Oceanaire Seafood Room30 S Meridian St. Indianapolis, IN 46204
As a conclusion to Sean’s brother being here, we wanted to take him some place special. We originally intended on taking him to the “famous” St. Elmos, but after eating there not too long before this, we realized we needed to come up with another place. With a pescatarian in the group, and wanting to try someplace new downtown, Oceanaire looked like our best option.
Being that it is oyster season and Oceanaire gets all their oysters (2.95-3.50 each) flown in daily, we had to try them—all of them! There were 11 different oysters available that night, so when 55 oysters arrived at our table, we could only smile. All the oysters were $2.95 with the exception of one, which was $3.50. The oysters came with lemons, horseradish, cocktail sauce, and red wine vinegar with onions. In order to best compare the oysters, we only squeezed the lemons on them. Our favorites were the Judd Cove and Pickering Pass, with the HammersleyInlet being not too far behind. Next in line were the Barron Point and the Shingoku. If any of these five are on the list of oysters Oceanaire has that
night, we would recommend getting any/all of these. The Judd Cove, Pickering Pass and Barron Point were very clean tasting while the Shingoku and Hammersley being briny. After these five, were our average oysters—Kumamoto ($3.50), Calm Cove and Sisters Point. Our least favorite were the Hurricane Harbor, Eagle Rock and Malpaque.
Recommendation: If you only want to try a couple of oysters and don’t know which ones to try, we would recommend asking you server for the best selling ones. All these oysters went well with our Riesling wine.
We also ordered the Escargots Bourguigonne ($9.95) with burgundy butter and a puff pastry. Sean did not like the burgundy flavor and thought it tasted a little like dirt. The puff pastry, while good, took away from the escargots.
Recommendation: What ever happened to just butter with your escargots? Skip.
Up next, we ordered the Steamed Mussels ($16.95) with white wine, butter and Shallots. This was a crowd favorite. The sauce was what made this dish, with butter being the predominate flavor and the white wine and shallots adding some sweetness and acidity. This was the kind of sauce that if we weren’t at a restaurant, we would have sipped it right from the bowl. Restraining our inner selves, we asked for more bread to mop up the sauce.
Recommendation: Order this and be sure to ask your server for more bread.
Our last appetizer we ordered was the Fried Red Chili Calamari ($12.95) with warm Asian vegetables. The vegetables were sweet peppers, onions, and carrots. It comes with butter and a teriyaki dipping sauce, and of course, a lemon. The calamari had a little heat (but not too much) to them from some red pepper flakes. The breading was good, but was not as crispy or thick as we would have liked. Where this dish goes from average to extraordinary, is in the teriyaki sauce! The sauce was sweet, tangy and spicy. It paired perfectly with the calamari.
Recommendations: Some twists make you wonder what the chef was thinking (i.e. the escargots), others make you question why the twist isn’t the norm. This was definitely the latter. A must, along with the mussels.
Our friend ordered the Seafood Chopped Salad ($10.95) that comes with crabmeat, shrimp, feta cheese and a Greek vinaigrette. It also came with plum tomatoes, a hard boiled egg, and a thinly shaved piece of Parmesan. The crab and shrimp, which were both cold, had no seasoning except for the vinaigrette.
Recommendation: This salad was not memorable compared to the other dishes we ate.
I ordered the Caesar Salad ($8.95). This was your standard Caesar salad, again nothing special. There were only a few croutons and the salad was a little small to justify the almost $9 price tag.
Because we had already eaten so much, we didn’t order as many entrées. Sean and his brother split the Black & Bleu Panamanian Cobia ($38.95) with caramelized onions & bleu cheese butter. Pictured is just one half of the dish, since they portioned the fish before serving—a nice touch. Cobia, being a white fish that is not very oily, is mild and takes on the flavors surrounding it. The blackened seasoning was good, and the spicyness was countered by the bleu cheese butter. The onions added a slight sweetness. Be forewarned, this dish was very rich.
Recommendation: Two really strong flavors that balanced each other very well. A great dish.
My brother-in-law ordered the Grilled Norwegian Salmon ($36.95) with the Blue Crab Oscar ($10.95) enhancement. Throughout the dinner, our server had been making some mistakes here and there, and this is where things really took a turn for the worse. First, this dish was supposed to be accompanied saffron risotto with roasted root vegetables and braised pork shank. As you can see from the picture, the risotto, vegetables, and pork shank were missing from the dish, and the asparagus and hollandaise sauce was missing from the enhancement. After bringing this to our server’s attention, it was corrected, but was still missing the pork shank the second time. The salmon was cooked as ordered, but was lacking some flavoring to help elevate the dish.
Recommendation: Not a bad dish, just not worth the price.
Up first was the Steamed Asparagus ($9.95) with a hollandaise sauce. These asparagus were huge! They were steamed to perfection—soft on the outside, with a slight crunch on the exterior. They were properly salted and the lemon added some needed acidity.
Recommendation: A great side.
We also ordered the Creamed Corn ($8.95). Some were commenting about how delicious the corn was, so I stopped eating my salad and put some corn on my plate. Upon doing so, I notice something shiny. It turned out to be a piece of a wire. At this point, we got the manager who ordered another side of corn for us (but didn’t comp this at the end). The second plate (free of wires) was just as delicious as the first one. The corn was fresh and the sweetness of the creamed corn was balanced by the added salt.
Recommendation: Another great side, just be sure there are no wires in it when you are eating it.
We ordered the Key Lime Pie ($9.95). This was a fairly big portion and was not necessary after all we ate. The pie was tart but the crust was a little thin compared to how big the rest of the pie was. This was a good key lime pie, it just wasn’t one of our bests.
Recommendation: Not a bad way to end your dinner.
We also ordered the Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée ($9.95). The orange from the Grand Marnier did not come though, and left a charred taste to the Brûléed sugar. The Crème was not that memorable either.
There were many hiccups in food/service throughout the night, but for the most part the food was very tasty. The mistakes had are not ones you would expect in a fine dining establishment such as this. Bad service aside (we realize this doesn’t happen every night), the food was not worth the price tag, and for that reason alone, we would not recommend taking friends/family here.
Location: Downtown (Wholesale District)
Dress Code: Business Casual