Monday, July 2, 2012

Ocean Prime

Last Friday it was the S.O. and I visiting the new hot restaurant on the north side, Ocean Prime. It's been open less than a month, I believe, and it really feels like it. They have yet to gather their sea legs underneath them.

Operated by the same Columbus, Ohio company that owns Mitchell's Fish Market you would expect excellent service, value and a menu with mass market appeal. My impression is that they are trying to go upscale with this restaurant and compete with Ruth's Chris. This place felt like a steak house disguised as a seafood restaurant. In fact, the first thing their somewhat under trained server pointed out on the menu was their selection of grain-fed beef steaks. Wait, I thought this was a seafood restaurant.

Of course, you know I am about wine, so the first thing ordered was the wine. The wine list was very California centric, but they did have several Italians and a few other Old World wines. I ordered the Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet, which is an excellent Chardonnay from Burgundy. They also had the Latour Puligny-Montrachet from vineyards just a few miles up the road from where our wine was sourced for about twice the price. Seasoned Burgundphiles can no doubt tell the difference but we were very happy with our wine.

For the first course we shared the tuna tartar. It has been so hot I have actually been craving this dish. It had raw tuna on top with an avocado puree underneath and something crunchy in between. (You know I am really bad at writing down the ingredients of dishes or remembering what exactly was in each one.) Both the S.O. and I loved this dish. It was the best dish by far of what we had.

For our entrees the S.O. ordered the crab cakes and I ordered the yellowfin tuna. Neither was completely satisfying. The S.O. felt her crab cakes were under seasoned. She put it down to the restaurant being new and not yet having worked everything out. I am not so sure.

The yellowfin tuna came as a block of fish surrounded by mushrooms, carrots, asparagus and sauce. The sauce was good, but cooking the tuna as a block meant that there were portions of the tuna that were totally cooked all the way through and not "medium-rare." It wasn't due to how I ordered it because I asked for the dish "however the chef feels it should be done." Given the obvious attempt to compete at the high end of the market I felt this preparation was not up to snuff. What I would have done is cut off both ends of the "block" and then sliced the tuna. What I got seemed to be more neighborhood restaurant rather than "Ruth's Chris." But maybe that is just me.

Dessert was peanut butter mousse pie. If you know the S.O. you know there is nothing more you need say than peanut butter and chocolate.

All in all it was a satisfactory dinner but the atmosphere seemed to promise more. The decor, the menu, the ambiance, the promise exceeded the actual experience. Don't get me wrong, most seafood restaurants fall far short of Ocean Prime. But I felt like they promised more than they delivered. The S.O. says give them three months and try them again.

1 comment:

  1. Had dinner there last night. I was underwhelmed, especially considering the prices. The risotto was shameful, like cooked rice pilaf in a thin liquid. Scallops were good, but I could have made this at home, better.