on Royal Caribbean’s
Liberty of the Seas
Richard H. Wagner
Steakhouses go well with cruising. They provide a quality meal in a
relaxed atmosphere that is consistent with the cruising lifestyle.
Accordingly, more and more ships have added steakhouses to their lists
of dining options.
Chops Grille is Royal Caribbean's American-style steakhouse. There
are Chops Grilles on many but not all of the RCI ships. This review
looks at the Chops Grille on Liberty of the Seas.
A question that often comes up in discussions about specialty restaurants
is whether you have to go to the specialty restaurant in order to get a
good meal. On Liberty of the seas, the answer is clearly no. The main
dining room is an impressive room with its giant crystal chandelier,
winding staircase and balconies ascending up to the ceiling three decks
above the main floor. I found the food and service to be quite good each
time I dined there. In addition, for an extra charge, guests can order a
steak from the Chops Grille in the main dining room.
Why then go to the specialty restaurant? For me, the answer is two-fold.
First, there is variety of experience. While there is comfort in familiar
surroundings, it is invigorating to do something different. This is
especially so on vacation where part of the relaxation comes from getting
away from routine. Second, it is difficult to get a meal of this quality on
land for this price. Moreover, while one can get a Chops Grille steak in
the main dining room, the variety of menu offerings in Chops Grille itself
is much greater.
Chops Grille is located on Deck 11 on the port side just forward of the
ship's buffet restaurant. Indeed, the seating area for the buffet seems to
come almost to the entrance of the specialty restaurant. However, once
inside it is a much different world.
The room itself is intimate with accents of dark wood paneling and
earth-toned leather backed chairs around the white linen covered tables.
The décor is unobtrusive. However, it can become a spectacular setting
if you arrive at the right time. There are floor-to-ceiling windows along
the port side and since the restaurant is located high on the ship, there are
panoramic views over the sea. Arrive at sunset and the sky can be
streaked with reds and yellows that change as you watch.
Chops Grille is not designed to be a formal fine dining venue. Rather,
its mission is to serve as a relaxed American-style, high quality
steakhouse. Looking around the room, a few guests had jackets or
dresses but most were dressed in a resort casual style. No shorts or ball
caps were in evidence. It is relaxed but people are there to have a nice,
I was seated promptly at the reservation time. The restaurant was full
and remained essentially so throughout the time that I was there.
Nonetheless, the service was prompt and friendly. I also appreciated the
server's recommendations, all of which turned out to be right on the mark.
The first item to arrive was a small loaf of bread, which was freshly
baked and had hints of onion and rye. To go with it, not only was there
butter but also a pimento pepper cream cheese. Quite nice.
For starters, guests have a choice of several seafood appetizers, soups
and salads. The Dungenese crab and shrimp cake had a subtle flavor
that was enhanced by the remoulade sauce.
The "Cheese N' Onion Soup" is what is often called "French Onion
Soup" in American restaurants. It arrived very hot and was thick with
gruyere cheese and bread.
I decided to follow the server's recommendation and have the Broiled
Porterhouse Steak. For U.K. readers, this is an American style
Porterhouse including both the strip steak and the tenderloin fillet. Both
sides of the T-bone were flavorful. The strip steak side perhaps more
flavorful although the fillet was more tender. The steak arrived cooked
exactly as ordered - - medium rare.
A good sauce can bring out the best in beef. As requested, the server
brought both Chops Grille's peppercorn sauce and the Chardonnay
sauce. Both enhanced the flavor although I preferred the extra kick of the
Chops Grille offers a number of options as side-dishes. In a steakhouse,
potatoes are a must and Chops offers rock salt baked potatoes, roasted
potatoes with prosciutto ham and Parmesan, and double whipped mashed
potatoes. I liked the mashed potatoes, which were smooth and tasty.
At the server's recommendation, I ordered the sautéed broccolini crimini
mushrooms and leeks as a vegetable. These were quite good and
overshadowed the steamed asparagus, which was my original pick.
The dessert specialty of the house is the Chocolate Mud Pie. This is a
chocolate lover's delight and is served in substantial portions. It is rich
but its accompanying tangy raspberry sauce makes a nice combination of
The cover charge at Chops Grille is $25.
Cruise ship specialty restaurant review - - Royal Caribbean - - Liberty of the Seas - Chops Grille
Above: The freshly baked bread comes with
butter and a special cream cheese.
Below: Porterhouse steak accompanied by
double whipped mashed potatoes and steamed
A surprisingly good side
- - mushrooms and leeks.
Chocolate Mud Pie