Put a pay item on the main dining room menu — one of the last bastions for “free” cruise food — and you’ll have some traditionalists broiling. Not me. In Deck 3 of Allure’s Adagio dining hall (calling it a room is a bit silly), I ordered the Chops Grille 10-ounce filet mignon, a “thick and flavorful cut from the tenderloin.”
The $14.95 steak is the same version passengers eat in Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse, which carries a surcharge of $30 per person. (You’re paying extra for the intimacy of the 130-seat venue, which is located amid Central Park’s twinkling lights and greenery, the selection of meat and seafood, and the more doting service. You can also order more than one steak in Chops — for $10 per additional entree — if you’re still hungry after an 18-ounce porterhouse.)
Back in the dining room, the for-fee filet came out medium rare as ordered, balanced next to a bouquet of broccoli, asparagus, carrot, potato and a grilled half tomato. Steak knife readied, I set to work methodically carving and swallowing.
The only let down were the sauces, a peppercorn and a béarnaise, which had a syrupy quality that had me reaching for my standby steak-topper: a touch of melted butter.
I was told from a source onboard that the ship sells 250 to 400 of these for-fee MDR filets a week. With seating for nearly 3,000 in Allure’s main dining facilities, that’s fewer than I would have expected. Most passengers are saying no thanks, but a handful of MDR-loving carnivores are chewing in approval.
Whether you feel spending extra in the main dining room is anathema or you welcome the choice, the Chops steak will quell any filet jones. And if you refuse to pony up for the cow, the filet’s tougher, less attractive cousin, black angus top sirloin, is on the always available list.
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