Long Beach--Elegance still reigns at Queen Mary's Chelsea

.. By Joe Hilbers

We admit to having a soft spot for that grand old lady, The Queen Mary. An evening aboard the Queen for cocktails and dinner is always a special occasion for this Writer. Once again on our most recent visit we moved first to the Observation Bar for cocktails. This was the original First Class lounge when the ship was in service and it stills retains the elegance of an earlier era.

With its Art Deco ambiance and decor it is the perfect way to open an evening on the ship. We were there on a Thursday night and so missed the live entertainment which is featured on weekends. However this was no problem for us since we had a lot of 'catching up', conversation wise, to do with our dining companion.

After cocktails we moved to the perennial award winning Chelsea Restaurant which, besides being a very good seafood restaurant, offers stunning views from almost every table of Long Beach's ever expanding skyline. Our timing was perfect to watch the Skyline come alive with lights in the gathering dusk of evening.

While studying the appetizer menu my dining companion ordered a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. This Writer thinking of the long agonizing drive ahead of him on the 405 Freeway ordered ice tea. From a list of tempting appetizers like crabmeat risotto or smoke salmon tapenada we decided to share an order of sea scallops which arrived with grilled Portobello mushroom and roasted asparagus in a black truffle olive oil.

For entrees my companion ordered one of the day's specialties, Chilean seabass which came with a roasted red pepper coulis and a mix of vegetables. I selected the Mediterranean Scampi which arrived sauteed in fresh herbs, garlic, black olives and a touch of chardonnay. Also a tasty saffron rice.

Actually we changed our minds a few times before settling on our selections. The menu also listed items like King Crab legs, Salmon Macadamia, coated with a Macadamia crust, blackened Ahi and a mixed grill seafood. While seafood dominates, the restaurant does offer three steaks as well as free range chicken on the extensive menu.

Unasked our very efficient waiter then brought over a selection of desserts. As usual weakness on our part prevailed and we decided on the very tempting Tirimasu which we shared. As befitting a British luxury liner our tea came with an elegant tea service.

Chelsea is one of two fine dining restaurants at the Queen Mary. The other is Sir Winston's. Chelsea is open for dinner only, Wednesday through Sunday evenings from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Reservations by calling 562 499-1685. Parking is free with restaurant validation.

The Observation Bar is open nightly from 5 p.m with a full range of spirits and appetizers. The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway in Long Beach and is hard to miss. For complete menus go to the web at www.queenmary.com. Back to Table of Contents..

Last Update:9/10/05

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