Haute Qsine

Cruise Editor Marilyn Green plays with her food at Celebrity Cruises’ new alternative dining venue, Qsine

By: Marilyn Green
Qsine is the newest dining concept on board Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse // © 2010 Celebrity Cruises
Qsine is the newest dining concept on board Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse // © 2010 Celebrity Cruises

The Details

Celebrity Cruises
I just spent lunchtime playing at Qsine, onboard Celebrity Cruises’ new Eclipse. And by playing, I mean playing. This is a brilliant, creative dining idea and so much fun that Celebrity’s vice president of culinary operations, Jacques Van Staden, said that guests spend as much as four hours at a time in the alternative dining venue.

“This is not just a restaurant where you come and are fed,” Van Staden said.

Guests concoct many of the dishes, including the Slider Party of mini-grilled Kobe beef patties with aged Wisconsin cheddar, served on brioche buns with the restaurant’s own sauce. Guests can also build tacos with Black Angus sirloin steak, homemade taco shells, caramelized poblano peppers and do-it-yourself guacamole, complete with a stone mortar and pestle.

At Qsine, familiar dishes in tapas-size portions are turned upside down in the most delightful ways. Think sushi made into lollipops (nigiri sushi with soy centers, wasabi mayonnaise and pickled ginger-radish salad on a stick). The popcorn fish and chips dish is comprised of little chunks of Boddington’s-battered codfish and chips served with malt vinegar or aioli, but in a typical theater-style popcorn box.

Tresviche is a ceviche of tiger shrimp and bay scallops with lemon juice, tequila, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapeno oil. Spring rolls are served in vertical springs and the Meatball Trilogy dish is Kobe beef with cheddar and marinara sauce, veal with mushrooms and marsala sauce and turkey with cranberry and sage gravy.

The presentation is colorful and charming, and most of the containers are amusing and custom made. Even the menu is fun — the whole range of choices, including wines, is on an iPad. This way, you view images of what you’re ordering, along with a description.

In fact, the only thing about Qsine that isn’t delightful and amusing is the decor. The restaurant occupies the space that was allocated to the Asian Silk Harvest restaurants in previous Solstice-class ships, so it has a neutral, textured decor that still looks suited for an Asian restaurant. It would be nice to see a more colorful, playful design approach on the next two ships.

This is the first time that I could remember a restaurant launched at sea that did not originate from a successful land-based model. I’d be surprised if we don’t see copycat Qsines on shore before long.

On Eclipse, Qsine is open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., for a cover charge of $30 per person.
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