First look: Ocean Prime

Chilean seabass with glazed carrots in a champagne truffle sauce.

The goods: Restaurateur Cameron Mitchell sails his famed Ocean Prime to our beachy shores with this latest opening in Aventura Mall. The Ohio-based company already operates 11 restaurants around the country and plans to open five Ocean Prime outlets this year. The Miami restaurant is being touted as a “modern American supper club” and it definitely mixes contemporary sensibilities with nostalgia for the grand old days of fancy dinners with live entertainment and formal service. There’s a nautical theme throughout with porthole-shaped windows, wavy blue-lit walls and mollusk-shaped light fixtures. The swanky cruise ship vibe extends throughout the space with a front cocktail lounge outfitted with high-top tables and live music. The vast dining room is accented with dark woods and white tablecloths while a floor-to-ceiling glass wine tower holds court in the foyer.

The grub: Seafood-focused American fare. Aquatic offerings include an extensive raw bar and a half-dozen types of fish including halibut, trout, sea bass and red snapper. If you’re not into fish, there’s also plenty of steak available including an 18-oz rib eye and rack of lamb. Prices are geared for the well-heeled with starters priced from $11-$17, mains $23-$48 and a la carte sides are about $8. Dinner starts with warm crusty bread and complimentary crudite. Appetizers like the truffle deviled eggs – six halves boasting creamy truffle­infused filling topped with bits of caviar – set the tone for the Americana-inspired feast. Fish can be ordered grilled or with upscale flourishes like champagne truffle sauce, crab succotash or soy brown butter. Spuds fanatics will relish the eight potato sides available including sea salt vinegar fries and jalapeño au gratin.

Desserts include classics such as a baked Alaska (alas, with no flaming tableside show) and the crowd-pleasing chocolate peanut butter pie made with peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache.

The verdict: With dapper décor and an ambitious menu Ocean Prime raises the culinary bar at the Aventura Mall.

Ocean Prime, Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd; 305-931-5400

Published: 8/08

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