PHOTO: Mike taking a photo of the beautiful Bourbon presentation at Ocean Prime Dallas (c) Sery Kim
Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, Ocean Prime Restaurant is one of the many restaurants under Columbus, Ohio-based, uber-restauranteur Cameron Mitchell's massive portfolio. Known as a steakhouse, the Ocean Prime brand has a reputation for steady reliability: the menus are predictably familiar with various cuts of meat, numerous familiar sides like mashed potatoes and mac'n'cheese, as well as a hearty selection of seafood. The Restaurant also has a great beverage menu so it's rather ideal for happy hours. Certainly, the Washington, D.C. branch of Ocean Prime has this reputation -- beyond packed during happy hour -- and so, upon my move to Dallas, Texas, the first restaurant I drove to dine at was Ocean Prime Dallas.
PHOTO: Ocean Prime's most popular cocktail Berries & Bubbles (c) Sery Kim
Texas, more specifically Dallas, has a world-class background in steaks so the competition for the consideration of steak aficionado's is quite fierce. Additionally, when a restauranteur opens a steakhouse, they have to build in the fact many Texas residents are equally adapt at making their own steaks rather than going out. So what would drive someone to abandon their own backyard grills and make the long drive into Downtown Dallas? Why would a Texan want to spend $100 eating steak? It certainly can not be simply be the reputation of the owner ... there has to be a more fulsome experience. Thankfully Cameron Mitchell has figured out the formula because when we went to dine at Ocean Prime Dallas the restaurant was packed -- and the meal completely delightful.
Recently, this branch underwent a multi-million dollar renovation to bring the decor to a modern, aka sleek, look; however, the service and general food required no upkeep. Nothing particularly remarkable about the decor so there isn't anything to say one-way or the-other. Ocean Prime's refurbish was comfortable, with generous seating and moody lighting.
PHOTO: Fresh daily catch Oysters at Ocean Prime (c) Sery Kim
If you come to Ocean Prime Dallas, your are coming for the exceptional service and food.
Look, I know people treat me well because they know I am either going to write about them or talk about them on television so I take care to not only go out-of-my-way to interact with people who have absolutely no idea who I am and also to see how the other tables around me are being treat. It's important for anyone to go into a restaurant and have it be a special treat. With Ocean Prime Dallas, I can say, unequivocably, those tables around me were promptly greeted, served well and all those I saw left with a happy smile on their faces.
As they should! The food-and-beverage program at Ocean Prime Dallas should be enough to make even the heartiest of steak fans happy.
PHOTO: My Berries & Bubbles (c) Sery Kim
I went straight for Berries & Bubbles and ended up drinking two. Made with Belvedere Citrus Vodka, Grand Marnier Marinated Berries, Fresh Lemon, Domaine Chandon Brut and Dry Ice Smoke ($14), the Berries & Bubbles was incredibly refreshing and so easy to consume. Plus it looks so good being presented at the table -- I do love it when everyone stares -- and so that was an added element of fun I did not expect.
To start our food pairing with cocktails, we ordered the Oysters and they were fat and delicious. I also ordered the Caesar Salad (for the same reason I always order french fries at restaurants). The salads are a good baseline test to see how the Restaurant's kitchen will approach the general food service. Ocean Prime's Caesar Salad was easy on the dressing, with an artful almost healthy twist to it. I loved the cheese croutons to replace the basic garlic ones every other restaurant puts on there salad.
PHOTO: Ocean Prime's Caesar Salad (c) Sery Kim
For entrees, we ordered a special steak as well as the Crab Cake and both were quite tasty. Again, it wasn't as if either dish were "beyonds words" or Michelin-worthy, but it was filling, comforting and perfectly seasoned. It made me happy to eat it -- and I certainly didn't leave hungry!
PHOTO: Ocean Prime's Crab Cake (c) Sery Kim
The sides though were amazing. I am totally in love with Ocean Prime's Mac'n'Cheese and honestly think it is worth going to the restaurant just to eat it. Decadent amounts of cheese pour around and in-between the macaroni almost like a gooey cement, but without the teeth-breaking element. It was salty and just right right, so so good! As for dessert, we were so full we skipped dessert but I know I will be going back to eat more soon.
Thank you Ocean Prime Dallas for a delightful welcome to the Big D!