Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oceana

55 East 54th St
New York, NY 10022

212 759 5941

In the wake of our successes, I made a reservation for Oceana with my parents. Mom suggested we try on a few more wedding dresses and then go somewhere “dressy” so that she could wear a suit that she had never been able to show off before.

My cousin came and we agreed on our original dress choice. It was fun. Fun for her to be a part of it too because she’s pregnant with a puppy and a very busy husband at the moment. We met the men at the restaurant. Dad was in a suit this time with suspenders and a bow-tie. I was thrilled. There he was. One week later, Florida-free and seemingly ok with it. Better than ok, he had been by the restaurant earlier in the day to meet everyone and make friends with the bar tender. THAT is my dad!

The restaurant looks like the inside of a boat. There are shades along the top and paintings made to look like the coastline from a boat. Dad decided that we should have d’Yquem with the entire meal. He had done a tasting menu in France decades ago where each course was paired with d’Yquem and wanted to test the theory again. Who was I to say ‘no’? While we decided on the menu, we had Lynch Bages white which was flinty and chalky and remarkable. I loved it. We all loved it.

The amuse bouche was a spoon full of something delicious with a shooter of perfect gazpacho. Mom was hooked. She loves a smoothly acidic gazpacho.

Jack had the crab cakes. They were tiny, but filled with lumps of delicious, juicy crab. Some of the best either of us had tried. I had the soft shelled crab which I loved. It was meatier than most of the examples I’ve tried. Both went beautifully with the grassy 1989 d’Yquem that we were sipping. Dad had the ceviche. I was not convinced that would stand up to my fantastic wine so I didn’t try it.

Since none of us had ordered the special (king fish with tamarind), they sent it out anyway. We all got one. It was the favorite thing of the evening. The puree underneath was smooth and silky with not quite a parsnip flavor. The tamarind rub was spicy enough to make all of the men very happy. The fish was great, but did not have much flavor to stand up to what was around it. None of us minded that though. Not for a second.

We got a bottle of the 1988 d’Yquem and although some preferred it, I found it to be less bright than the one before. But hey, it’s still Yquem! What can I really say!?

Almost everyone had the Arctic Char. They loved it. They raved about it. I think it was probably great. My lobster was at least great. It was a nice size portion with perfectly cooked meat over a pea puree. (I like purees. I miss them when they go in the summer.)

There was a lychee fizzy palate cleanser that my mom hated. She doesn’t like Lychee though. I thought it was fun. My cousin adored it.

Then, the cousins left. I think that the baby had had enough excitement. We all more than understood. It was a long night. Just then, six desserts magically appeared. I have no idea what all of them were. Something peanut butter-chocolate. Something with caramelized peaches and crumble. Blueberry tapioca, another chocolate and a frozen strawberry something or other. Dad had a few bites. Jack, Mom and I sent up a lazy-Susan system and just kept passing. It was a feeding frenzy. Bites, bites, pass. Bites, bites pass. I barely knew what I was loving before I got the next thing. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in a restaurant in a long time. Bruni got it right. This place is wonderful!

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