Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Oceanaire Comes to Boston
The Oceanaire is a seafood chain with restaurants across the US, and they officially opened their Boston branch last night with a huge open house.
The restaurant is beautifully decorated, combining art deco and nautical motifs. There are hints as to the building's past, with a sign above the stairs to the basement pointing to the bank vaults downstairs. All in all, it had a very Starship Titanic feel about it. All the dining tables had been removed to deal with the crowd, so I'd be curious to go back just to see the room set up; I imagine it would have a very different feel.
The appetizers - both passed and stationary- were delicious and, hopefully, an accurate representation of the care that will go into the dishes at the Oceanaire. Mahi mahi ceviche, served in little tortilla cups, was light and zingy from the lime juice. The clams casino and oysters rockefeller were hot and fresh. A hot dip with cheese and shrimp (perhaps the stuffing that can be added to any fish dish?) was a little too rich, but definitely decadent. My favorite were the little crab claws (on the right in the picture), which had a vaguely Asian influence. Later, mini key lime pies and root beer floats were passed for dessert, and both were light and not overly sweet.
The best part of the evening, though, were the mojitos. There was a table set up with bartenders making only mojitos (a strange choice in January, but delicious all the same). The cucumber mojito (made with pureed cucumber) was fantastic and a perfect pair with all the seafood.
The menu is expensive, with entrees mostly in the $30-50 range (of course, there are plenty of extras that can jack that up further). I would give them a try for a special occasion, or more likely, appetizers and cucumber mojitos at the bar.