Monday, April 25, 2011

New Spring/Summer Fare That's Making Waves At Oceana New York

By: Anne M. Raso & Finance Foodie

I was recently lucky enough to sample the new Bar Menu (also called the "Cafe Menu" by the waiters) at the legendary Oceana in Midtown Manhattan. This appetizer sized fare is actually available at tables in the bar area, at the actual bar and at the patio outside the side of the light and airy nautical themed eaterie that could just as easily be placed in Southampton. As I sat by the bar overlooking the soon to be opened patio, I happily imbibed the Brazilian rum dominated Kafir Lime Caprinha (or several of them) and the Forbidden Punch made with gin, Domaine Canto and Creme Yvette.

All of the fare offered for the bar and patio is seafood-based, with the exception of the much-raved-about burgers and sirloin Oceana serves. Some of my favorites at the table were the Smoked Tuna Roll (where only the exterior of the roll is actually smoked), Oysters With Rose Gelee From Rose Champagne (topped with kumquat slices), and Lobster Tater Tots (an item that has not surprisingly, turned out to be the runaway success of the new bar/patio menu).
Also not to be missed are the Fish Tacos (made with different types of fish daily, but usually with the more flavorful parts of a bass or halibut according to the manager) and Crispy Calamari (Oceana uses a fairly traditional recipe although it seemed much less oil-drenched than how you would get it in say, Little Italy or on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx).
I was super impressed with the desserts on this menu--as the Cookie Assortment featured new takes on old fashioned flavors, with flavors such as peanut butter cream-filled meringue with chocolate chips and pistachio and a chocolate chip biscotti. I could not resist the Frozen Pudding Pops -- even Bill Cosby would have to admit that these would beat out his plain ol' Jello Pudding Pops anyday! While small and shaped like a top, the Oceana Frozen Pudding Pops pack a lot of flavor (our batch was dark chocolate and caramel flavor). I dare to say that these will please the palate of those from three to 100 years old--they're sophisticated but the fact that they are still sweet and served on a lollipop stick make them appealing to younger folks as well.
Items on the Oceana bar menu are reasonably priced for a upscale eaterie ($5 to $13 for the above-mentioned plates and $11 to $14 for the speciality cocktails), and the food seems to come out very fast--so I definitely suggest that you try out the Oceana bar/cafe menu when you are not sure what you are in the mood for. There's something on the menu for everyone--and I can't wait to go back on a nice spring/summer day and eat these great bites on the outdoor patio instead of inside at a table next to the famous Oceana bar. Now don't give me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the bar! -- but it would be just such a fabulous "sunny" feeling to eat sea fare outdoors with the bright rays of the NYC summer sun beaming down!  -AMR


So I got the chance to further explore Oceana's "ocean floor" during my dinner at the restaurant this past Saturday night. Highlights you ask? For the savory courses, Executive Chef Ben Pollinger's traditional but oh-so-perfect broiled lobster stuffed with crabmeat and hearty peekytoe crab cakes are must haves. For the dessert? Chef Jansen Chan's cookie assortment (mentioned by Anne above) is fantasitc, but my personal favorite was the de-constructed strawberry shortcake with mint sorbet. -FF  

Oceana Restaurant
120 West 49th St.
New York, NY 10020
(212) 759-5941
Oceana on Urbanspoon

[Photos: Anne M. Raso & Finance Foodie]

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