The specialty Italian restaurant had a pleasing setting and good service, but our entrée was a loser.
Of the two surcharge restaurants on Star Princess, we expected the Italian Sabatini’s to be a pretty safe bet, with food cooked to order in an open kitchen. While the appetizers and desserts were fine, our entrée was not. Murals of classical Italian coastlines lined the walls in an attempt to transport us to the Med, but we were distracted by the sound leaking from the adjacent bar, which competed with the light opera music playing in Sabatini’s. But the atmosphere and personalized service was appealing, and we left feeling that we simply ordered the wrong entree.
The menu hints at a reasonably ambitious Italian meal—branzino (striped bass) in salt crust, duck with fava beans and pancetta, grilled veal chop with mushroom ragout, along with a nightly pasta special. Our dinner started with assorted breads served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and accompanied by green and black olives. We had an insalata mista—the mixed green salad—which was scantily dressed; the nice spring greens still had the spark of life in them, capped with three thin sheets of pecorino cheese. Our pasta carbonara was fine, not loaded down with cream and butter, allowing the egg and bacon flavor to ring through.
For entrée we took our waiter’s suggestion and ordered the tris d’aragosta, lobster three ways. Alas, not one of the three ways was a road we wanted to head down. The lobster bisque had a robust, but off-putting flavor; the lobster risotto was overcooked mush. The third member of the trio was inedible—a lobster tail that tasted as though it had been marinated in brine. Of course, our waiter offered to bring a replacement, but we were so repelled that we wanted only a palate-cleanser. The Sinfonia di Sapori for dessert was tasty and attractive (you know we’re a sucker for nuts and caramel).
In addition to the standard wine and cocktail list, and expanded, Italian-focused wine selection was available. Italian themed after-dinner drinks were also offered. The tiramisu martini—vodka, Kahlúa, espresso, Mascarpone cheese sugar and milk—intrigued.
Sabatini’s was open from 6 to 11 p.m. nightly, and it was fully booked on several nights of our cruise.
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