Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oceanaire Restaurant

It's always great to have a few connections.

So Victoria's parents book their cruises through a couple of friends who just so happen to have a good number of connections around the city. SO, they were invited by these friends out to The Oceanaire Seafood Room. The executive chef here is Brian Malarkey, also seen on Top Chef. Along with his sous chefs, Sean Langlois and Tyler Thrasher this has got to be the best seafood meal I've had EVER. Now I haven't been to Alaska, Maryland or New England so forgive the ignorance but San Diego is known for a good deal of seafood and this has not only won awards for the best seafood restaurant in San Diego but Brian won the 2007 award for Best Chef in San Diego so that's not too shabby.

We got reservations for 5:30 and I can say the only negative thing about the restaurant (and I don't know that it's the restaurants fault) is the valet driver wasn't available until 5:30. If he could maybe come out 30 minutes earlier that'd be great. Still, when we got there the place was nearly empty and by the time we left around 7:30 there wasn't a seat to be had in either the main room, oyster bar or main bar. PLUS there was a line of people waiting to get in.

This is no cheap restaurant either. The menu changes every night based on what fresh meats they got in that morning. Entrees ranged from the fried fisherman's platter of $24.95 to the Tuna for $45. Mind you the entrees are just what they describe and nothing else. Want a side of veges, fries, hash browns, etc? Those are extra. The bill for a salad, 3 appetizers, a side, 4 entrees and 3 drinks was $260 after tip. Not cheap but not OH MY GOD expensive either.

Tonight, for me, it was the "Dover" Sole stuffed with shrimp, crab and brie and topped with a lemon blanc beurre. Don't know what all that meant except I know my tummy loved it. My appetizer was the escargots which was the best I've ever had. We had a BLT salad which was simply bacon, tomato and lettuce with a spicy peppercorn bacon ranch, or at least I think that's what it was. Either way it was easily the best salad I've had in a long time. Add to that their wonderful crab cakes and a side of The Oceanaire Hash Browns and it was heaven on a table. The hash browns easily could've fed 10 and were just a bit spicy. They went perfectly with the fish and my God I've got to come here every night but I just can't do it.

So there it is. The Oceanaire Seafood Room may have just surpassed The Prado as my favorite place to eat. Especially after the mediocre service I got at The Prado last time. It wasn't bad but if you've been to enough restaurants in this price range you come to expect a certain level of service. This was something I'd expect at a Claimjumper or Chilis. However the service at the Oceanaire definitely met the level I might expect for a place as expensive as it was. Excellence all around. Now just get that valet out a little sooner and you might have yourself a lifetime customer.


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