Ocean Prime: Midwestern Hospitality in Midtown


In the northern shadow of Times Square, just a high kick away Radio City Music Hall is Ocean Prime NYC — a lunch Mecca for business types and a destination dinner spot for all, especially the well-heeled theatre crowds. I recently visited Ocean Prime along with my dear friend, Kendra, who was relocating to the Middle East. Our experience sent her off on her new career in style with a memorable meal as well as midwestern hospitality.

The handsome and alluring dining room is accented with inlaid wood veneered walls, suspension lamps illuminate the space above stark white table linen. We entered the establishment as a large group of professionals enjoy a conversation around the gigantic, circular oak table and a groomed wait staff do what they do best — imagine choreography at The Joyce Theatre. We were ushered to our table and greeted by several front-of-house team members with a sincerity that is uncommon in NYC. (The company prides itself on its midwestern hospitality).

We started off our visit with a toast to her new job. I lifted a glass of cheer called the Whiskey Clover made with Gentleman Jack Whiskey, Hennessy VS, honey water and hand-squeezed lemon and orange. It was as refreshing as the hope for Spring and a jolt of Summer. They also offer a Rum Punch made with Don Pancho 8 Year Rum, Ancho Reyes, apricot orchard, fresh orange and chocolate bitters

With the recommendation of the our server, the dinner began with their Prime Roll made with tempura shrimp, cream cheese, scallion and a generous portion of beef carpaccio that elevates the dish out of the traditional Japanese edibles. While we enjoyed it, the roll is not anything to write home about. What came after was more spectacular.

The Sea Scallops come with Parmesan risotto, English peas and a citrus vinaigrette. On this night they had a special that rocked out the dish with a potato puree and herbs. In a single word, mouthwatering.

Kendra told her mother that she was going to Ocean Prime for dinner. Her mother reminded her that she had eaten at the Florida location and loved the Truffle Mac N Cheese. This might sound trite but it was also true. The truffles arrived at the table way before the dish — I could smell the aroma on its way. We both agreed that this was outstanding in flavor. Granted, we were there during truffle season at its peak. This is a must-try.

With the mindset of Ocean, I thought the primary focus of the restaurant would be fish. I misinterpreted the prime part. Our server recommended several fish options including a special of the night. We came to an agreement. While the snapper was moist, cooked to perfection and flaky, I noticed a pair of pork chops and their bone-in filet pass our table. We will simply have to return for those entrees.

The good news is that they offer more options for every taste and hunger pang. This month in particular, Ocean Prime has a special menu for every diet including Lent. Their surf (no turf) menu options include delicious Pescatarian options like the following:

* Lobster Bisque Sweet Corn Fritter
* Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sweet Corn Cream
* Chilean Sea Bass Whipped Potatoes, Champagne Truffle Sauce

And of course the Sea Scallops that I mention above.

Our night ended on a sugary note with their vast dessert menu, a delicious cappuccino and many laughs. We will raise a glass and fork again to the memories.

Ocean Prime
123 W 52nd St,
New York, NY


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