Norwegian Cruise Line is known for its Freestyle Dining, which gives cruisers the option to dine wherever they want whenever they want. On the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, that gives you 10 different options for dinner!
While Norwegian’s signature steakhouse, French bistro and Italian restaurant are among the familiar options, there are also several new venues to test out on Norwegian Bliss.
We were lucky enough to score some seats at the newest restaurant in the fleet, Q Texas Smokehouse, during our recent sailing on the ship. This family-friendly barbecue joint is an amazing addition to the ship’s specialty dining lineup.
Inside Q Texas Smokehouse
On deck 6 forward, Q Texas Smokehouse replaces the area of the ship where you would find the Cirque du Soleil shows on the line’s Breakaway class ships. Given the location, you might miss the restaurant in your travels if you are not paying attention.
Upon entering the venue, you will feel as if you've stepped into a rustic, Southern-style entertainment hall. The large stage is the focal point of the restaurant. After dinner, a live country band takes the stage, and the restaurant is open to all guests for drinks and dancing until midnight.
The theme of the restaurant continues with wooden tables and country-inspired decorations such as wagon-wheel chandeliers and red “solo-cup” water glasses. While all of these small details and design features give you the feeling of a true barbecue joint, the true test is, of course, the food.
During our initial visit to the restaurant, we were determined to test at least one selection from the starters, entrees and desserts. It didn’t matter that our table mates didn’t get our memo!
Digging In at Q
The menu at Q is filled with a wide range of home-style comfort foods. While it is a specialty restaurant, it is a bit more casual than the line’s other restaurants like Cagney’s Steakhouse or Le Bistro. Children under 12 can eat for free from the kid's menu, which is standard across the ship; but if your little ones want to eat from this restaurant’s menu, they will be charged a la carte pricing as well.
For starters, the wife had her eyes on the deviled eggs. I opted for the Lonestar Chili with chips. My order was a full serving of a chunky chili with just a tad bit of heat. Good thing it came with a side of chips as it was more like a dip you should scoop than a soup that you would eat with a spoon. This made the starter easy to share with a large party. The wife raved about the deviled eggs as well, which were creamy and garnished with sweet Maplewood bacon.
For meals, I was able to convince the waiter to bring me a small sample of both the beef short ribs and pork ribs. Both selections were tender and juicy, sliding right off the bone. Another greater feature of the restaurant is the variety of barbecue sauces available tableside, giving you complete control over the flavor and the amount of sauce on your entrée. My personal favorite was the Carolina, which had just the right amount of tang to complete the smoky flavors of the ribs. Being a discerning eater, the wife tried the turkey breast. It was a generous portion of carved turkey from the pit which she enjoyed.
All entrees at Q on Norwegian Bliss come with small sides including coleslaw, potato sala, and pickles. There were no real standouts here. However, the Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread was definitely a winner. It tastes just as good as it sounds. Warm, spicy, and cheesy, this cornbread is one side you want to make sure to sample.
By now, we were already getting pretty full, but when dessert comes knocking, you answer the call.
Which dessert was the best is out to the jury. I thoroughly enjoyed my pecan pie, which was sweet and crunchy with a light crust. The wife, on the other hand, was adamant that her Mason Jar Banana Pudding was far superior to my selection. I will give you that her dessert was more Instagram-worthy than mine, but both were worthy of the extra calories.
More Details on Q Texas Smokehouse
Q Texas Smokehouse is open nightly for dinner from 5:30 to 9 pm. Reservations are highly recommended. You can pre-book reservations 90 days in advance using your online cruise planner, or you can book while on board the ship.
The restaurant menu is priced a la carte. Most starters range from $3 to $6, entrees between $13 and $18, and desserts are priced at $4.50 each. The Norwegian Specialty Dining package is accepted at the restaurant. Redeeming the dining package entitles you to one starter, entrée and dessert.
As we mentioned above, the restaurant turns into a bar and lounge after 9 pm. Live music takes place most evenings, with the bar offering some specialty cocktails including the Smoked Peach Margarita that is on tap. All of these beverages are covered in the Ultimate Beverage Package. So, even if you do not make it to Q Texas Smokehouse for dinner, you can still get a small taste of the venue after hours.
After our initial taste test, we already have reservations to dine at the restaurant again on our upcoming Norwegian Bliss cruise. This time, we are bringing some friends along and plan to order quite a bit from the menu for our second test of the restaurant!