Review: Oceanaire, Boston, MA

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | December 30th, 2008 | Restaurant Reviews

For one of my husband’s Christmas gifts, I planned a surprise trip to Boston for a night.  Traveling to our hotel in the early afternoon, we discovered that Oceanaire was right around the corner.  Having been to this restaurant for the kick-off of Restaurant Week in Boston, we were excited to return for a meal.

Arriving at the restaurant at 1:30, it was surprisingly busy for a weekday.  With high ceilings and beautiful decor, Oceanaire was a treat for the eyes.  Unlike many upscale restaurants we have visited, it also offered the benefit of privacy to diners, as tables have considerate spaces between them.

Oceanaire’s menu is amazing.  The vast daily lunch menu is printed on heavy weight paper.  All fish available that day are noted at the top.  Beneath this are the many other offerings, so many that both my husband and I commented that we had never seen a menu so vast for lunch.  To cite a few examples, there were 10 appetizers and 15 luncheon specialties, in addition to the oyster bar, soups, salads, and many other options.  Plus, the back of the menu was filled with choices for cocktails and wines by the glass or bottle, half and whole.

With this huge array of choices, we needed plenty of thinking time, which our gracious server was more than willing to give us.  We were given water, a tray of fresh vegetables and pickled herring, and sourdough bread to whet our appetites while mulling options.  Deciding on beverages first, I chose the Vanillaberry Lemondrop, and my husband chose the Bloody Caesar.  Both drinks were delicious.  Mine was light and delicately sweet, having a perfect balance of the three flavors.  Garnished with a jumbo shrimp and green olives, my husband’s drink was a perfectly made Bloody Mary with a seafood twist.

While our drinks were being made, we again pondered our lunch options.  There were so many delicious choices, it was hard to decide.  Plus, I didn’t want to eat a lunch that was too filling as we had dinner plans.  Having sampled their Island Creek Oysters Rockefeller at the kick-off, we knew we needed to start our meal with an order of them.  I decided to try their New England Clam Chowder and Boston Bibb Salad, allowing myself to try more items.  My husband chose Fish & Chips.

Every dish that we ordered was excellent.  The oysters were tender with a delicious topping that included Parmesan cheese and spinach.  My chowder was creamy without being heavy.  It was filled with clams and light on potatoes, in essence a perfectly made soup.  My salad was delightful, consisting of bibb lettuce, Great Hill Bleu Cheese, Granny Smith apples, toasted almonds, and golden raisins and served with apple cider vinaigrette on the side (per my request).  The fish and chips were tasty.  Although the fish had a generous Harpoon beer batter on it, the fish was light.  Salt and vinegar matchstick fries were served as an accompaniment and were crunchy and delicious.

The food at Oceanaire was complimented by the service, which was impeccable.  Our water glasses never were empty (or half full for that matter).  The appetizers and main courses were served with perfect timing.  And while we had all of our dining needs met, it never was done intrusively.

Our lunch at Oceanaire was the perfect start to our overnight trip to Boston, delicious food and drinks served in a beautiful atmosphere.  Add the perfect dining companion (which I had!), and you couldn’t ask for a better meal.

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