Archive for September, 2010
The subject of my blog is Allure of the Seas and I am supposed to limit my comments to this topic. However, I have just had another review of our school project in Haiti and I am enthused about that. So, since it is my blog and I can do what I want, I have decided to share a little of my excitement even though Haiti has little relevance to Allure other than the fact that Allure will call on our private destination at Labadee. (more…)
“It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.”
Part of the heavy burden I have to shoulder is the need to do extensive testing of our new culinary offerings. A year ago, we were making final preparations for opening the cupcake cupboard onboard OASIS OF THE SEAS and I fulfilled my responsibility by participating in extensive testing of the cupcakes we planned to offer. One has to do what one has to do!
And this year, I feel equally obliged to test the menu for the new Samba Grill being constructed onboard ALLURE OF THE SEAS. As a reminder, on OASIS, in the aft part of the beautiful Solarium, we have a wonderful Solarium Bistro which serves healthy entrées all day. That Bistro has been extremely successful for breakfast and lunch and we regularly receive rave reviews from our guests. BUT, unfortunately, it has been less successful for dinner. Those who go to it have been very happy, but too few people go to it in the evening. As a solid meat-and-potatoes man myself, I am not surprised. The idea of a restaurant whose entrées are all less than 500 calories looks great on paper, but isn’t as attractive for dinner to everyone. In fairness, the Bistro has some exceptionally attractive competition for our other restaurants onboard. I accept that by itself it would do well, but when the alternatives are places like 150 Central Park, Chops Grill, Giovanni’s Table, etc., it ain’t easy.
So, true to our credo of giving our guests what they want rather than what we think they should want, we have decided on Allure to convert the Solarium Bistro into a Brazilian Churrascaria restaurant. It turns out that the facilities onboard are well suited to this and we think it will be very successful.
But our diligence knows no bounds and to be absolutely sure, Adam Goldstein, Lisa Bauer, Vicki Freed and Frank Weber tried out the full menu in our test kitchen. The sacrifices I make striving for excellence. We started with the appetizer buffet. My personal favorite was the gazpacho (which I happen to adore) but the cold cuts, the shrimp and the salads were all excellent. But the big treat was the Gaucho coming around offering meat on huge skewers. All you can eat of some outstanding meats, fishes, chicken, etc. We even auditioned the Samba dancers during our meal.
I was impressed at how they had transformed a very clinical space (in this case our test kitchen) into a truly Brazilian ambience. The small touches really mattered and I really like the unique crockery program.
While we all enjoyed the meal and came away convinced that this was going to be a success, the best evidence ― as always — comes from our guests. We have only recently announced Samba Grill and already the advanced reservations for the venue are running at a rate double what the similar figure was for Solarium Bistro at the same time a year ago. These advanced reservations place Samba Grill squarely amongst our most popular restaurants even before it opens. Imagine what it will be like when everyone sees the real thing.