Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Seabourn Encore: The Inaugural Cruise - Part VII (Sushi)

I have to admit that before boarding the Seabourn Encore I thought Sushi, it’s new Japanese restaurant – and a first for Seabourn – was going to be just another sushi restaurant.  I was, well and truly, wrong.  It is, to my mind, one of the best dining experiences at sea and, quite possibly, cuisine at a higher level than even Seabourn’s The Grill by Thomas Keller.

Sushi - a Seabourn Encore-class only venue - is the “baby” of Tony Eggert, Seabourn’s long time culinary guru, who is extremely passionate about his child!  Sushi is a rather plain restaurant with simple white furnishings with hints of purple that seats about two dozen people plus another six or so at the sushi bar.  Why is this no extra cost restaurant so simple and the seating so limited?  Because the cuisine is the focus.  Even the details to accentuate the cuisine are subtle.

Seabourn Encore's Sushi
Seabourn Encore’s Sushi is open for lunch and dinner, but with two distinct menus:  Bento Boxes for lunch and a full sushi menu (but no bento boxes) at dinner.  The details are so carefully crafted that even the chopsticks used at lunch and dinner are different…so that you can change your chopsticks as you change your sashimi or nigiri selections.

Bento boxes are either Teriyaki Chicken, Miso Salmon or Vegetarian.  Each comes with miso soup, a green mixed salad, pickled vegetables, sesame rice and, of course, your main.  I tried the chicken and salmon options.  (One guest offered to me that he felt the chicken was superior to the famous roasted chicken offered at the Seabourn Encore’s The Grill by Thomas Keller, which I will explore in another article.)

Seabourn Encore's Sushi - Teriyaki Chicken Bento Box
with Japanese beer

Seabourn Encore's Sushi - Miso Salmon Bento Box
with cold sake
Dinner has a wide variety of offerings:  sashimi (no rice), nigiri (commonly called sushi), maki (rolls with seaweed on the outside) and rolls.  Vegetarian options are also available. 

Seabourn Encore's Sushi offers Salmon Tataki at its finest
Do not underestimate the cost or quality of the fish because it is on a cruise ship (and, in my instance, in the remote area of Indonesia).  I was truly impressed not only by the variety of fish, but the quality.  You probably heard the term “sushi quality”.  Well that doesn’t really mean anything.  (Ever had uninspired or bad sushi?) Virtually all of the fish is purchased in Japan and – in the Japanese tradition – flash frozen with facilities right on board.  There are very few land-based restaurants that serve such high quality fare.

 What the Seabourn Encore sushi chefs do to prepare the fish means even more.  For example, salmon is usually not my favorite fish (especially for sashimi – no rice).  However, the salmon at Sushi is carefully salted and then washed to remove the oils that make salmon not only oily in texture, but leaves a coating in your mouth…interfering with your subsequent offerings.

A high quality sake is offered (either hot or cold) along with a nice variety of appropriate wines to pair with your dining experience.

Sushi's cold sake is creatively presented
in an ice filled wooden box
Sushi has a team of Japanese chefs that are not only fantastic talents, but exceptionally nice.  They do interact with you if you sit at the bar and have the ability to make their own creations if asked.

The staff, which includes both Japanese and European staff, are extremely knowledgeable and friendly.  They not only give you a warm welcome and excellent service, they happily explain what each type of offering is available and the differences between them, so you should have no fear or intimidation if your visit to the Seabourn Encore’s Sushi is one of your first such experiences.

Seabourn Encore's Sushi offers
a variety of rolls
As little suggestion:  Sushi opens a bit earlier (at 6:45 p.m.) than the rest of the Seabourn Encore dining venues.  If you like to dine a bit later, as I do, stop by the Sushi bar for an early bite with some sake before dinner.

Interested in a Seabourn cruise? Give Goldring Travel a call or drop me an email

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or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com.