We Tried It! De Librije Pop-Up Restaurant on Koningsdamby Christine Ongsueng | May 21, 2016
Pop up restaurants aren’t anything new, but a Michelin-starred pop-up restaurant on a ship? That gets our attention. Once per sailing, the Pinnacle Grill on Holland America’s Koningsdam is transformed into a floating version of the three-Michelin-starred De Librije, located in Zwolle in the Netherlands.
The Dutch restaurant’s chef, Jonnie Boer, is a founding member of Holland America’s culinary council, and is known for his experimental creations — a big departure from the classic surf-and-turf typically served at the Pinnacle Grill. The restaurant gets a new look for the night as well, including fresh flowers with stems encased in glass laid out in the middle of the tables, and the staff’s uniform is the same black livery that you’d see on land.
What It’s Really Like: For the five-course pop-up dinner, we had a choice of two dishes per course, each one arranged like edible art. While each dish we chose was a gastronomic journey, our favorites bookended the meal.
We started with “Oysters on the Beach” — raw oysters wrapped in foie gras that was sculpted to look like shells. This was paired with a fine Riesling that helped offset the decadence of the foie. For dessert we chose the deconstructed apple pie (based on Boer’s mother’s recipe). The small scoops of vanilla ice cream sat on top of pie crumbles, alongside pieces of spiced apple, dollops of whipped cream, and cinnamon pudding shaped like cinnamon sticks. It looked nothing like the pies of our youth, and while the presentation was surprising, the flavors were familiar and comforting.
The Details: The five-course dinner costs $69 per person, including wine pairings. Considering that a similar menu at De Librije on land is roughly $176, this is an amazing deal. Reservations, which you can make online prior to sailing, fill up fast. The pop-up is also available on Rotterdam and Eurodam.
Christine Ongsueng is a New York City-based contributor to ShermansCruise.