Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime overall score: 90

I rolled through Ocean Prime for a quick NYC Restaurant Week meal one night after work with a friend of mine. They were booked solid, so we grabbed a seat in the lounge area near the bar to eat. While the menu was limited to a small filet for restaurant week (in terms of beef), I figured it was a good opportunity to test-drive the steakhouse before going balls-deep with a big rib eye. Here’s what I thought:

Flavor: 9
The filet was delicious, and was cooked to an absolutely perfect medium rare. It had a good seasoned outside, and the inside was juicy and flavorful. While the outside wasn’t super crisp, it still managed to hold in all the juices.

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I’m looking forward to heading back for a proper rib eye. I have to say… for a place to score an 88 on a test run with a severely limited restaurant week menu… I’m impressed.

Second trip: perfectly cooked rib eye. Similar notes regarding the sear, as the rib eye had a slight wetness on top. Otherwise absolutely delicious. With a bit more crisp on the edges, this would deb full points for flavor.

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
Three filets, two strips and a rib eye are offered here. There is no beef porterhouse. I have to take a few points for that. The menu indicates that all steaks are prime quality, but nothing is noted about aging. Perhaps a few more bone-in options would also beef up the selection here as well. But with consistent, top notch quality, it might not matter too much. Second trip: upgraded to 8/10.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are slightly smaller than most places for the price range of midtown steak joints. The plating is elegant and clean, nothing too fancy.

Price: 8
This is an expensive joint, with a small 8oz filet coming in at almost $50, however their most expensive steak is $57, a 12oz “bone-in filet,” so the range isn’t too wide. In any case, they do participate in NYC Restaurant Week, where they offer a three-course meal for $38 that includes an app, an entree, two sides and a dessert.

Bar: 10
This is a great bar for hanging out after work. The crowd is all suits from Bankville, USA, but the space is beautifully apportioned and you can watch the street from the well-lit seating arrangement.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
There’s lamb, chicken, and a pork porterhouse in terms of other meats. That’s a nice showing, especially considering that this place is a bit lighter on the beef selections and a bit heavier on the seafood selections. Also, on a second trip there were lots of specials read to us from all menu categories, including steak.

Second trip: 14oz strip steak with brie special. Upgraded to 9/10.

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Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
I had the Point Judith calamari, which was perfectly breaded and fried to a golden crisp, and drizzled with just the right amount of sweet chili sauce. It also comes with roasted cashews, which nails home the distinct Asian dimension to the dish.

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My steak came with mashed potatoes and green beans for the restaurant week menu, so I got to taste a few items. Both were good, but nothing incredible.

The desserts, however, were a different story. I tried both the peanut butter mousse with chocolate ganache, and the carrot cake, which Ocean Prime is famous for at this point. Del Frisco’s has the lemon cake. Strip House has the chocolate cake. Ocean Prime has the carrot cake, which i shy far my favorite, and I DO love the lemon cake at Del’s. Typically, the cake is 10 layers high and a massive wedge. This restaurant week portion was just right for me, as I was already kind of full. The frosting had a great fall-spice to it, and the cake was moist without being too dense.

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The full carrot cake slice from the dinner menu:

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The peanut butter and chocolate pie was good too, but too sweet for my liking. It was light due to the mousse element, though, which is nice. It was also beautiful to look at.

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Second trip: surf and turf appetizer of braised short rib and scallop was incredible. Perfectly executed.

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Second trip: 99% meat in this crab cake. Lots of good crab flavor, nicely accented with a corn salad. This rivals Del Frisco’s.

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Second trip: chop house corn. Very tasty, but I was expecting something more to it. Maybe the addition of some pancetta would do the trick.

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Seafood Selection: 10
There’s a shitload of great looking seafood here. The menu is too extensive to list them all. I was able to try some of the scallops that my buddy ordered, and so far I’m impressed.

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When I return, I’ll definitely be trying more seafood. I like the idea of a steak joint that really raises the bar on the seafood. A lot of places just do lobster and salmon, shrimp and oysters. They don’t go outside the box. Here it is a totally different seafood experience. And it is perfect place for dates: the men can eat their red meat, and the women can watch their figure with some seafood, because sexism rules.

Service: 10
Even in the busy and crowded bar area, we had excellent service. The first course came out fast, and the waitress, Jenny, was really nice and attentive. The fun part about sitting in the bar area is that they give you a free bowl of popcorn, which is wonderfully seasoned. The bread, by the way, is delicious. You get piping hot pretzel bread logs and bread with a soft, whipped butter. Excellent.

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Ambiance: 9
While the main dining room is big and industrial looking, it still has a nice feel to it. It’s spacious, which is good, but it just lacks a little bit of character. One thing that’s cool is that you can view how the kitchen operates by peeking though the long glass window that is visible from the dining room. Upstairs there are some private dining areas, and the bathrooms are beautifully appointed. Second trip: I took more of the ambiance in and I am sold on it being a solid 9/10.

OCEAN PRIME
123 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019

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