ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – I dined at Sirena’s specialty restaurant Tuscan Steak and ordered lobster. Why not? I know that Tuscan specializes in steak but I was Just in the mood for a great lobster dinner. I was not disappointed.
Nearby diners said their steaks were great but I also noticed that some looked at my lobster with envy. Plus, I got another wonderful window seat in Tuscan Steak to watch the ocean as I dined.
Oceania Sirena has two specialty restaurants where reservations must be made. There are no additional charges to dine in these two lovely places. I enjoy the ship’s Grand Dining Room but it is fun to have a chance to experience these two smaller restaurants.
I’ve already told you about my dinner in the other specialty restaurant – Red Ginger. It was superb. So was Tuscan.
Tuscan Steak décor is sleek Italian. Main colors of black, grey, tan, silver and platinum blend with dark wood paneling and plenty of recessed lights for a setting that is both elegant and warm. Waiters wear white shirts, black pants, tan vests and black neckties.
A white apron tied around their waists must come in handy when waiters prepare Caesar’s salad at tableside. That fresh preparation is a nice touch and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who asks that anchovies be left out.
The menu is huge. For anyone who thought Tuscan features only steak, one look at the menu will dispel that notion. Starters include Chesapeake Bay crab cake, pork belly, shrimp, beef tenderloin carpaccio, red beets with goat cheese, prosciutto, sliced veal, tuna or octopus.
I chose caprese for a starter and it was almost large enough to be an entrée. I took a photo of it so you could see but I did crop off some of the smaller tomatoes on both ends of the oblong picture. It was wonderful.
After starters comes soup: minestrone, lobster bisque or zuppa faggioli, a mix of white beans, sweet sausage and pasta. My choice was lobster bisque. Not all restaurants can do a good job with lobster bisque – some make it too thick, some too thin, some put a funny spice in it – but Tuscan does it just right.
Then salad. Caesar salad, grilled asparagus, baby spinach or baby greens. I enjoyed the baby spinach with candied pecans, roasted pumpkin, dried cranberries and flax seed vinaigrette. I saw many people choosing the Caesar and having it prepared at tableside but I was mighty pleased with my baby spinach.
Entrée choices were difficult because they all looked good. But, as I said, I was craving lobster. What would you have picked? Veal chop, lamb chop, pork chop, chicken, osso bucco, steamed Maine lobster, Maine Lobster Fra Diavilo, jumbo shrimp, Dover sole or a whole listing of pasta like hand-rolled potato gnocchi and lobster risotto?
The signature Tuscan porterhouse steak comes in two sizes – 20 ounces for one person or 40 ounces for two – and it is served on a hot lava stone. That is a whole lot of meat. Other steak choices include filet mignon, ribeye and New York strip. Prime rib comes in a King’s Cut of 32 ounces or a Queen’s Cut which is 16 ounces. Whew.
Dessert was tiramisu, crème brule, caramelized New York cheesecake, key lime pie, bourbon panna cotta, chocolate cake or fruit. Or you could order the Decadent Quintet which was a sampling of five of the desserts.
I ordered the cheesecake but the waiter also brought a lovely display of three sweets in an unusual silver server. The bite-sized desserts were served in metal ice cream cones. If I had known that was coming, I would have foregone my cheesecake.
All the food I have had on the Sirena has had excellent presentation and taste. I made a short video of some of the dishes I have enjoyed so you can see what I mean. Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it tastes good. But on the Sirena, the looks and taste are both top notch.
Tuscan Steak is open from 6:30 to 9 p.m. After all that food, I headed up to Sirena top deck to the walking path – as if I could melt off all those delicious calories in 15 minutes of walking. But it was a beautiful moonlit night, the deck was mostly empty and I could hear the roar of the ocean and feel the sway of the ship.
Delicious cuisine is a major part of any cruise and the Oceania Sirena may well serve the best food to be found anywhere on the Seven Seas.
Photos and video by Jackie Sheckler Finch