Club worth $200 a person? Well, of course it’s a splurge but I will point out [one thing] that might make the decision a little bit easier for you. 

‘The fact that you’re getting at least eight drinks included with the $200 is not bad. 

‘Royal Caribbean charges, for a cocktail, somewhere between $10 and $14 on board its ship and that’s before gratuity. So, if you multiply out [with] just the drinks, you’re coming out to about $84 which leaves $116 for appetizers desserts the main course and, of course, entertainment. 

‘If you think about it that way, it’s really not bad value.’

‘The Empire Supper Club is probably not a restaurant you want to eat at every day of your cruise but I think it is absolutely a must try, at least once.

‘I thought the rabbit was a little bit chewy [but] overall I think it is worth the money. I think it’s a really cool option, something different.’



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