Radar Range: An Early Look at Ocean Prime
It’s drop-dead gorgeous, this interloper from Columbus, Ohio. Big and brash, with the right mix of sophisticated styling and sex appeal to attract both a business crowd and the social butterflies, Ocean Prime seems to know what it’s doing.
When it comes to restaurants, Dallas hasn’t typically been kind to transplants or star chefs. Remember BLT Steak? Il Mulino? Bice? The Grotto? Smith and Wollensky? They work in other cities just fine. Not in Dallas.
But Ocean Prime may be different. For one thing, the menu is seafood-heavy, and Dallas needs another good seafood restaurant. The downside, of course, is that fresh seafood comes at a higher food cost for the restuarant (which usually translates to a higher entree price for us). The perceived value of, say, a $25 fish entree sometimes falls short.
Another thing to note about this out-of-towner: Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has a proven track record with eight different concepts, including Ocean Prime’s locations in Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Detroit and Tampa. I’m told two more are in development. Just one look at the interior of the Dallas restaurant tells you Cameron Mitchell is not afraid to spend money–even in the tangles of a tough economy.
Ocean Prime’s menu touches on all the sweet spots: crab cakes with sweet corn cream ($15), ahi tuna ($15), she crab bisque ($9), pecan crusted trout ($24). There’s also Scottish salmon, scallops, red snapper, and swordfish. You’ll also find Chilean sea bass, despite its ominous listing as a fish to avoid on Seafood Watch. Half a dozen steaks range from $32 to $43, including a bone-in filet at the top price point.
But the showstopper? A Ding-Dong’s worth of Peanut butter ganache mousse encased in a dark chocolate shell.
Here’s chef Sonny Pache narrating a tour of Ocean Prime:
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