A perfect pairing: Carnival's Mardi Gras and Emeril Lagasse bistro

Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will be located in the heart of the ship's French Quarter zone and serve signature dishes like barbecue shrimp, roasted duck and Andouille sausage gumbo and jambalaya Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will be located in the heart of the ship's French Quarter zone and serve signature dishes like barbecue shrimp, roasted duck and Andouille sausage gumbo and jambalaya

Carnival Cruise Line has partnered with world-renowned chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse on his first seagoing restaurant aboard Mardi Gras, setting sail in summer 2020.

Emeril's Bistro 1396

Located in the heart of the ship's French Quarter zone, Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will showcase the signature dishes that earned Lagasse the reputation as one of New Orleans’ most acclaimed and respected chefs.

'He's so on brand for us,' Carnival president Christine Duffy told Seatrade Cruise News. 'He's approachable, down-to-earth. He loves food.' Duffy noted that Lagasse had 'discovered' another star chef and Carnival partner, Guy Fieri, by introducing him at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival years ago. 'It's nice chemistry between our chef partners,' she said.

'An opportunity I could not pass up'

'I’ve developed restaurants all over the country, but to create my first restaurant at sea—on a ship named Mardi Gras with its own French Quarter, no less—was an opportunity I simply could not pass up,' Lagasse said.

Named after Mardi Gras’ hull number at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, the 1396 bistro will reflect New Orleans’ rich culture with Creole favorites and daily specials.

Barbecue shrimp, roasted duck and Andouille sausage gumbo, jambalaya

The menu will include oyster and cochon de lait po-boys, muffaletta sandwiches, Emeril’s signature barbecue shrimp, fresh seafood ceviche, roasted duck and Andouille sausage gumbo and jambalaya. Among the sides are Creole potato salad with diced scallions and red beans and 'jazz-man' rice. The New Orleans classic bananas Foster and lemon ice box pie will be available for dessert. Breakfast offerings will feature shrimp and grits and a shrimp Creole omelet.

'These are Emeril's recipes and he's working with our culinary team to ensure they're very authentic,' Duffy said. 'Carnival guests are going to love the menu.'

Dishes priced at $2 to $12

Appetizers will be priced starting at $2, with signature dishes costing up to $12, a tremendous value compared to Lagasse's land-based restaurants.

Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will take center stage in Mardi Gras’ French Quarter, one of the ship’s six themed zones. The French Quarter aims to capture the festive spirit of New Orleans with food, cocktails and live jazz.

The 60-seat venue will be in the heart of the action, open to the promenade (similar to the Bonsai Sushi venue on current ships).

Just the start

'We're going to get [Lagasse} and his family on the ship,' Duffy said. 'This is just the start of a great relationship,' she added. 'We have lots of ideas beyond Mardi Gras. We've got ships in New Orleans.'

Mardi Gras is set to enter service in Europe Aug. 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral's custom-built Cruise Terminal 3 for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in October 2020.

Posted 06 March 2019

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review