Cocooned in a chic all-glass restaurant and soaking in the dazzling lights of the marvellous Manhattan skyline, ANUSHYA MAMTORA gets a flavour of New York City as the Bateaux Cruise gently sailed along the Hudson and East River waters

Magical! I exclaimed as I browsed through pictures of Bateaux Cruise’s dinner experience on their Web site. Starry night, spectacular views and gourmet food, it looked perfect in unison. But will a personal rendezvous with the restaurant on waves be as fascinating? I couldn't wait to find out. And before I knew it, there I was, with the man in tow, at Chelsea Pier 61 stepping on the bobbing Celestial, infused with warm smiles, greetings and purple orchids. The sun was still shining bright when we set sail at 7pm.

Starting off

I couldn't help but notice the Empire State Building, the Chrysler building and the Downtown skyscrapers glittering as the sun shone on their glass façade. It perfectly bounced off some glimmer through the glass of the vessel, highlighting its contours. Elegant and tastefully done with nautical accents, the Bateaux New York was built in 1998 in Tidewater, Virginia, and measures 185 ft from bow to stem. The European inspired design is further enhanced by the curved glass ceilings and walls that give an amazing 180 degree skyline view. Even as we were soaking in the breathtaking views from our window table, the glass enclosed beauty turned alive with clinking champagne flutes and excited conversations. Jessica, our stewardess for the evening, brought in our champagne followed by crispy puff pastries and chicken cordon bleu and our plated dinner menu. It was so much easier to enjoy well thought out gourmet cuisine brought out to your table at just the right times.

The appetisers like the tomato and mozzarella cheese layered Insalata Caprese and the Mesclun Salad sent to our table were refreshing. The latter was particularly delicious with local greens, Fuji apples, strawberries, blue cheese and candied pecans tossed with raspberry vinaigrette. Other interesting options included Crab Cakes and Lobster Bisque, blended with Sherry Creme Fraiche. Just as we were savouring the appetisers with an Ultimate Margarita, we passed by the golden hues of the World Financial Centre and Freedom tower. Like many other guests who were enamoured by the views, I stepped on to the open air deck to get an up close view of one of the most famous buildings the world over. And it only got better as the vessel swerved to the East Rivers around Battery Park and as we moved closer towards Brooklyn Bridge, South Sea Port, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge.

The twilight was giving way to the darkness of the night and I went back in time for the entrée. Maple Roasted Chipotle Chicken served with a New England Succotash and pear tomato cream, Bourbon Roasted Pork and English Braised Short Ribs served with a mild mushroom confit, smashed root vegetables, Au Jus and herbed butter were interesting choices. Seafood lovers had delectable picks too. Pear Seared Citrus Salmon and Seafood Manicotti Gratinee filled with ricotta cheese and topped with bay scallops, rock shrimps, PE mussels and traditional Alfredo. My choice of the Mediterranean Vegetable Purse was delicious. The puff pastry pocket was well done and the vegetable and cous cous filling teamed perfectly with the red pepper couli and baby greens. The romance of the cruise spilled over to the deck as the vessel encircled the Statue of Liberty, with views of Ellis Islands and New Jersey. The Lady looked lovely in the night sky and the shutterbugs were only too glad. As we were retreating, the desserts were served. I had to opt for the New York Style Cheese Cake. It was synonymous with the city's cuisine and I had to savour what Bateaux had to offer. And it was worth it. It was rich (sinful, if I may add) and came with a fruit compote. For the better half, being a chocolate fanatic, Bateaux's Signature Decadent Chocolate Truffle Torte was an easy second choice. The chocolate mousse between the two layers of cake was light and the dark chocolate ganache that enveloped the torte was divine. Also on the menu were Tiramisu and a chef special for the day which was a chocolate flourless cake with crushed peanuts. You can also down a coffee liqueur from their enviable list of beverages, for a fitting end.

Even as the guests enjoyed their dinner, twirled on the dance floor to live jazz music, the stars peeped out, the tea lights on the table glowed in the dark, and the Big Apple dazzled in all its electric splendour. Magical and how! My doubts were rested forever.

What: Bateaux Cruises along the Hudson and East Rivers of New York City, encircling the Statue of Liberty, cruising under the Brooklyn Bridge, with jaw dropping Manhattan views

When: They offer lunch cruises and Sunday champagne brunch cruises, apart from other enhancement packages and theme. I vote for the dinner cruise. There is nothing as breathtaking as having a twinkling skyline for a wall.

Why: New York hospitality on a platter! If you are a visitor, this is one luxurious cruise experience you shouldn’t miss. You can also take your sweetheart on a romantic date and opt for enhancements like champagne and roses.

How much: the base price is 120$ per person, which includes the plated menu. You pay more for the bar menu, welcome champagne, customised packages and even a window table!

(This article was published on September 11, 2012)
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