Moderno Churrascaria is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s signature restaurants found on many of the brand’s ships. While we have not eaten at this Brazilian steakhouse in the past, we were intrigued to try Moderno Churrrascaria on our recent sailing on Norwegian Escape. We decided to make reservations for this restaurant on the first day of our cruise.
Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape – Inside the Restaurant
Our last cruise on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship was over eight years ago, and things have changed quite a bit. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect from the service and food in the specialty restaurants. After completing a full meal, and I mean a full meal, we are glad to report that dining here was a great decision.
Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape Restaurant Review
This Brazilian-style steakhouse is a carnivore’s dream serving up slow-roasted meats carved tableside. Open nightly for dinner from 5:30pm to 10:00pm for a flat fee upcharge of $24.95, you can indulge in as much or as little as you want by simply using your table marker to alert the servers when you’ve had enough to eat. Green side indicates that the servers can keep bringing you food, whereas red side indicates for them to stop. Of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves, as the dinner also comes with a complete appetizer buffet that in and of itself is worth the upcharge.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
Even though Norwegian Cruise Line is known for their “freestyle approach”, we booked all of our dining reservations prior to boarding. We also purchased the specialty dining plan for 6 nights as many of the other restaurants on Norwegian Escape are priced a la carte. By purchasing the meal plan, each dining experience would cost us only $20.45 per person per meal (with gratuity), which was already a savings at Moderno Churrascaria. (Price per meal does depend on the number of nights purchased.)
Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape – Waterfront Seating
We arrived to the restaurant right on time for our 6:30pm reservation. Upon arrival, there were two couples ahead of us waiting to be seated. Located at the aft of deck 8, Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape has an indoor dining room as well as outdoor seating on the Waterfront. We could see plenty of availability inside, so we opted for one of those tables.
Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape – Classic and Strawberry Caipirinha Drinks
After being seated, our waitress came by to introduce herself and review all the details. She described that we could help ourselves to the appetizer buffet, and whenever we were ready, we could flip our table marker over to the green side to indicate we were set to begin our carnivorous experience. Before helping ourselves to some food, we did order a round of drinks. Trying one of the specialty cocktails on the menu, I ordered a Classic Caipirinha, and the Princess did a Strawberry Caipirinha. These drinks set the mood for an authentic Brazilian experience.
Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape – Appetizer Bar
If there weren’t other people trying to enjoy the buffet, I would have taken pictures of all the offerings, but I decided to be courteous. The spread was definitely one worth recording though. Along with your traditional salad and toppings, there was a vast array of cured meats and cheeses, breads, pasta salads, and even other offerings such as a delicious shrimp salad. I had to keep reminding myself that this was just the first course because I could have easily made the appetizer bar my entire meal.
My Starter Plate
Being a picky eater, the wife was not as impressed with the salad bar. She did manage to sample some of the different cheeses available and did report liking what she had.
The Princess’ Plate
Upon returning with our starters, the waitress delivered a fresh bread basket. This pao de queijo is a traditional cheese bread, and it was quite delicious. Again, not wanting to spoil my appetite, I was cautious to not eat too many carbs.
Pacing is key to enjoying this restaurant.
After taking our time with the starters and drinks, we both decided that we were ready to try the grilled meats. On the menu, there are eleven different meat offerings. Of course, this meant that I was going to try at least one piece of every single option. From the beef, to the pork, to even the chicken, I was going to make a complete rotation through all of the different spits.
In addition to the main entrees, Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape serves four side dishes family style. If you are a larger party, the waitress will certainly bring multiple servings if your table needs them.
This side dish tray includes white rice, sauteed mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes, and fried yucca. All of the sides were a great compliment to the meal. My particular favorites were the mushrooms and rice. Although, the sides were delivered to the table lukewarm at best, and given the time it takes to get through the entire meal, they did get a little cold.
Serving the Meat
The gauchos (or servers) must have gotten sick of walking by our table for the next 45 minutes or so as we cycled through every single skewer. It was tough to pick just one favorite among them. The house specialty Picanha was my favorite beef, being even more tender and flavorful than the filet mignon. But, both the leg of lamb and lamb chops were also well prepared and quite tasty.
Most of this carnivorous experience was lost on the Princess as she only eats chicken. Thus, she was stuck eating the bacon wrapped chicken the entire time. Don’t worry, I tried this as well and was surprised at how savory it was for white meat.
An Assortment of Meats
Finally, having crossed all eleven selections off the list, a feat that got increasingly more difficult to complete as dinner went on, it was time to turn our markers over to the red side for once and for all. Now, the only thing left was dessert.
After having such a wide and varied selection for appetizers and meats, we were surprised that desserts at Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape were quite limited. Not that we left much room for dessert anyway. The Princess decided to go with the Papaya Cream, and I did the Coconut Flan; neither of them were very memorable.
Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape Restaurant Review Recap
Being our first specialty dining experience on Norwegian Escape, Moderno Churrascaria was an excellent choice. The food was well worth the cover charge-either $24.95 or 1 meal from your specialty dining package. While we do not normally like paying for food on a cruise ship, we would definitely pay for this experience again. Whether you have dined at a Brazilian steakhouse back on land or not, we highly recommend giving it a try while on Norwegian Escape. With a focus on the presentation and serving of the different meat skewers, service is a bit slower here than other restaurants, but it also gives you a bit of breathing room between selections. Offering up a great appetizer buffet and a delectable selection of slow roasted meats, we will certainly be making reservations at Moderno Churrascaria the next time we sail on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship!
Have you dined at Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Escape or any other ship in NCL’s fleet? Do you think the upchare is worth it for this dining experience? Do you like the Waterfront dining option? Drop us an anchor below to give us your thoughts on the food choices and specialty dining available on this newest ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet.