The beautiful new MSC Seascape has 11 dining venues, including four main dining rooms and one buffet. My cruise is a week.
So I’ll be very busy if I try to experience all these eateries. Plus I am staying in the MSC Yacht Club and I already know that I like dining there. I’ll be writing a separate article about the wonderful benefits of the Yacht Club.
So what about the ship’s five specialty restaurants? I’ve been scouting them out – Kaito Sushi Bar, Kaito Teppanyaki, HOLA! Tacos & Cantina, Ocean Cay and Butcher’s Cut. These eateries require an additional fee but the ones I dined at were well worth the cost.
I also like that the specialty restaurants are grouped together on Deck 8. Makes it quite convenient. It is fun to walk the specialty restaurant area, look inside each restaurant, peruse menus and decide which I will try.
I’m not going to make it to HOLA! Or to Kaito Teppanyaki. But I did get to enjoy Kaito Sushi Bar – which I wrote about in a separate story – as well as Ocean Cay and Butcher’s Cut. So let me share a bit about these last two specialty restaurants.
Ocean Cay Restaurant
Ocean Cay Seafood Restaurant
Named after MSC Cruises’ private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay restaurant offers delicious seafood. The décor with its seashell motif walls, glass chandeliers, plush chairs and booths is elegant and surprisingly quiet. The staff, as in every place I have dined, is excellent.
The menu features a flat-fee Dining Experience menu along with a larger a la carte menu. I had enough trouble deciding from the flat-fee choices. For the $60 Dining Experience, I could choose one dish from each section of the Dining Experience up to a maximum of three dishes.
Yellowfin tuna tartare with avocado, radish and micro greens
Carpaccio with red prawns, confit tomato, black garlic, celery and cucumber
Nicoise salad with tuna, anchovy, egg, green salad and olives
Crackling fennel salad with orange, hazelnuts and parsley
Marinara with light spicy black mussels, tomato and garlic toasted bread
Jumbo lump crab cake with herb aioli and lemon
I chose the crab cake and loved it.
Wild clams with spaghetti, garlic white wine sauce and parsley
Squid ragout with homemade potato gnocchi and Espelette chilly
Bottarga with Gragnano linguine, garlic and oil, mullet bottarga, crispy breadcrumbs and basil
Tuna with sesame seared yellowfin tuna, beet mash, asparagus, basil and lemon
Black cod with roasted baked eggplant caviar, Taggiasca olives and balsamic vinaigrette
Although every entrée sounds yummy, I already knew what I was going to order before I saw the menu. While my server was leading me to my seat, a passenger at another table told me the wild clams with spaghetti was great and he was so right. More clams than I have ever seen in a serving for one. Just look at the photo I took of the dish.
Wild clams and spaghetti at Ocean Cay Restaurant
Cheesecake with wild berry coulis
Crème brulee with bourbon vanilla and brown sugar.
Ice cream & sorbet
Seasonal fresh fruit plate
I seldom pass up crème brulee and this was among the best I’ve ever enjoyed.
Fresh-baked bread, seasoned butter and olive spread at Ocean Cay Restaurant
When I was leaving Ocean Cay Restaurant, a young couple outside the door asked if I would recommend the dining spot. For sure, I said. Later in the cruise, I saw that young couple again and they thanked me for my recommendation. Said the specialty restaurant was for her birthday celebration and they couldn’t have picked a better one. Good to hear.
Ocean Cay Restaurant
The largest and most popular of the specialty restaurants, Butcher’s Cut is a top-notch steakhouse. The décor features leather and tables or booths. I asked for a booth with ocean view and that’s what I got.
My booth had a nice long plant box filled with various greeneries, a good way to add a bit of privacy. For $59, the Dining Experience features one choice from appetizers or featured starters, one from entrees and one from desserts.
Butcher’s Cut booth with an ocean view
Along with Butcher’s Cut’s renowned steaks, the menu also features roasted corn-fed chicken with corn and lima succotash and pan drippings or sockeye salmon with corn barley risotto, salsa verde and lemon.
My server said the chicken and salmon were added for people who may not prefer steak but, perhaps, are dining with a steak lover. Makes sense.
Butcher’s Cut serves only 100 percent naturally raised certified Angus beef. There is also an a la carte menu but I stuck with the basic Dining Experience and had more food than I could eat.
My Butcher’s Cut booth
Burrata and beet salad with aged balsamic
Classic Caesar salad with romaine, croutons and parmigiana reggiano
House chop salad with double smoked bacon, eggs, spiced walnuts and aged cheddar
Heart of palm salad with avocado, tomatoes and raspberry vinaigrette
Shrimp cocktail with cocktail and Louis sauce
Baked goat cheese with blueberry compote and lemon zest
Bone marrow with caramelized onions and parsley sauce
Foie deviled eggs with crispy chicken skin and herb aioli
Smoked tomato soup with grilled aged cheddar cheese
My dad used to cook bone marrow so I ordered it for a bit of nostalgia. Quite good.
Filet mignon 8 ounces
New York sirloin 14 ounces
Double lamb chops 13 ounces
My choice was the New York sirloin. A huge delicious steak prepared just the way I like.
New York sirloin with baked potato and sauces
Lava cake with molten bitter sweet chocolate and vanilla ice cream
Banana date cake with rum toffee sauce, banana ice cream and candied orange zest
New York cheesecake with fresh strawberries, toasted graham crust and mint
Peanut butter and milk chocolate cookie with vanilla ice cream
Ice cream & sorbet
I already knew that MSC cheesecake is wonderful. And I was certainly not disappointed with the sweet dessert at Butcher’s Cut. It was a fitting ending to a great steak meal.
New York cheesecake in Butcher’s Cut
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
See sailings here: All MSC Cruises (cruisecompete.com)