I know a great spot to catch fish: Ocean Restaurant.
By Jan Walsh
Ocean’s seafood is unsurpassed. From day boat Gulf fish to cold water crustaceans, owner and executive chef, George Reis serves it all.
Tonight, we grab our favorite seats at the bar. Here Bar Manager, Robby Greenwood greets us and pops the cork on a bottle of non-vintage sparkling wine from the Loire Valley. Bonnet Huteau Nuit Boreale. This is Chef de Cuisine, Ric Trent’s last night before he pivots to a new career. He is here to say goodbyes and to recommend we start with the Burrata “Caprese,” and to put us in the hands of Chef, Brooks Wier, going forward. The wine has a persistent effervescence, lovely acidity and minerality, and boasts notes of pear, which complement the caprese salad. A generous serving of burrata is encircled by blistered Sungold tomatoes and toasted baguettes. And the dish is finished with basil, fennel, and a white balsamic vinaigrette glaze. We slather the creamy burrata onto bites of the buttery baguettes, and top each with a sweet, orange cherry tomato. The tomato burst on the palate with warm juice that coats the rich cheese and crunchy toast with tomatoey acidity. Highly recommended!
We typically share Ocean’s Baby Lobster Tails. But not tonight. We both are craving them, and each get our own. If I have one last dish to order before I die, these babies might be it. Always grilled to sweet perfection over a hickory wood fire, the tails are coated in George’s famous “The Love” spices. Want the recipe? View Chefs Secrets.
Legend has it that Venus, the Roman goddess of love, invented bouillabaisse to put her husband, Vulcan, to sleep so she could be with her paramour Mars. Hmm, Kev does love clams… So, I talk him into sharing the Thai Green Curry Bouillabaisse, although my temptation comes from the sea not the sky, more lobster tails! As the lid is lifted on this fish stew, aromas of pineapple, lemongrass, ginger, and jasmine rise with the steam seducing us both. Clams, mussels, pesce, and more lobster tail, float in the fish stew atop a bed of and around an island of pineapple jasmine rice. Kev immediately casts a spoon for the clams. I make a move for the mussels. And we share the pesce and pieces of lobster tail. Each bite is a lovely fusion of this famous French stew with Thai flavors and succulent gems from the sea. George takes a short break from overseeing his packed restaurant for a visit. And we recollect another time I had this dish, which was in 2013, when he prepared it for Birmingham Restaurants’ Chefs Secrets cooking segment. View Here. And afterward he shared this marvelous menagerie with me here at the bar.
For dessert we share the Bananas Foster. Beautiful bananas caramelized in a now rare rum, 151, envelop a plump pecan pound cake topped with buttermilk ice cream. Save yourself a trip to NOLA with this warm and cold concoction of buttery rummy flavors and creamy cinnamon.
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