There’s just something about Beverly Hills locals that give them away and there were plenty of them dining last night at Ocean Prime, a trendy, fish and steak restaurant that opened in the glitzy city last October and one of a nationwide chain. But don’t let the word ‘chain’ throw you; the mood here is anything but. It’s casual chic and sophisticated with different seating areas, indoors, outdoors, at the bars, an open kitchen and oodles of ambiance. It’s also expensive and well worth it.
A recent dinner was startling amazing (when we sat down that ‘chain’ word danced in our heads) we really weren’t expecting such quality fare and presentation. “The company treats everyone its restaurants individually, giving the chef and staff full autonomy to go with the flow,” said Jonathan Mitchell, the assistant general manager who we’ve known from previous positions most notably The Palm and Largo. Ocean Prime Beverly Hills has certainly settled into the neighborhood catering to discerning tastes.
The crowd was a mix of young and old, the former opting for outdoor or bar seating, but a few did straggle into the main dining room where we were seated in a great booth for viewing the room.
Our meal began with the usual martini for Richard which he rated “perfect,” (he’s very fussy about his martins). I went for a big buttery Chardonnay also as usual. Once photos were shot (by Richard, my official photog) and we were relaxed we order appetizers that simply thrilled. I had the tuna tartare that was one of the best this side of Hawaii (where a few chefs spoiled me with this dish, namely Chef Mavro in Oahu). Richard had the humachi platter which was also delightfully delicious. Since this is primarily a seafood restaurant we went with the flow and I ordered a blackened grouper for my entrée which was indeed fantastic, perfect in fact. Richard picked the halibut, also a good choice that was served with a bonus of lobster.
The menu also features sushi and steaks, but we went with the surf. Some signature dishes include seared ahi tuna with roasted marble potatoes, fava beans, mushrooms and truffle jus; and Alaskan king salmon with lobster, gnocchi, spring peas, and lemon jus. Newer menu items include a sushi menu that includes a lobster roll with kiwi, pickled jalapeno and spicy mango puree; and hamachi crudo with seaweed salad, pickled mango, sesame ginger vinaigrette, and cilantro. To view the full menu, please click here
We almost passed on dessert having given it up on the first two courses, but Jonathan talked us into it, so I went for the carrot cake while Richard order a chocolate peanut butter pie (check out the photos) both were really worth every extra calorie (I hiked Runyon Canyon early this morning to atone for my sin). Folks, Ocean Prime simply serves some good honest, quality food, perfectly prepared and delivered with a flair by top notch servers (Sally and Josh made a superb team of servers).
It’s a super spot for family, couple or business dinners and/or drinks, especially on Thursday nights when resident musician, Hillary Novak provides a musical meal accompaniment on the inviting 6:30-10:30 p.m. There is also a happy hour every night but Sunday from 4 to 7 with drink and food specials.
A short back story:
A member of the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants —which was founded in 1993 by entrepreneur Cameron Mitchell– Prime Ocean Beverly Hills is a stylish American supper club with a flair for design. Even the entrance speaks style with two doors, one off to the right that leads into a bar or patio, and one to the left that heads into a second bar and main dining room furnished with romantic booths or tables, and an open kitchen a glass box car filled with premium wines. The design dips progressively darker, moodier, and sexier as the main bar wraps back further into the dining space and becomes a sushi bar. The main dining room is highlighted by an open kitchen and windows that peek into three private dining rooms. Walls are lined with black and white artwork featuring classic Hollywood stars, commissioned by Artists Jordan Clark, Lola Dupré, and Jenny Sharaf. Dark wood tables and rich leather seating juxtapose the surprisingly chic, industrial hanging light fixtures that are suspended above the dining area.
Ocean Prime is located at 9595 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. It is open Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Happy Hour is Monday through Saturday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations can be made by phone 310.859.4818 or online.