November 17, 2012

Island In The Sun...

Just spent some time on an island in the sun and that tropical and wondrous place was Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and for this review, I've decided to bring mine and my wife's love for food and our overall trip experience together just for you. Why? Because they go hand-in-hand this time around.

So while my wife and I were wishing it was a place we could call our own... playing and having fun... feeling so fine... and singing along to Weezer, we also made sure to take note of the food that we ate as well. For most people the food that we got to experience while in Punta Cana at the Majestic Elegance Resort, Golf and Casino would be some of the best food they've ever had if they're not big travelers and don't pay attention to the food as close as we do, however we do pay attention to food as well as all the amenities and aesthetics of our resort!

We've had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places like; Jamaica (Sandals Resorts), Mexico (Dreams Resorts) and all over the U.S. During those trips we've of course had to eat and we've had some amazing food during our travels and sometimes they're dishes you just can't get here in Minnesota. We figured that this would be no different traveling to Punta Cana and second in line to the beach life that we love so much, we're always looking forward to having the opportunity to try things prepared by the master chef and their culinary team. Unfortunately, this trip was lack luster when it comes to food and honestly, we've ate better food right here in Minnesota!

I have to start with my biggest no-no right away and that's..... imitation crab meat. Yes, they served imitation crab meat... NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, serve imitation crab meat to your guests visiting you in the tropics of all places! I couldn't believe it when it came out in soup form and after one bite, the bowl was pushed aside. Just a couple days later we tried these deep fried crab puff balls that again were made using imitation crab meat. What was more interesting is that they actually inserted a small and real crab claw into it... WHAT!? They may have tricked someone that doesn't pay attention to what they're eating, but they didn't trick my wife and I!

On to Majestics take on making a steak. Ask yourself this simple question... Is making a steak hard to do? If you answered yes, than you could work for the Asadito Steak House at the Majestic Elegance. If you said no, than you could teach the culinary team there what they're doing wrong and that's serving dry and really tough steak to guests. My wife ordered a top sirloin which is typically pretty tender and delicious, but was far from that and I went for a New York strip that was tough and really dry which is usually full of flavor. To sum it up... I guarantee, my wife and I could have served the guests a better steak with some of our own special marinades and recipes. OR, just take a trip to Woolley's Steakhouse, Lindey's Prime Steakhouse or Porterhouse Steaks & Seafood. As for the decor and plating presentation of food at Asadito... An elegance (pun intended) overhaul is needed and it almost seemed like they were just serving food from buffet warmers.

Not every cut of beef was bad though and we found some delicious cuts at the french restaurant, Limited Gourmand. They actually prepared their steak the right way and the flavor was excellent as well. As for the rest of their cuisine, they definitely were preparing some great food and our favorites were the; Red Snapper wrapped in bacon, Lamb Chops and their soups. The elegance and plating of their food was much better and the team here seemed to know what they were doing.

Lets move on to the Italian restaurant, Il Botaccio. Not really sure where to start and that's because I wasn't impressed with anything at all! While my wife was digging her meals, I was wishing I was eating something from my favorite place back home, I Nonni Italian Restaurant in Lilydale/Mendota. My wife tried their Spaghetti with Lobster Medallion that she really enjoyed while I tried their Gnocchi which was in this really bad tasting gravy and a beef dish that I pushed to the side as well. Meh!

Before embarking on our journey, my wife likes to read as many reviews as she can and one that stood out for me was in regards to the seafood at Sea & Sea. This restaurant sits just off the beach with the sound of the ocean at all times which is amazing. The reviews were 50/50 regarding their ability to prepare a good lobster tail and I would be on the fence. We've had seafood from all over and when traveling to the Caribbean, they should have it mastered. It wasn't terrible by all means which some people stated, but I could see where some of the others who wrote reviews were coming from in that it was juts missing something and not completely prepared right.

The next restaurant 9 Doors is their sushi and teppanyaki restaurant and is the last of the restaurants before we hit the buffet and wrap things up with our overall review. From the Majestic Passport Book - "You will be delighted by the excellent variety of sushi in our sushi bar..." Um, no! First, your culinary team better be able to tell me exactly what fish I'm eating which they couldn't. Second, you need to be able to use more than two species of fish and tempura shrimp which is cooked and imitation crab doesn't count. Third, chicken isn't sushi either, but it was a funny attempt and not that bad with their sweet & sour sauce. We sat at one of 9 teppanyaki tables with our new friends we met from Nashville, Jill and Jenn along with another small group traveling together. Not much to say really, because honestly, as the old saying goes... "If you've seen one, you've seen them all...", but it was good.

Finishing up with the food is the buffet, The Flavors. With something new every night to choose from that includes food from all over the world, but it is just a buffet. The Sea & Sea also serves as a buffet for breakfast and lunch, but isn't as broad of a selection as the main buffet. It does however have the better omelet cook! :) Flavors had some really good dishes as well as some really bad ones and I'm going to focus on the good ones. I'll just list the ones that my wife and I liked. Mangu which is mashed plantains, Chicken Mole, Fajita Steak, the full Turkey that I was allowed to dig into myself, the Pig Cheeks the chef let me take off the head myself, the entire Spanish night and these cinnamon sugar covered custard filled pastries that were similar to a pop over were all awesome!

I honestly believe between my uncle Al, mother Linda and myself, we easily could've served some dishes to the guest that would have been memorable. My wife and I typically take pictures of these dishes when we travel to tropical destinations, but this time around, that wasn't the case. There just wasn't much to brag about at Majestic in terms of food. As for the rest of the resort in my eyes, I think the rooms were pretty nice and the pools were plentiful. If you have a butler room, don't expect to see your butler much once he drops you off at your room. You have no way of contacting him to have him do something for you unless you're in your room, but who is ever in their room? I would say of all the places we've been to, it's the best beach with no rocks and the only time you see seaweed (sometimes a problem for people) is in the morning during a brief high tide time and it's cleaned up immediately by staff as the tide subsides during the morning hours. 

Earlier I mentioned visiting some other resorts in Jamaica and Mexico and I wanted to make sure to briefly rank and provide the entire list of the places we've visited. If you, my reader is ever thinking of visiting one of these countries, hopefully this will help. Starting with our favorite, we would send you to Mexico to stay at the Dreams - Riviera Maya. This place was absolutely phenomenal, the perfect size resort for our liking and the food was amazing. It's also the place where my wife and I got married. If Jamaica is on your wish list, our second and third can be found here. Check out Sandals - Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay. Easily some of my favorite food I've ever had, the perfect size resort and the staff is awesome and personable. The other and third place resort is Sandals - Ocho Rios. This resort is a little larger and is actually separated into two wings, the beach front area and the hills. While the food is still the same amazing Jamaican food, the beach is much smaller and limited. Finally and yes you guessed it, the last place would be the Majestic Elegance. Although the beaches were amazing and our favorite, the overall experience, condition and food just didn't cut it for us and we often found ourselves saying we were spoiled at the other places. 

We even took a trip up to the Hard Rock - Punta Cana which was far too large for our liking, but was very cool and their Brazilian restaurant, Ipanema was outstanding so we know the food isn't bad everywhere... We would consider going back to a resort in Punta Cana, it just wouldn't be one of the Majestic resorts. So, where are you planning your next trip to? Where ever it might be, hopefully the food is amazing and you enjoy yourself as well. My wife and I like great food and amenities when we travel and "will never feel bad..." sharing our truthful and hopefully helpful experiences. You should get to experience the very best as well! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You...my friend...are...well...funny!