Friday was a gray drizzly evening as we boarded the ship and took our seats on the lower level among a crowd of diners surrounding elegantly set tables and a dance floor backed by a band set-up. Dinner aboard the Odyssey is priced at $90 which includes three courses and one alcoholic beverage. The ticket was comped on our behalf, but additional alcohol, tax and tip we covered ourselves. It was an evening of bubbly all the way, I began with a glass of Westport Rivers RJR Brut and moved on to sharing a bottle of Wycliff Sparking Wine ($28). We were instructed to order all three courses at once, understanding somewhat that the intentions of the waitstaff is to pace the meal to your parties liking. We ate our appetizer and dinner right away and then decided to hold off on the dessert course to head outdoors.
It was windy, can you tell? Not to mention foggy! The Boston Harbor skyline was still in view from a distance, glowing in the mist.
For my first course, the Carmelized Duck en Croute boasted an extensive menu listing of duck confit, forest mushrooms, sage and monterray jack cheese baked in a puff pastry, served over spaghetti squash with dried cherries, candied pecans and a drizzle of marsala wine demi glaze. This was certainly a lot of elements for one plate, not all of them working harmony. I felt the texture of the puff pastry could have been a little more crisp to balance with the soft confit. The dish was definitely on the sweet side, I wanted more flavor from the savory elements to balance the sweetness of the squash, dried cherries and candied pecans. Overall the appetizer was palatable, but could have used a little finesse. For the main course, my Bourbon and Peach-Glazed Pork Tenderloin was cooked perfectly. A seriously huge cut of pork, I was impressed at how juicy and tender it remained. The side elements of harvest green beans and sweet potato hash browns were delicious.My dessert was less impressive, the Raspberry Mousse Cup suffered from the lack of house-made whipped cream (as advertised.)If served as intended based on the menu description, I think the whipped cream would have balanced out the too thick mouse and overly powerful (perhaps even artificial?) raspberry flavors, but ultimately the dish lacked in execution. Service at dinner could have benefited from a little more focus - throughout the courses and on multiple occasions certain members of our party (myself included) were served the wrong dish. I was perplexed thinking we had a salad course and in actuality almost dug into someone else's food!
At brunch on Sunday we boarded the boat in similar fashion - (this time with a much bigger group!) and were seated on the opposite side of the same dining room which now included a buffet spread; breakfast on one side, lunch on the other and dessert (complete with a chocolate fountain!) in the middle. We started with cruise with mimosas - similar to dinner, this complimentary brunch included one drink and any additional cocktails I paid for.I wasn't feeling any of the lunch options (but heard they were great) and instead piled my plate with Wisconson Cheddar Scrambled Eggs, Hash brown potatoes with pepper and onion, Applewood smoked bacon and Turkey sausage. Additionally, the House-Griddled Belgian Waffles served with whipped cream and a berry sauce compote and the Strawberries and Cream French Toast saw their way onto my plates. The eggs, potatoes and waffles were delicious while the bacon and french toast let me down. It was mainly a textural thing - fluffy eggs and tender potatoes for the win; overcooked bacon and soggy french toast, not so much. In a nutshell - I was satisfied but not overly impressed with the food. Thankfully, service at brunch was attentive and friendly, prompting another cocktail or two starting with a Perfect Orange Martini ($14) a blend of Gin, OJ, Grand Mariner and sweet and dry vermouth. It was a pretty perfect breakfast cocktail indeed!Above with my brunch date, Megan taking advantage of the warm weather and gorgeous harbor views, an overpriced ice cold Corona ($7) in hand.
The dinner cruise ran three hours while the brunch cruise was two. I preferred the shorter time frame - three hours felt a little too long to be confined to the ship, but maybe that was a result of the rainy weather keeping us (mostly) limited to the indoor deck and the fact that we weren't feeling the dance floor scene. The weather on Sunday and the boat parade scene on the other hand could not be beat. The top deck of the boat was an ideal spot to relax.
There are no shortage of event opportunities presented to bloggers in this city - whether you're new to the scene or have been writing a blog for years! It is easy to become a part of either group, run by some fantastic local bloggers; Rachel (follow on Twitter @bostonfoodblogs) and Renee (follow on Twitter @bostonbrunchers.) I was happy to attend both events this weekend and discover what cruising aboard the Odyssey is all about!