Monday, September 17, 2012

Ocean Prime

It’s new, so of course I had to try it.  I have heard a lot of mixed things—but am always excited to see for myself, particularly when it is so close to my house.  We met my parents and my sister and her husband one night for dinner. I always enjoy these meals because my family knows they have to share whatever they order.  They are down with blog participation.

Hubby and I perused the menu before we got there because we knew we would need lots of time for negotiations—the menu is pretty big.  After guessing what my family would order (with a high degree of accuracy I might add), we decided to go with a meal of lots of appetizers to share between us. 

We started with the tuna tartare ($16) and an order of the fried calamari ($14) for the table.  Hubby and I mainly ate the tartare and enjoyed it. I liked the way they had mixed the slivers of fried wontons right into it.  It had a fair amount of avocado and was topped with some crème fraiche. The whole thing sat in a ginger ponzu sauce.  I tend to like ponzu—which is soy based with some citrus mixed in as well. Sounds like it would be a great combo with the tuna and it was good—it just had a little strange twist of sweetness, almost like there was some sweet chili oil in there too.  But all in all, an enjoyable dish.  My family really likes the calamari which is fried and served with a true sweet chili oil and candied cashews.  The calamari itself was really good—very fresh and really tender.  I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I am tired of sweet chili oil though—it seems like it is on so many menus these days.  It is certainly a very generous portion and easy to share.  If you like calamari, and a slightly sweeter taste, you will probably like this.

Next, hubby and I split the Shellfish “cobb” salad ($19).  I was intrigued by the salad because it was about as close to a Louis salad as I have seen around town and I desperately miss them.  There was lettuce, blue cheese, chopped egg, and shellfish—lobster, crab and shrimp.  Strangely, the dressing with it was called “gourmet” dressing—really? Is that a technical name for a dressing?  When asked the server told me it was egg and champagne vinaigrette based and described it as “dull” which I thought was a little weird.  It wasn’t bad, and the salad contained a whole bunch of my favorite things on a plate, but overall, it just didn’t seem to mesh together. I am not exactly sure why.  I appreciated that they split the salad evenly between us.  I think I enjoyed my sister’s Ocean Prime house salad better—the dressing (a Sherry vinaigrette with some Dijon) was very good.  The salad had lettuce, spinach, apples, goat cheese and walnuts. It was well done.

For my “main” dish, I had the goat cheese ravioli appetizer ($11).  Even though it wasn’t steak or seafood, I thought it was the best thing on the table all night.  The pasta was housemade (that makes me so happy) and was stuffed with goat cheese—the broth it sat in was buttery and lemony and there were also thinly sliced shitake mushrooms scattered throughout, which added a nice earthy flavor to go along with the sharpness of the goat cheese and lemon.  Even my brother in law liked it, and he claims not to like goat cheese.

Hubby had the “signature appetizer” crab cake ($16) for his entrée (you can get it as an app or entrée; he went with the smaller version).  I had heard decent things about it and it was so well featured in the menu, I had pretty high hopes, even though generally crab cakes bore the crap out of me these days.  This one was not very good—it wasn’t that crabby—more of a flatter pancake kind of version without much of the crabby lumps I like.  Hubby was really disappointed.

We had bites of pretty much everyone else’s food—steak, shrimp pasta, scallops and lobster.  It was all cooked properly (well, the shrimp was a bit tough) and was enjoyed by the people who ordered it.  It was pretty classic steakhouse type food.  We also all shared a couple of sides—one I really liked and one was a bit of a letdown.  The jalapeno au gratin potatoes ($10) were really good—the potatoes were more shredded, had just a hint of heat from the peppers and lots of Swiss cheese which was nice.  They were cheesy but not so much so that you felt like you were just eating cheese.  They were worth ordering for sure.  The black truffle mac and cheese ($12) was a letdown.  One of my big pet peeves is when something is called “truffle” and has absolutely no truffle flavor (but is still priced as if it does).  You can see the two slices of truffle in the picture, but that is the only evidence of truffles.  By looking at the picture you can taste the truffle flavor as much as I could that night.  The mac and cheese wasn’t a bad basic mac and cheese, but I was sad about the truffles.
Desserts were good as well--hubby and I shared the peanut butter pie ($9) (we have a peanut allergy in our house, so we never have peanut stuff in the house, so it always seems extra decadent).  It was really very good.  I am not sure I would call it a "pie," but regardless, I would say it was tasty.  It was basically peanut butter mousses covered in a dark chocolate ganache.  The middle was very light and soft and the chocolate super rich.  Like an amazing peanut butter cup.

Overall, it’s a nice place, very popular with some highlights on the menu for sure.  The interior is nice, although many of the tables are kind of cramped together.  They have a great looking outside bar area in which I would enjoy grabbing an appetizer and a glass of wine some time. There are definitely ups and downs food-wise, and it is pretty pricey, so some of the entrées are kind of risky endeavors if you don’t want to spend a lot.  I do like that they have a fair amount of non-steak (and mainly seafood) entrée options.  I would go back, but I would probably stick with appetizers. 

Who else has gone? What was your experience like?

Ocean Prime
8555 North River Road
Indy  46240

Ocean Prime on Urbanspoon


  1. I've been four times and I've really enjoyed the place. I claim to disdain the chain restos in town as much as every other self professed foodie but I've found the food to be quite solid and the decor and patio seating to be excellent.

    Like you, I have generally stuck to appetizers. The place is, indeed, quite expensive for Indy.

  2. Also, a little extra piece of info...they do offer half price bottles of wine (under $100) on Sundays.

  3. Great review, but I cringed every time I read "hubby."

  4. For a pricey restaurant, I was disappointed that my $9 ceasar salad had brown lettuce in it and that they set the table (all of the tables) with two ENTREE forks instead of a one salad and one entrée fork. Oceanaire is a much classier restaurant when comparing details like the table setting and general ambience.