A true steakhouse in name only.
The second of two surcharge restaurants on Sapphire Princess, Sterling Steakhouse struck us as pretty unimpressive. For starters, it’s housed in a section of the Horizon Court Buffet that is converted—at night—into a separate venue; with lackluster décor and a cheesy smooth-jazz soundtrack oozing in the background, the ambience was just this side of a Denny’s. But the cardinal sin was an unimpressive steak that seemed to be the same cut and preparation that we had at the International Dining Room (a meal that didn’t carry an extra charge). As such, we can’t recommend Sterling Steakhouse, a sentiment that seemed to be echoed by a number of other passengers on our cruise.
Offerings ranged from a 10-ounce filet mignon to a 22-ounce porterhouse steak, but let’s cut to the chase: The New York strip we ordered was of mediocre quality, chewy and strewn with gristle. It was ordered medium rare and arrived with only a modest amount of pink in the center (we suspect a higher cooking temperature was needed, and we probably should have ordered the bone-in cut). The baked potato and sautéed mushrooms on the side were fine, but the creamed spinach was loaded with too much salt and cream. Our starter was a Caesar salad, which was unexceptional.
We should note that the waiter offered to replace our steak, but we preferred not to wait for a new dish. And we’ll add that the chocolate pecan pie for dessert was quite tasty—not gooey, as we anticipated, but rich with pecans.
The ship’s standard wine list was available, and cocktails from the standard drink menu could be ordered. A plussed-up wine list should have been available, but then the steak we had didn’t exactly warrant a fancy bottle.
Sterling Steakhouse was open for dinner nightly from 6 to 11 p.m.
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