Guest Roland recently sailed on Eurodam and dined three times in the Pinnacle Grill, emjoying three unique culinary experiences offered in the restaurant: the “classic” Pinnacle Grill, An Evening at Le Cirque and Taste of De Librije. Each menu features different flavors and settings tailored to the theme, but all with the same elegant atmosphere and excellent service that make the Pinnacle Grill an award-winning alternative dining option. For a nominal surcharge, guests can enjoy a menu developed by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin in the Pinnacle Grill, savor the culinary creations of celebrity chef Sirio Maccioni in “An Evening at Le Cirque: at Sea” or dine on Culinary Council member, and renowned Dutch Chef, Johnnie Boer’s signature dishes.
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Everyone has a favorite restaurant, a place you return to for the ambiance, service and food. You might have two or three favorite dishes or even have tried everything on the menu. But it’s rare that anyone’s favorite restaurant offers three unique menus reflecting three completely different approaches to fine cuisine.
My new favorite restaurant, the Pinnacle Grill on Holland America’s Eurodam, does offer three very different dining experiences in the same place.
On a recent Holland America Canada/New England cruise I had the opportunity to try the aptly-named Pinnacle Grill’s Northwestern-inspired menu, the post-modern Dutch De Librije fare and New York’s famed French-themed Le Cirque dining experience — all within the space of a week — at a fraction of the cost of comparable meals ashore.
Each meal was accompanied by a select wine flight matched to each course. Consult the wine steward for optimal pairings.
If you’re in the mood for a real hunk of steak, the Pinnacle Grill is the place to indulge your carnivore tendencies. The menu features an 18- to 20-ounce bone-in ribeye or porterhouse steak, as well as a 16-ounce boneless ribeye.
Having indulged in prime rib (end cut) in the Rembrandt Dining Room the previous evening, I opted for a seafood meal.
For a starter, I selected the Pinnacle Ocean Platter, with lightly smoked thinly sliced salmon carpaccio, warm salmon and sea scollops with a wasabi cream on the plate. It was a nice, light appetizer plate.
For my main course I went with the plank-grilled halibut steak and shrimp scampi with a garlic herbed butter dressing on the side. The Pinnacle Grill uses a special 1,500-degree grill that sears the outside and keeps the inside moist on its steaks and grilled seafood. The halibut steak was delicious — an excellent combination of crispy grilled on the outside and flaky tender white meat on the inside.
The perfect finish was a sorbet flight.
Playful Le Cirque
The first clue that we were going to have a lighthearted dining experience were the monkey-adorned china that awaited us at An Evening at Le Cirque at the Pinnacle Grill.
The Le Cirque evening seeks to replicate the atmosphere and cuisine of Sirio Maccioni’s famed Le Cirque restaurant in New York City. Besides the playful china, the lighted art coves featuring Dutch artwork were covered with white panels sporting abstract ellipses and circles to alter the atmosphere of the restaurant.
I selected the reinterpreted Caesar salad as a starter, which is made with a traditional dressing with anchovies. One of my table mates asked to substitute a regular green salad, but was informed by the waiter that, due to copyright rules, no substitutions of the Le Cirque menu were allowed.
I went with the rack of lamb that was nicely complemented by a goat cheese panisse, artichoke and arugula. My table mate ordered the chicken cooked under a Tuscan brick, which looked very good. Others tried the three-cheese ravioli and chateaubriand. Everyone was happy with their selections.
And, of course, for dessert, we did the famous Le Cirque Creme Brulée.
The De Librije dining experience was a complete departure from the Pinnacle Grill or Le Cirque menus.
Created by Holland America Line Culinary Arts Council member Jonnie Boer, whose Michelin three-star restaurant, De Librije in Zwolle, Netherlands, features modern innovative dishes and reinvented classics. To emphasize the difference, the wait staff sported black suits and charcoal-gray shirts, a change from the brilliant whites of the previous meals.
The amuse bouche — a North Sea scallop served in a tiny bowl with black garlic pearls and smoked celeriac juice — set the tone for the meal: we weren’t in Kansas anymore!
At the waiter’s suggestion, I opted for the chef’s suggested menu, which turned out to be a lineup of the most creative dishes on the menu.
It started with Oysters on the Beach, with oysters sheltered under foie gras with a sauce of olloroso sherry and ginger, with pickled beet chunks and “sea foam” rounding out the presentation.
The Lobster Bisque Foam was superb, with Alaska king crab chunks and brioche croutons complemented by a tarragon infusion.
The main course was North Sea Turbot with Iberico Ham on a bed of creamed potatoes and topped with morel mushrooms. The whole thing came rather precariously stacked, but turned out to be a very intriguing set of flavors and textures that was better than I had anticipated.
I am usually not a big dessert person, but when one has a chance to play with one’s food, it adds a whole new dimension. The Deconstructed Apple Pie is served on a white plate in little piles representing the individual ingredients one might find in an apple pie, that is, if you have it a la mode with vanilla gelato and Chantilly-style cream. There was even what appeared to be a star anise made from chocolate. Basically, you mix everything together and create your own pie in your mouth. It did not disappoint.
Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang said that eating is “the first enjoyment of life.” At the Pinnacle Grill on Eurodam, you can have your “first enjoyment” three times three different ways.