SPECIALTY RESTAURANT REVIEW
THE TODD ENGLISH
QUEEN MARY 2
Richard H. Wagner
Quite frankly, when I heard that the Todd English specialty
restaurant on Queen Mary 2 had changed its lunch menu, I was
somewhat disappointed. The previous menu had been the best
that I had encountered there since the ship went into service in
2004. It contained a number of favorites that I looked forward to
re-acquainting myself with whenever I came aboard (See earlier
My disappointment proved unfounded, however, as the
current menu exceeds its predecessor. Furthermore, Oliver Lao,
the maitre d' hotel, has brought the service to a peak level.
The printed menu is rather deceptive. (See menu) The
description of the various dishes is terse, listing a few
ingredients or mentioning one of the side items that come along
with the dish in question. Moreover, the dishes often have names
that sound like the names that one often finds on a lunch menu in
more commonplace restaurants. What one comes to learn,
however, is that Chef Todd English, who develops the recipes
for this seagoing version of his restaurant, has his own take on
each of these dishes that takes them far beyond the ordinary.
While it may be disconcerting at first to have a dish placed in
front of you that is not at all what you expected from its name, the
dishes are so inventive and interesting that one quickly forgives
the playfulness of the menu listing.
In the appetizer selections, the Fig and Prosciutto Flat
Bread stands out. From the menu, one might think that it is a
plate of fruit, ham and bread. However, the dish turns out to be
more akin to a gourmet pizza. The flat bread serves as the crust
and the paper thin prosciutto rests on top of a layer of gorgonzola
cheese. Intermixed with a fig puree, each bite is a contrast of the
pungency of the cheese and the sweetness of the puree. The
bread is light and does not intrude.
The menu also presents two pasta selections - - Ricotta
Ravioli and Tortellini of Butternut Squash - - which guests can
have as an appetizer or as a main dish. These are more subtle
items; not over-powering in their flavors; good but not
The main courses are where the playfulness in the menu
becomes most apparent. My favorite is the Grilled Steak Cobb.
It is not like any other Cobb salad. Yes, there is lettuce, bits of
bacon, cheese and hard-boiled egg but the centerpiece is a full
size steak cut into large pieces. The beef has been treated with
spices making it very flavorful. These spices play against the
avocado cream, the tomato jam and the more traditional salad
Another flavorful dish is the Roasted Leg of Lamb Gyro.
This is not at all like the gyro one finds in diners. The thinly
sliced lamb is wrapped together with lettuce, onion and tomato
along a skewer. Colorfully situated along side is a green pesto
sauce, a white yogurt and a red tomato-based sauce. One
uncovers a series of new flavors as one progresses through this
The Olives Burger is reminiscent of the hamburger served
at New York's 21 Club. It is very large and various spices have
been mixed in with the ground beef. Because of its size, the
burger can be undercooked toward the center.
Perhaps the most straight forward of the main entrees is the
Pepper-crusted Atlantic Salmon. This is what the menu says - -
a large salmon fillet that has been cooked in a pepper sauce. The
skin of the salmon is crisp while the meat is tender and juicy. As
one often finds in Chef English's recipes, it is enhanced by an
array of Mediterranean-inspired spices.
Turning to dessert, the star of the current menu is the
Chocolate Fallen Cake. This is a rich but not heavy cake that is
almost soufflé-like in consistency. Inside is a liquid dark
chocolate. The cake is served with a vanilla ice cream that
balances the chocolate richness. The ice cream also contrasts
with the tanginess of the raspberry sauce that is poured
artistically on the plate in the shape of a sail.
An alternative selection is the Wild Maine Blueberry
Cobbler. Here, the recipe stays close to the traditional New
England dish. The berries are slightly tart and contrast well
against the crust of the cobbler and the accompanying vanilla ice
cream. It is warm and fresh and serves as a nice balance against
the spiciness of the earlier courses.
One should not approach lunch at Todd English with the
idea that it will be a light meal that will hold you over until
dinner. The portions tend to be generous and the recipes are
demanding of the palate. For many this will serve as the main
meal of the day. However, it is a culinary adventure that is
The Todd English is open for lunch on sea days. A $20
cover charge applies.
The Fig and Prosciutto Flat Bread.
Cruise ship specilaty restaurant review - - Cunard - - Queen Mary 2 - - Todd English Restaurant - lunch
|Wild Maine Blueberry Cobbler