“Gestalt” is a German word used to describe the ‘wholeness’ of a thing, as something greater than the sum of its parts. It is also a word that sums up what I liked most about my recent dinner experience at Ocean Prime. You see, it wasn’t just this or that aspect, it was how everything came together, as a whole, to make for a very pleasant dining experience. Was everything perfect? Of course not. Would I recommend Ocean Prime? Definitely.
(Note: The above video is not intended as a promotion, but rather a look inside for the curious.)
A Look Inside Ocean Prime
Step inside Ocean Prime and you quickly forget you’re in a strip mall restaurant, albeit it one of the most prestigious in the city.
It is obvious someone did a very nice job designing this restaurant. I love the cherry wood and nautical-themed accents, like light fixtures that connote ocean bubbles, and “porthole” windows that make you feel like you’re on an ocean liner. This just feels like a high-end restaurant.
The seating was comfortable, although I did feel the tables in the main dining area were a bit too closely spaced. I found I could hear other people’s conversations quite easily, which made me want to talk in a lower voice. It also made the task of navigating back to my table from the restroom harder than it should have been, since some paths were obstructed by servers attending to customers. I literally had to reverse course at one point and take an alternate route.
Since this was my first and only dining experience at Ocean Prime I can’t vouch for the level of service in general. But what I do know is that our particular server, Leroy, was excellent. He knew the menu well, right down to the nuances. Even his assistants who dropped by to clear the table and fill our water glasses were excellent.
We started with an order of Ahi Tuna Tartare, with Avocado and Ginger Ponzu. This appetizer didn’t do a whole lot for me, to be honest. But then again, I am just not a big sushi person, so to me the mushiness of the raw tuna was only exacerbated by the avocado.
Up next were the salads. I went with the Ocean Prime House Salad, with romaine, spinach, Granny Smith apples, goat cheese, walnuts and a sherry-mustard vinaigrette. I really liked this salad. It was a very nice combination of flavors. I liked the freshness, and I liked the lightness.
My dinner companion chose the Crisp Wedge of Iceberg, with red onion, smoked bacon, grape tomatoes, bleu cheese, cabernet buttermilk dressing. My one bite was enough to tell me all I needed to know, which was that I would probably order this one for myself the next time.
I almost ordered a steak, but decided I would try a seafood dish since this was Ocean Prime, after all. I chose the Shrimp Linguini, which comes with spinach, tomato, garlic butter, goat cheese, except in my case, I decided I wanted extra shrimp, extra spinach and extra tomato. When the plate hit the table I immediately regretted ordering extra shrimp because the standard amount would have been more than enough. The shrimp was excellent, as were the ingredients. That said, I would not order this particular dish again. It wasn’t until the last few bites that I could really taste the garlic butter sauce, which had settled to the bottom of the plate. If not for this one thing, I think it I would have enjoyed it more.
My dinner companion ordered the Sea Scallops, which come with parmesan risotto, English peas and citrus vinaigrette. She was starting to get full, and wanted to leave room for desert, and so she offered me what was left. I really liked this dish. The scallops were prepared just right, and the citrus vinaigrette kept things interesting.
Not only am I not big on desert, I am not a big fan of cheesecake. But my dinner companion insisted. Naturally I had to try a few bites—I was paying for the meal, after all. It was good, but like I said, I’m just not big on cheesecake. What I did like was the graham cracker crust and everything else that came with it, including the blueberries. If you like cheesecake, you’ll probably like this desert.
“Affordable” is a relative term. If you live on a fast-food budget, then you probably won’t be going to Ocean Prime, except on special occasions. It’s not that any one thing is prohibitively expensive, but with á la carte pricing, it all starts to add up. It would be easy to drop in excess of $200 on dinner for two, especially when you start throwing in things like appetizers, salads, wine and desert.
But I think the value is there. You’re paying for a fine dining experience, and that is exactly what you get.
I would recommend Ocean Prime. I liked the menu, the service was great, loved the interior, and despite a few, small shortcomings, my overall experience was a very pleasant one, and I would definitely go back.