Though moored off Pier 34 on the Delaware River, the Moshulu takes its guests on a culinary voyage around the world every night of the week. Moshulu -- the restaurant of the same name as the 96-year-old ship into which it is built -- features a menu as international as the vessel's travels, which extended from Northwest Europe to South America to the South Pacific. You can't miss the Moshulu from the outside; soon to become a landmark on the waterfront, it is the world's largest four-masted sailing ship. But once inside, you are taken aback by the sheer opulence of the ship's turn-of-the-century Victorian d_cor, which features rich mahogany and brilliant chandeliers. Moshulu features several luxurious dining areas with views of the river and the Philadelphia skyline, as well as bars on two decks and the opportunity to tour restored parts of the 394' vessel. Under Executive Chef Gerald Dougherty, Moshulu offers an eclectic seasonal menu that offers a number of tempting seafood dishes -- appropriate for a ship that rounded the southernmost tip of South America 54 times -- but offers entrZes to satisfy anyone's tastes. The appetizer list features such tempting selections as chilled shrimp and bass tartar ($13) and a smoked salmon napoleon ($10). But my date and I on a recent Friday evening started off our meals more conservatively, with a heart Manhattan clam chowder ($6) and a crisp, refreshing Bibb lettuce salad with poached pear and Stilton bleu cheese ($7). Neither disappointed. The entrZes at Moshulu are works of art unto themselves. The menu is heavy on seafood -- including Seafood Del Mundo ($28), described as "seasonal fish, mussels, scallops and shrimp, saffron clam risotto, spinach and lobster jus" -- but also includes a fine selection of meat and poultry. My date had the night's Lobster Special ($32). Based on the number of times we saw our tuxedo-clad waiters carrying the dish around the dining room, it was clear that the lobster was the night's most popular dish. At that price, the lobster should have been good -- and it was. I ordered the Katafai-Wrapped Shrimp ($26) with horseradish mashed potatoes, Napa cabbage and dijon garlic aioli. Each shrimp -- though at that size, the word "shrimp" becomes an oxymoron -- was carefully placed atop a small mound of potatoes. The dish looked too good to eat but, once I overcame my inhibitions, I found the meal utterly exquisite and satisfying. The wine list is one area where Moshulu really shines. The restaurant offers a wide selection across a spectrum of price ranges, from around $30 a bottle to more than $200. Moshulu also offers a menu of desserts ($7 each) to delight the taste buds. But don't count on having much room after the main course for the delectable cr_me brulee or rich lemon trifle. An evening at Moshulu is not just about good food and good wine, it's an experience. The millions of dollars of renovations put into the ship between its 1994 purchase and July 1996 opening were well worth it, and the prompt and knowledgeable waitstaff made sure we enjoyed our time on board. I'm just looking forward to my return voyage aboard this ship of alimentary delights.Comments powered by Disqus
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