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A Dining Review of a Memorable Evening at Le Cirque at Sea

It’s “Culinary Week” at Holland America Line, and we’re celebrating all things food and drink. The diversity of options on a Holland America Line cruise is exceptional, with relaxed dining in the Lido, elegant dining in the Main Dining Room, and alternative dining in the Pinnacle Grill, including An Evening at Le Cirque.

Guests have been praising the menu, ambiance and service as the best at sea, and it’s no surprise with a name like Sirio Maccioni behind the Le Cirque experience. It seems the culinary world agrees with our guests, and May 5 at New York’s Lincoln Center the legendary founder of Le Cirque will be presented with the 2014 James Beard Award for Lifetime Achievement. Congratulations go out to Sirio on this outstanding honor.

For those who have yet to dine at An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill, on virtually every voyage, the Pinnacle Grill transforms for at least one night into a Le Cirque–like atmosphere. On those special evenings, menu offerings, wine selections, table decorations and the restaurant setting is tailored to create an authentic Le Cirque dining experience.

On his recent cruise, travel agent and social media cruise ambassador Scott Lara experienced An Evening at Le Cirque aboard Westerdam. Here are this thoughts on this celebrated dining event.

Imagine for a moment dining in one of the most famous restaurants in New York. A restaurant steeped in notoriety and history. A restaurant that has entertained the rich and famous including Jackie O and former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger.

Now imagine that restaurant being transported to the fleet of Holland America Line for one night per cruise.

Along with my friends Dwight and Connie Cenac (The Cruise Queen) who are 5-Star Holland America Line Mariners, we enjoyed a memorable experience at Le Cirque recently on ms Westerdam during our seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise.

It’s interesting to feel the anticipation of dining in Le Cirque. As you walk by the signs around the ship promoting Le Cirque, you know that you are in store for the dinner experience of a lifetime!

The first thing that we noticed when we entered the Pinnacle Grill on Le Cirque night was the manager at the podium greeting the guests. Smiling faces, sincere heartfelt greetings and a sense of elegance filled the dining room as we walked by the staff while being seated.

Moments after we were seated we were greeted by several of the staff wearing perfectly white uniforms welcoming us to this special night. They seemed genuinely happy we were there and this was just the beginning!

The menus were easy to read and gave us a great idea of what was to come! The choices were expansive and described clearly.

I’ve dined in many upscale restaurants and in some cases it seemed that the staff were anxious to get you in and out quickly. The staff of Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill gave us the time to study the menu and answer all of our questions! This was one of the highlights of the Le Cirque experience.

The Le Cirque menu and china replicate those found in the New York eatery.

The Le Cirque menu and china replicate those found in the New York eatery.

What was interesting as I looked around the room, all of the other guests seemed relaxed, they were smiling and really enjoying the décor, service and the ambiance of Le Cirque night!

I was pleased that our table was large and we had enough “elbow room” to really enjoy the meal.

The waiter took our order and then we started on an incredible journey that is unparalleled on any cruise ship that I’ve ever sailed on.

We started with (duck liver) including rhubarb and saffron jelly to amuse the mouth, compliments of the chef!

Now it was time for the appetizer!

Dwight and Connie chose the Lobster Salad ‘Le Cirque.’ This included poached lobster haricots verts and citrus.

Next we moved to the soup. Dwight and Connie thoroughly enjoyed the Butternut Squash Soup with Huckleberries and Sage Chantilly. I opted for the Chilled Yogurt and Melon Soup with Shrimp. The taste of the food was perfect in every way!

Foie gras, lobster salad and chilled melon soup, courtesy of Scott Lara.

Foie gras, lobster salad and chilled melon soup, courtesy of Scott Lara.

All three of us chose the Chateaubriand that included horseradish flan with sweet and sour beets served tableside! You don’t get to eat Chateaubriand everyday and I can say that it was prepared perfectly!

For dessert, Dwight picked the Creme Brûlée ‘Le Cirque’ while Connie and I did not hesitate to order the remarkable Chocolate Soufflé including vanilla gelato.

The sweet Le Cirque desserts, courtesy of Scott Lara.

The sweet Le Cirque desserts, courtesy of Scott Lara.

Each and every course looked as incredible as it tasted. The presentation of the food was clearly an art form that was appreciated by all three of us at the table.

I noticed that the timing between courses was perfect. I’ve been to so many restaurants where you are waiting for long periods of time for the dishes to be removed and the next course is served. The staff of Le Cirque performed like precision clockwork in transporting our table from course to course. Almost like a Holland America Line ship taking us from port to port!

Even days after our dinner, Dwight and Connie commented to me on more than one occasion that the highlight of the cruise was Le Cirque night in the Pinnacle Grill.

“We loved Le Cirque! An incredible meal and at a great price!” — Dwight and Connie

We will be sailing on the ms Maasdam on March 28, and we will be enjoying Le Cirque night once again on our 14-day southern Caribbean cruise!

Le Cirque is an experience you will remember for a lifetime at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a prestigious New York restaurant. Please reserve your table at Le Cirque on Holland America Line weeks before your ship sails!

Have you experienced Le Cirque on a Holland America Line cruise? Tell us what you loved most about it below.

To read about Scott’s experience on his own blog, click HERE.

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