Review: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian on the Norwegian Breakaway
By Austin Gambino, Marketing Assistant, The Cruise Web, Inc.
When I realized I was lucky enough to be attending the two-day preview cruise of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway, I knew my first priority was going to be Ocean Blue, Geoffrey Zakarian’s newest restaurant.
For those of you who live under a rock, Geoffrey Zakarian is a Food Network Star and restaurateur, boasting culinary establishments in the likes of Atlantic City (The Water Club), New York City (The Lambs Club), and now on the Norwegian Breakaway. He even mentioned at the Norwegian Breakaway christening that he trained the kitchen staff himself.
It was well-known that it would be difficult to secure reservations at Ocean Blue, so my friend and I arrived at the port at 10:50 a.m. (boarding didn’t begin until 11:00 a.m.), and immediately headed for the Guest Services desk. We were met with disappointment, as the fine dining establishment was already booked for both days. Determined to be a part of the Zakarian experience, we showed up Friday night in our finest garb and proceeded to convince Fiorella, the lovely hostess, to seat us outside for an early supper.
The outside deck was a delightful dining area for a cool, breezy night. After I answered a few questions for Cruise Director, Julie Valeriote, during an impromptu live interview, my friend and I ordered some Pinot Noir and got ready for a dining experience to remember. After ordering appetizers, we were moved inside to the most prominent table in the restaurant, what a treat!
I wanted to share my incredible experience with you, by detailing the wonderful cuisine I was able to try at Ocean Blue.
First Course (Appetizers):
Grilled Prawn Panzanella/Heirloom Tomatoes/ Cucumber-Chili Vinaigrette
This starter breathed new life into a summer classic, the Panzanella salad. More of a seafood caprese than a summer salad, it featured lightly fried cubes of grilled prawn, soft kalamata olives, and juicy heirloom tomatoes soaked in the aforementioned vinaigrette. Refreshing, tasty, and unique.
Beef Tartare/Mustard Dressing/Chips
The ribbon-like texture of the delicious beef tartare and the tart mustard dressing contrasted with the crunchy kettle-style potato chips for a lip-smacking combination.
Risotto of Jonah Crab/Hon Shimeji Mushroom/Parmesan Reggiano/Olive Oil
As you can see from the picture above, this dish was masterfully done. What you may not know is that the incredibly cooked al dente rice was the perfect opposition for the creamy Parmesan, mushroom, and Jonah Crab mixture.
Raspberry Paté Sea Salted Fruit/Chocolate Cookie/Dark Chocolate Truffle
Unfortunately I dove headfirst into this final course without stopping to take a picture. The fruit was a firm yet jelly-like texture and complimented the rich dark chocolate truffle and crispy cookie. The sea salt really made the dish though, offering a contradiction to the rich and deep chocolate and raspberry.
10 out of 10. That being said, we really got the five-star treatment. The service was perfectly balanced between attending to our every need and allowing us the space and time to enjoy our cuisine. After being moved inside to the main dining room, the view of the surrounding area (678 Ocean Place) was fantastic, and the atmosphere was calm, relaxed, and full of cheer. To top it all off, Geoffrey made his way to our table towards the end of our entrees. He was a consummate gentleman, discussing the intricacies of the menu and experience before courteously excusing himself to put his children to sleep.
I strongly suggest reserving this specialty dining venue ahead of time if you are booked for a Norwegian Breakaway cruise in her inaugural season. Geoffrey Zakarian’s Ocean Blue was all that I hoped for, and so much more.
Have you had the opportunity to dine at Ocean Blue, or are scheduling it in the near future? Comment below and tell us what you thought of the restaurant, or which of my dishes sounds the most delicious!