Location: 1401 Ocean Ave. Santa Monica. 310-394-5669
Date: July 27 & August 11, 2013
Rating: Nice upgrade, if a tad pricey
Years ago, Ocean Avenue Seafood was a staple on our “quick dinner” rotation, particularly before movies and the like. It served up classic San Francisco style seafood. But recently, was feeling a little long in the tooth, having not been updated in (as far as I know) nearly two decades. This year the owners rebooted it as a Westside branch of their downtown Water Grill, which itself has gotten drastic revamps in recent years (having once been very formal — albeit excellent — and now is much more casual).
2001 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 89. A lovely mix of green apple, melon and muscat notes are followed by relatively big and still quite tight and fresh middle weight, taut, muscular flavors of considerable tension and breed. The minerality is almost pungent it’s so strong and this finishes firm but with fine richness and palate coating sap.
A “custom” raw plate with a half-dozen oyster sampler, four wild jump mexican white shrimp and a whole uni (sea urchin). The sauces include classic cocktail, horseradish, lemon, and mignonette as well as a new slightly sweet Japanese-style sauce that is kin to sunomono marinade.
Lobster roll, classic New England style. There is also an option for Connecticut style (with butter instead of mayo). This was a great lobster roll, and I’ve had plenty of ’em (being a favorite of mine).
Overall, while the delta between Ocean Avenue Seafood and Water Grill are at some level superficial, I’m pleased with the change. I could care less about the new louder interior, but the menu is larger with more of a fusion flare. This nicely updates it and elevates it over the fairly common (in Santa Monica) raw bar food. It remains pricey, as it was before, but the dishes were very tasty.