With sunny sundry neighborhoods, bars suited to every taste, Broadway, springboard diving, and ice skating shows, the Oasis of the Seas is really like a floating city. And that’s before you mention the 20 plus restaurants.
As you might be able to tell, last week was my first sailing and it wasn’t long before I was sucked into the easy, breezy flow of “ship life,” which on the Oasis even includes foodies happily chatting in the elevator, or the very real, living and breathing park on board, aptly named Central Park, and the home of most specialty restaurants aboard. Our focus of course is on the restaurant 150 Central Park, which could very well sit in the city that holds its namesake.
Two sophisticated six-course menus run every week, “Pasture” transitioning to “Palmetto” on Wednesday for the fall 2012 season, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a chef Michael Schwartz menu along with wine director Eric Larkee’s pairings… twice. I was lucky enough to do so this week, and I learned a lot, not only about how you can actually sail a city out to sea, but about how wine can pair magically with food.
“There’s three things you’re going for with a wine pairing,” Eric told me while we discussed the Schloss Saarstein Riesling with the slow roasted butternut squash soup on the Palmetto menu, “The first is that it doesn’t suck,” he said candidly, “Next is that the two to work well together. Lastly, if you can make it so that the taste of each one changes, improving the taste of the other, well, then I’ve done my job.” And he did. He nailed it with that pairing and I told him as much, which is how I got him to reveal that little tidbit. But he did nail it. The Riesling alone was a little sweet and while the soup alone is one of my favorites, tasting the two together elicits each already fantastic flavor profile to magically pop.
If you are sailing on the Oasis of the Seas in the next three months, you have the chance to explore the rest of the fall menu pairings, and see if I’ve got cabin fever, or if Eric Larkee really does have a magic wand up his sleeve. And if you’re not, you might want to make some plans. Below is what’s in store with the magician’s insight on the pairings.