Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Seafood bliss

I have a new favorite seafood restaurant. I’ll never be able to afford to eat there regularly, or even semi-regularly, but I wish I could. Last week, I went to the preview event at the Oceanaire Seafood Room, near SouthPark mall at 4620 Piedmont Row Drive (704-554-8811).

The high-end chain restaurant is themed after a 1930s-style luxury liner. When I walked in, I expected to see Jack and Rose hugged up in a corner.

I was as impressed with the drink menu as I was with the food selection. They had Sidecars (brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice, lime juice and sugar) which my buddy John raves about all the time. They also had Harvey Wallbangers (a fancy name for a Screwdriver). The Sidecar was tasty, but the Tequila Sunrise was way too sweet.

Our waiter, David, wasn’t as knowledgeable about the bar as he was the menu. The menu changes daily depending on the seafood shipment. It’s a la carte. I didn’t know there were so many kinds of oysters. David deftly guided us through the selections. I told him to order for us. My favorites were the Kumamotos, Netarts and Blue Points. I don’t think I can eat oysters at Vinnie’s again.

We also had sashimi-style yellowfin tuna and lump crabcakes with little breading. Don’t make this mistake: Macaroni and cheese and sashimi tuna are not a good combination. We ordered the asparagus, but it was on steroids and flavorless.

For dessert we had the Baked Alaska, which was good and huge. I realized I don’t like creme brulee.

Like I said, I like Oceanaire, but can’t afford it. What are some of your favorite affordable seafood restaurants in Charlotte?