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Written by Gary J. Arzt

Friday, 15 August 2008

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Tags:
leisure and relaxationrestaurants and dining
seafood
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In Miami’s long delayed and much anticipated Mary Brickell Village, the opening of ‘Oceanaire’, an outpost of a small group that was born in Minneapolis, heralded the arrival of an elegant seafood restaurant in water borne city that lacked such a venue.


The ‘village’ itself, contains several dining and entertainment venues, but to my mind the high end is occupied by The Oceanaire Seafood Room and a Brazilian steakhouse (more about it on another occasion).

The sleek, stainless steel railings, not so dark wood paneling and well spaced seating took me back to the art deco décor of pre-war (World War II for our younger readers) steamships that plied the Atlantic between New York and Southampton, and Le Havre. Everything from the light fixtures to the upholstered banquettes and chairs melded into a smooth, comfortable, attractive ‘stage set,’ which is what restaurants are, where the clientele and the food are the stars.

The Oceanaire plies the same seas bringing forth the finest selections of fresh fish and shellfish. An extensive and well chosen Wine List, as well as the finest, premium brands of whatever you drink…including bottled water, makes for a superb meal. A very extensive menu, in every category, makes choosing your lunch, or dinner, a serious task.

The side dishes, that included steamed, fresh baby bok choy and boiled red potatoes…that’s what we had on my most recent visit are unusual, speaking generally; beautifully prepared and these side dishes could have served an army platoon!

Oysters, clams, salads, soups…you name it; there’s a plethora of Appetizers to choose from, and a vast selection of each item. Oysters, for instance, hale from the Northeast, Atlantic, and Pacific Northwest and include the best known choices as well as some lesser known mollusks selected by the Executive Chef, Sean Bernal.

I was intrigued by the Ugly Tomatoes and sliced Red Onion, so I asked our waiter, Marco, how ugly they were. That comment drew a smile and laugh from Marco, and an order from me.

The beautiful, not ugly, Beefsteak tomatoes were plated in thick slices with loosely sliced red onion and served with a creamy Bleu (or Blue) Cheese dressing. I prefer thick sliced onion, as the loosely sliced onions tend to dangle, like spaghetti from the fork and are difficult to get into your mouth without slurping them up! The consistency of the dressing – a little thin to my taste – was wanting, but, overall the flavour and quality get very high marks.

For the entrée, I had the Maine Diver scallops…exquisite thick, round, delectable disks, reminiscent of miniature hockey pucks! Done to a turn and exquisitely plated.

By the way, this is a classic a la carte restaurant…by “plated,” I mean your order is accompanied by a garnish. The side dishes are the only way to go.

There is hardly a fresh fish that wasn’t available. My luncheon companion had the Halibut cheeks and I was favoured with a smidgeon that proved they were flawlessly prepared. We accompanied our meal with a few glasses of superb white wines. I could name them, but, I’ll skip that. Try them all when you get to Oceanaire!

We passed on desert and chose, instead, a couple of espressos that turned out to be totally consistent with Oceanaire’s other offerings…excellent.

We then repaired to our favourite tobacconist, Absolute Premium Cigars (22 S.W. 8th Street), around the corner from the restaurant, for our postprandial cigars.

 

 

 

 

The Oceanaire Seafood Room
900 South Miami Avenue, Suite 111
Miami, Florida 33130
Telephone: 305.372.8862
Facsimile: 305.372.8170
www.theoceanaire.com




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