Cruise ship specialty restaurant review - - Norwegian Gem - - Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) -- Cagney's Steakhouse
Richard H. Wagner
Cagney’s Steakhouse is located high on Norwegian Gem, just
below the ship’s top suites This is a choice location for a
specialty restaurant as it has excellent views and is far enough
removed from the main passenger flow to give it a secluded
The name of the restaurant is an allusion to actor James Cagney
who, amongst other things, popularized gangster movies in the
1930s. There are references to the gangster theme in the decor
such as door handles shaped like rifles and in some of the
paintings that decorate the restaurant. However, this theme is
not emphasized and may well go unnoticed. In any event, its
theatrical nature should not be taken as an indication that this is
a frivolous dining venue.
Overall, the decor of the restaurant is actually more reminiscent
of an upscale New York restaurant of the 1950s or early 1960s.
The paintings are abstract and the wood paneled walls are
streamlined. Both the port and starboard sides have floor-to-
ceiling windows that offer spectacular views of the
surroundings. Along the aft wall is an open kitchen where the
meals are prepared.
The restaurant also has an extension that is used in the evening.
While one cannot see the open kitchen from here, one can see
forward out over the ship’s main pool area with its colored lights
reflecting in the water.
Cagney’s is only open to the general passenger body for dinner.
However, for guests staying in the ship’s top 48 suites, it is also
open for breakfast and lunch. These are not to be missed and
create a real incentive to book a suite.
For breakfast, Cagney’s menu features breakfast specialties
such as Belgian waffles, crab cakes Benedict, smoked salmon
fittata, steak and eggs and pancakes. The Tahitian Vanilla
Challah French Toast is delightfully tender, flavorful and not too
heavy. Like the other specialties, it is cooked to order and
comes to the table fresh.
Alternatively, there is a breakfast buffet with cereals, fruits,
muffins, and smoked salmon to name just a few of the items. Of
course, guests do not have to choose between the specialties and
the buffet; one is free to have some of each.
For lunch, there is another menu offering an appetizer/soup
course, a main course and dessert. Cagney’s sliders are a
specialty. Not surprisingly for a steak house, the strip steak was
also consistently good each time I had it. However, perhaps the
best dish was the salmon fatoush. The salmon, nestled in a bed
of romaine lettuce, cucumber and mint, and served with pita
bread, was moist and flavorful. Listed as an appetizer, this item
is more than sufficient for a main course.
The evening menu is a straight forward steakhouse menu. It
focuses on beef offerings but also has chicken and seafood
alternatives. For an additional fee beyond the cover charge,
there is a surf and turf of filet mignon and lobster.
Stand out appetizers include the colossal shrimp cocktail; and
the jumbo crab cakes. The latter have a nice balance of spices
and seafood. The sauce is tasty but perhaps too overpowering,
cloaking the subtle flavors of the cake.
The lobster bisque was a heavy rich soup. Unlike some lobster
bisques, there were no chunks of lobster floating in the soup but
the flavor was distinctly lobster.
The highpoint of the dinner was the 10 ounce filet mignon. This
was cooked exactly as ordered. It was tender, smooth and
Cagney’s offers four sauces. The filet mignon does not really
need a sauce; it can stand on its own. However, the sauces,
especially the pepper sauce, are enhancements that bring out the
Another house specialty is Cagney’s fries. - - French fried
potatoes cooked with Parmesan cheese and white truffle sauce.
Also worthy of consideration as a side dish is the garlic mashed
These are quite filling meals and thus it is not uncommon for
guests to pass on dessert. However, there is a variety of
popular dessert offerings including cheesecake and raspberry
crème brulee. A lighter but delicious alternative is the
marinated mixed berries. This item is only on the lunch menu
but one can ask he server whether there is any left in the kitchen.
The service in Cagney’s was excellent. The servers were
attentive and on each occasion that I visited, friendly and
genuinely interested in whether I was enjoying the meal.
The cover charge for dinner at Cagney’s is $25. Breakfast and
lunch are complementary.
Above: Cagney's breakfast buffet.
Below: Guests can also order breakfast specialties
such as French Toast from the menu.
Above: Grilled Angus New York Strips Steak is a
lunch time favorite.
Below: The salmon fatoush was the champion,
Above: The crab cakes appetizer.
Below: lobster bisque.
Below right: The 10 ounce fillet Mignon.