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Cruise Diary: Le Cirque Dining

Award-winning author and writer Jeanette Hurt was cruising the Baltic on Prinsendam with her entire family to watch her parents renew their vows. Enjoy her words and her husband (and professional photographer) Kyle Edwards’ photos. You can also follow her on Twitter @JHurtAuthor or www.jeanettehurt.com.

I loved both my meals at the Pinnacle Grill. My baby spinach salad with warm bacon dressing was delicious, the trio of crème brulee was amazing, Kyle’s lobster bisque was to die for, and the service was unparalleled.

That said, I loved – LOVED – my dinner at Le Cirque even more. The starter – a fois gras mousse over a rhubarb gelee was light yet savory, and paired with a glass of champagne, it was the sort of amuse bouche that you’d want to make a meal of. It hinted at the layers of flavor that were to come.

Eric, our able and attentive server, suggested the lobster salad. One of the most elegantly presented salads I’ve ever enjoyed, a perfectly poached lobster tail rested on a bed of bibb lettuce, surrounded by circles of avocado, potato and dressing, along with three miniature sticks of green beans. The Sicilian Chardonnay matched the richness of the lobster, and each bite and sip enhanced the experience even more.

Lobster Salad HAL Pinnacle Grill 4

The butternut squash soup served with a huckleberry compote and sage crème fraiche was a savory-sweet taste sensation. As Eric directed, to fully enjoy the soup, one must mix the crème fraiche, the soup, and the compote together, as the sour berries balanced the sweet nuttiness of the bisque. Each layer of flavor was artfully composed and executed, and though it seemed simple, the culinary expertise to arrange this dish was most expert, indeed. (A side note: When we toured the galley, we encountered Chef Daniel Yueh, as he worked to make the huckleberry compote we enjoyed…he was working on that compote a good two days before this amazing meal so I can only imagine the other prep work that went into this entire culinary experience.)

For the entrees, I chose the seared black cod, served over a red wine reduction and leek fondue; Kyle chose the lamb chops. Both were amazing. As with the soup, I was directed to make sure each bite contained a bit of cod, a bit of wine reduction and a touch of fondue. Creamy yet meaty, sweet yet savory, this was one fish dish to remember. And, Kyle just loved his lamb chops. Both the Merlot and the Chardonnay paired well with my fish, but the Sicilian Merlot went better with Kyle’s lamb chops.

HAL Pinnacle Grill 3 HAL Le Cirque 3

For a finale, we both enjoyed the chocolate soufflé, served with a side of vanilla gelato. I haven’t had a soufflé this delicious since I ate soufflés in Paris at Le Soufflé restaurant. The chocolate soufflé was dark and warm and just sweetened enough by the gelato. I wanted a second helping, but I was filled. This is a meal I will dream about.

HAL Le Cirque 4

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