Celebrity calls this specialty restaurant “virtually indescribable.” We’ll take the bait.
The most unusual restaurant on Eclipse (or perhaps at sea anywhere), Qsine is a cozy 84-seat venue open for dinner only, at a surcharge. The most famous novelty is that the menu is presented on an iPad, which we found fun. Some guests didn’t care for this aspect, and in truth, the iPad didn’t actually make it easier to order—we found ourselves scrolling back and forth between the various offerings (each of which takes most of the screen to describe). On the other hand, we didn’t have to reach for reading glasses in the dim light!
We found the $40 supplement pretty steep, and the restaurant is not for all tastes, but it was an entertaining evening nonetheless. The décor was largely black and white, with upside-down lamps pinned to the ceiling to create a chandelier of sorts. Our only complaint was that the food did not justify the hype.
The menu at Qsine is definitely quirky (or should we call it qrky?), hewing to no single ethnicity or style—seemingly the only continent unrepresented here was the cuisine of Antarctica (Mexico, Iran and India were a few of the stops on this culinary voyage). Curiously, the menu did not delineate between appetizers and entrées—our waitress recommended we order four or five courses per person. With a pail of forks and spoons on the table, sharing was definitely encouraged.
The only dish we ordered that was truly appetizer sized was lobster escargot—an unusual blend of lobster and escargot meats. The menu called them fritters, but they didn’t seem deep-fried, more like baked meatballs, slathered with garlic butter; the crustacean flavor came through, while the snail meat was definitely in the background. Popcorn Fish ‘n’ Chips was a simple treat, nicely battered cod with Tater Tot-style mash of potato standing in for chips. This was served in an old-fashion popcorn box, with bottles of vinegar and aioli on the side.
The entrée-sized Painter’s Mignon was served on a dish shaped like an artist’s palette, and included “paint buckets” containing a wine reduction, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms and mac and cheese; we only wished the filet mignon had been a slightly better cut, less chewy. A miss for us was the Chinese Martini-chinis, also entrée sized, a collection of five stem-less mini martini goblets filled with a different Asian dishes—orange chicken, kung pao shrimp, sweet and sour pork, etc.—with a side of white rice. The sauces were gloppy and the flavors undistinguished, though with three or four slices of meat in each dish it might be an innocuous appetizer for a small party to share.
Dessert presented more opportunities for showmanship, especially the Cupcake Affair, where naked cupcakes—red velvet and vanilla—were delivered with boxes of do-it-yourself frosting and sprinkles. The chocolate tombstone is a rich slab of chocolate ganache and Nutella sitting atop Rice Crispies—a must for chocoholics. But everyone also got a shot at the tray of real grass with lollipop “flowers” of chocolate covered strawberries poking out. Tucked between the blades of grass were “eggs” filled with crème brûlée—a real Alice in Wonderland finish to the evening.
We loved the cocktail list at Qsine, and the iPad provides the recipes for these amped-up versions of various classics. We ordered the Q-jito, and our waitress brought a tray brimming with ingredients: vials of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, Leblon Cachaca, pineapple juice and simple syrup, lime wedges, chunks of pineapple, fresh basil and mint leaves and, for good measure, a slice of jalapeno pepper. All of this was assembled, muddled and poured into a glass over ice—fun. Other drinks available included pineapple julep, something called Corpse Reviver #2, and an elaborate sangria involving St. Germain elderflower liqueur and rose petals.
Although the divergent menu invites mixed drinks, there is a wine list and—given the wide range of food tastes—an admirably robust selection of almost 30 half-bottles starting around $17 for Dry Creek sauvignon blanc going up to $49 for chardonnay from Cakebread Cellars. Full bottles started at about $25 for whites (Tarnas Estates Pinot Grigio) and from about $27 for reds (Tempranillo, Cune, Crianza).
Qsine is open nightly from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
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