Since Oceanaire’s menu is revised every day to reflect the freshest catch out there, it makes perfect sense that Chef John Taylor has crafted his latest offerings to include the seafood bounty available this summer and also, the preferences of what we like to eat in 100 degree heat. I was happy to be able to try the new things!
A cool — literally and figuratively — way to perk up your appetite when you’re wilting is with a chilled shellfish platter. It’ll get you all your favorites from the raw bar, like Old Bay flavored shrimp, snow crab, lobster, and fresh oysters. They’re served with a number of dips/sauces, including mignonette, house-made cocktail sauce with freshly grated horseradish, garlic mayo, and ginger soy sauce. You’ll have fun mixing and matching them with the various seafood.
Dutch Harbor King Crab is also now on the menu, for seafood lovers and fans of “Deadliest Catch”.
The lobster corn cake has one foot in New England and one foot in the Southwest. The polenta-like cake is infused with lobster stock. It lightly binds lots of lobster meat. It’s definitely meaty, not bready. You’ll find tasty heat that complements the seafood, doesn’t overwhelm it. Garnishes include sweet corn, tomatillos, tomatoes, cucumber. There’s a light glazing of a tasty, creamy avocado sauce that a little garlic and smoked paprika. All the warm civilizations cool off with some hot pepper in their diets, so this is a good start here!
This is the season for Sockeye salmon from Copper River, Alaska. Oceanaire knows just how to treat a richly flavored fish like this. Incidentally, Sockeye salmon is chock-full of of omega-3 fish oils and Chef Taylor says that the salmon may be the healthiest thing on the menu! Here’s to being beautiful and eating great food. The salmon is cooked in the ultimate way for hot summer days: lime tones down the oily flavors, while it’s garnished wtih red peppers, tomatoes, red onion, scallions, orange. It’s naturally sweet and juicy.
A new type of fish is on the menu: stone fish, also known as wreck fish. It’s an open ocean fish found around South Carolina. They tend to congregate around ship wrecks and grow quite large in those protected areas. It’s a sustainable bass that’s lighter and milder than rockfish. It really does have the texture of a tender chicken breast. Oceanaire is treating theirs with a good amount of heat and baby shrimp as garnish.
Sweet potato fries are a good side and Oceanaire takes theirs out of the ordinary: the chef has created a decadent “fondue” dip for them with garlic, leeks, cream cheese, goat cheese. It’s creamy and rich, yet the tangy flavor of goat cheese compliments the sweet potato fries.
Oceanaire has switched up one of the sides: lobster mac and cheese has now been reincarnated into the fun and fantastic crab mac and cheese. Crab is incorporated into the luxurious bechamel and rich cheddar cheese flavored with Old Bay, and the whole thing is topped with lump crab. Think of your favorite crab dip gone uptown! Really, you could get that and a salad for a filling summer meal.
A secret of Oceanaire is that its sous chefs have Gulf Coast origins: it’s become a great place for excellent soul food offerings. Collard greens have just been put on the menu. They retain their texture — aren’t soupy — and have been cooked with house-smoked pork belly. They have lots of meaty flavor. It’s garnished with crispy fried onions.
There are two perfect for summer desserts on the menu. Raspberry creme brulee’ has fresh raspberries baked right into the custard. It sure is an indulgent change from berries and cream. The other offering is lemon icebox pie — like a key lime pie, but with lemon. It’s big, cool, and cloud-like. The sauce served is a sophisticated blackberry/lavender sauce with a hint of vanilla. The floral notes make for interesting flavor without being too sweet.