While my first Summer Restaurant Week 2011 experience was less than stellar
, my second was right on the money. I've been curious about Oceanaire for a while now, but it always seemed so crazy expensive to try cold. Mr Minx was never particularly thrilled with their Restaurant Week menu, so I was happy to find out that my dear high school chum, Kim, had put it on her short list.
We dined early on a Friday; when we arrived the restaurant was mostly empty, so the simple and elegant space seemed cavernous, rather like the dining room of a cruise ship. Which I suppose was the idea. Our waiter, Chad, greeted the table with a smile that did not leave his face; he made us feel welcome and at home during the entire meal. And the food was as lovely as his demeanor.
Kim started off with a nicely-dressed Caesar salad, and I opted for the red chili calamari. The generous and tender portion of rings and tentacles had been drizzled with a sweet chili sauce that reminded me of dipping sauces served in a Thai restaurant as an accompaniment to fried things. But without the heat. Underneath the squid was a chopped vegetable salad of sorts that had absorbed some of the chili sauce and made for a tasty surprise.
Kim enjoyed the black and bleu flat iron steak, cooked a perfect medium (although she requested medium-well)...
...while I devoured the shrimp and grits. The Cajun butter sauce was very rich and studded with sliced garlic, which gave the dish an almost Italianate flavor. I think this dish is ordinarily an appetizer on the regular menu, and I would definitely consider ordering it again.
After we ordered our three Restaurant Week choices (appetizer, entrée, dessert), Chad inquired as to whether we might also like a vegetable. The creamy mashed potatoes were a perfect choice to accompany Kim's steak; I chose the multicolored carrots, bathed in a butter sauce with a touch of sweetness and a good dose of dill.
Because there was a lot of butter on both the carrots and my shrimp dish, I opted to take my dessert home - there was no way I'd be able to eat more than a bite of the giant, hand-sized, chocolate chip cookies. Instead, I took a taste of Kim's lemon icebox pie, a generously-sized, blueberry-topped slab much like a no-bake cheesecake, but with a less-cheesy, more-lemony flavor.
Overall, it was a very good experience. The service was lovely, the food was really very good, and we felt comfortable and taken care of. Oceanaire has officially made it to my list of "Special Occasion" restaurants to visit in the future.
Oceanaire Seafood Room
801 Aliceanna St
Baltimore, MD 21202
Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.
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