We don’t usually bother with speciality dining. After all, why pay extra to go to a fancy, fine-dining restaurant when the main dining room is already a fancy restaurant with fantastic, fine-dining food. This cruise though, aboard 海の輝き, we scored 25% off for our booking during a pre-cruise promo, so we decided to book Chops Grille for dinner on Wifey’s birthday. You can also book on board by visiting the restaurant or giving them a call from your in-room phone.
If you want to try more than one speciality dining option during your trip, check out the multiple dining packages for a discount as well. Otherwise, the standard cover charge for an evening seating is USD $39 per person at the time of writing. This includes all you can eat from the menu except for a couple of surcharge items. Drinks are not included in the cover charge.
Once we got on board the ship, we were able to check out the restaurant, and reserve a specific table that we thought would give us a great view, if the sun was still up, while also being a bit more intimate – one of the booths.
Unfortunately, it turned out that the sun was already set when it came time for our dinner, but it was worth requesting the booth for the intimate atmosphere it created. Depending on where you are in the world though, the view out of Chops Grille on Radiance has the potential to be absolutely stunning! Imaging cruising the Alaskan passage where the sun never seems to go completely down!
There is something about Chops Grille. The lights are dimmed, and even at capacity it seems like there are not many patrons, so it is a much quieter, calmer place than the main dining room. You can see into the kitchen as well, and for some reason that makes it feel more like a restaurant on land where the chefs are preparing your food in plain sight.
Come back to the start though.
When you arrive at the entrance to Chops, you are greeted by the Maitre’d. We had a lady who guided us to our booth where fake candles were dimly flickering, and our places set. Placing our napkins on our laps for us, she seemed to almost simultaneously provide our menu’s and let us know the name of our waiter before leaving us to bask in the richness of the scents wafting from the kitchen, tantalising our senses as we reviewed the offerings available.
Soon, our waiter arrived, introducing himself and explaining how Chops Grille has been designed to work. First, you can order an appetiser, soup, or a salad. Then you choose your main dish, perhaps a 6oz filet mignon steak? Maybe short ribs of beef? What about a 12oz New York strip steak? There is also a veal or chicken option if you aren’t feeling the beef. Next, you order a selection of vegetable side dishes to compliment your main. These side dishes are intended for sharing, and the menu suggests choosing three. With an assortment of choices though it can be difficult to pick just three. Luckily, you can order as many as you want for no extra charge. Finally, once you have finished your main course, you can order dessert.
So that’s how it works. On to the good stuff, the food!
When our waiter first arrived, he came with bread and garlic butter which was all somehow unbelievably good for bread.
The starters menu contains a selection of different salads, soups and appetisers that sound delectable!
I opted to go with the forest mushroom soup which tuned out to taste even better than it sounds! It’s full of flavour.
Wifey opted to go with the crispy goat cheese salad which she really enjoyed. The goat cheese is melt in your mouth gooey under the deep-fried exterior.
Being a steakhouse, the main menu is understandably dominated by steak with both 6oz and 9oz options in the filet mignon and New York strip steak. Mains are in three sections, meats and poultry, seafood, and something special which carries a surcharge.
The steak options are what Chops Grille is known for, so we had to try them. I was going to get the 6oz filet mignon, but our waiter insisted that I should have the 9oz since it’s all included in the price. So I caved and went with that. I got mine cooked to medium, and it’s a pretty massive piece of steak, but it absolutely melts in your mouth. One thing to be aware of though is unless you just want a piece of meat, you need to order sides because as you can see below, the plate is literally a piece of beef with sauce (I got the Chops Steak Sauce).
Wifey loves ribs, so she opted for the slow-braised short rib of beef. This one does come with a bit of spinach but is again primarily beef. She enjoyed it, a lot.
For sides, we wanted to try 5 of them initially instead of the recommended 3. Our waiter kindly offered to bring out one of each for us to taste, so we acquiesced. The side options are:
- Parmesan scalloped potatoes
- Grilled jumbo asparagus
- Creamed spinach
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Sauteed spinach
- Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
- Salt baked potatoes
- Creamed corn
Our favourites were the salt baked potato, scallop potatoes, creamed corn, and grilled jumbo asparagus, oh and the sauteed mushrooms were also delicious! Honestly, it would be hard to pick just 3! The garlic mashed potato is also excellent and the creamed spinach. If I’m honest, the most boring is the sauteed spinach. If it’s your first visit, I’d recommend getting all of them so you can figure out what you like the best, or try to anyway.
Look, if I’m honest, we had immense difficult choosing our desserts because they all sound so amazing. Here’s the menu:
We had put down on the cruise booking that we would be celebrating Wifey’s birthday while on board, but we didn’t mention anything to the Chops Grille staff about it. Anyway, just after we ordered our dessert, the Maitre’d, our waiter and two other waiters brought out a slice of their signature chocolate mud pie with a candle for her and sang happy birthday. It was a surprise as we had seen that happen in the main dining room before, but we didn’t know if it happened in the speciality restaurants or not. Regarding the chocolate mud pie, we shared it, and it was unbelievably rich but absolutely melt-in-your-mouth to die for good. If you are a chocolate lover, Chops is worth a visit for a slice of this decadence.
Meanwhile, we had actually ordered three desserts to share, which turned out to be a bit much, especially with the chocolate mud pie. Never the less, I am a fan of red velvet cake, so I chose it. It is the other signature dessert at Chops Grille and is well-balanced. It’s relatively dense but not too sweet giving it a smooth texture with a beautiful flavour. The layers combined perfectly to make it one of the best red velvet cakes I’ve tasted.
Wifey chose the liquid centre chocolate cake. It was a very moist cake, and definitely yum, but we both thought it was not a stand-out like chocolate mud pie and red velvet cake.
Then the extra dessert we had chosen between us was the huckleberry cheesecake. This one was one I had heard mentioned elsewhere as a must try, and I’m glad we did. It was delicious. It was also the lightest of the dessert options. If those look like blueberries on top, that’s because huckleberry is a general term given to a variety of berries in the Ericaceae family according to Wikipedia. Blueberries are one of those berries, so chances are that those are indeed blueberries. Back to the cheesecake. It’s a baked cheesecake covered in a berry sauce. The cake itself is smooth and not too sweet. The majority of the flavour comes from the berries and sauce on top letting you choose how much or little berry flavour you get in any given mouthful. I would go back for another piece of this cheesecake.
If you’ve been to Chops Grille, what are your favourite dishes? What did you like about it and what didn’t you like? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, especially about Chops Grille on Radiance of the Seas. If you haven’t been yet, what would you most like to try? Is there anything more you would like to know about it? Ask away in the comments, and I’ll answer as best I can for you.