While the name SS United States sounds like this specialty restaurant on the Celebrity Infinity would serve American food, it actually had upscale French cuisine. Maybe this confusion led to their decision to replace this restaurant with an Italian place because a couple weeks after our cruise the ship went into drydock and that was one of the things that changed.
For bargain hunters on the Infinity, specialty restaurants have a discount on port days. They also had a package where you can book a meal at each of their 3 specialty restaurants without regard to port or sea days and save money over what each cost individually.
SS United States had white tablecloths on tables set with silver plates. Décor included backlit blue and white artwork of sea creatures along one wall and large portholes with wooden slates that resemble open blinds on the wall opposite. Tables for two lined the windows with larger tables in the interior. Likely the décor changed along with the name and type of food served.
The menu had options for a five course wine and food pairing with a set menu of two options each course paired with a glass of wine. That option had an additional charge over the regular cover charge for the restaurant (to cover the cost of the wine I suppose). The other side of the menu offered ala carte with more food choices for the starters and main and a separate dessert menu. You could order whatever food you want from that side without adding any extra charges over the basic fee. The ala cart menu included the food choices from the other side as well as additional options. Wine still cost extra.
I ordered spinach salad and lobster tails. My husband chose cappuccino mushroom soup, scallop Wellington, and he had the lobster tails as well. Since he had ordered one more starter than me they brought a small taste of green apple sorbet for me so I’d have something while he ate that course. Green apple sorbet tasted a lot better than that sounds. It was actually quite good and had the texture of homemade sorbet.
This specialty restaurant prepared some menu items tableside. It was also the only place onboard allowed to have an open flame, both in the candles on the tables and in cooking on the portable burners they bring tableside and flambé dishes like the lobster. Our waiter brought out the cooking cart with each ingredient in a separate little dish. He showed us the sauce ingredients and said if there was anything among them that we didn’t want he could leave that item off.
He sautéed the lobster tails in butter and olive oil, adding things like bacon and garlic to the pan. At one point he poured brandy over it and perhaps dropped a bit on the burner as well since he got the flame to jump from there into the pan. Amazing how the flame burns over the alcohol making the food in the pan appear as if it is on fire, yet the food itself has no burned look or taste at all.
After the flame burned out he added the creamy Dijon sauce and other ingredients from his little bowls and then served the garnished lobster on plates under a silver dome alongside fancy vegetables over mashed potatoes.
The dessert menu included a couple soufflés. I tried the dark chocolate, my husband the Grand Marnier. The chocolate one had a mocha sauce listed on the menu, but since I don’t like coffee or anything coffee flavored I asked if I could have the vanilla sauce from the other soufflé instead. The waiter said that was fine, but he thought it was better with vanilla ice cream so while he put the requested sauce on the dessert, he also brought out a dish of ice cream as an option. Since it was there I tried a bit of it with the dessert and he was right that the two worked very well together.
The food, service, and dining experience in the SS United States were all wonderful, so I can only hope the new Italian place they replaced it with is just as special.
Lobster Murano recipe from SS United States
Amounts of the ingredients of this recipe are to taste and nothing has to be specific. Somewhere around 2 tablespoons of each of the veggies and bacon works well with 4 lobster tails.
4 lobster tails, shelled and deveined
Bacon, cut into small pieces
About 1 cup heavy cream
Dijon mustard to taste
Chopped tomatoes concasse (no seeds or skin)
Heat pan, grease with butter and coat with olive oil. Add 4 lobster tails. Add bacon, mushrooms, shallot and garlic to pan. Stir veggies frequently and flip lobster tails partway through cooking. Pour a bit of brandy over the lobster and flambé. When fire is out add the cream sauce, which is the heavy cream with dijon added per your taste. The cream sauce should reduce and thicken some while cooking and stirring for a few minutes. Add the chopped tomato insides and parmesan cheese and stir. Plate lobster and scoop sauce over top. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.