Who was there?
Both times we went for dinner, the crowd was older and leaning toward the moneyed, Highland Parkish demographic. I’m fairly sure that we were the youngest people in there both times. At least, we were the youngest that weren’t dining there with our parents.
How were the drinks?
They have a fairly extensive, affordable wine list for both white and red varieties. We tried a couple of tasty Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs that were less than $40 a bottle and went great with the seafood.
What were we eating? How did it taste?
I would like to say right away that I am a little biased here because I am an absolute freak for seafood. This is why I chose the Oceanaire for my b-day dinner.
We started with a variety of oysters chosen by our waiter. They were all incredibly delicious, but our favorites were some small, briny gems from Prince Edward Island and some larger, succulent pieces from Duxbury, Connecticut. The only slight I saw with the oysters was that the horseradish spiked cocktail sauce was too delicious to resist putting on the oysters—which unfortunately masked their taste.
Hands down, the crab cakes at Oceanaire are the best that either my husband or I have ever tried. They are made of the sweetest jumbo lump crab meat imaginable and are held together by just enough bread crumbs to keep them together. After we shared one, I found myself wishing I had just ordered them as my main course so that I could have two of them all to myself.
Of the main courses we tried, the Stuffed Texas Gulf Flounder was the biggest hit. Stuffed with shrimp and crab, they were drizzled with a lemon butter sauce that my husband was practically licking off the plate. I had to admit, it was just that good.
Probably the weakest of the dishes we tried was the sashimi style tuna with wasabi, a ginger-soy reduction and seaweed salad. The fish was fresh and flavorful, but the wasabi was very bland. There were also just a few drops of the soy reduction on the plate, and I definitely would have liked more. Overall, I was pretty underwhelmed. Especially since it directly followed the heavenly crab cake.
How was the service?
Our waiters on both visits were energetic and passionate about seafood. They had good suggestions with the oysters and the wine, and they were very nice about answering questions.
For my birthday, the restaurant also gave us a specialty menu that read “Happy Birthday Robin” at the top. Of course, all I could think about was direct address and how there should be a comma between “Birthday” and “Robin”, but that’s just me. It was still a nice touch.
They also brought us a free dessert on our b-day visit, which was the Baked Alaska. After sampling the Key Lime Pie on our last visit, which was tart, HUGE and delicious, the Baked Alaska was a little disappointing. The ice cream inside was kind of bland, and the marshmallow on the outside wasn’t quite burned enough for my taste. But it was very thoughtful of them.
How much did it cost?
The place is definitely quite expensive. Main courses range from $20-$40, and the oysters go for $2.50 a pop. However, the portions are enormous, and you can easily get two meals out of almost anything on the menu—especially if you fill up on oysters and crab cakes before your main course.
Was it worth it?
Better for a date or a night out with the girls?
Definitely better for a date. It’s too old-fashioned for a night out with the gals. It makes for a very romantic date, though. Especially if you start with the oysters.
Would you go there again?
Heck yes. I’m not sure if I can wait until my next b-day, though.