Great seafood in Minnesota is not as easy to find as it is on either of the coasts. As fond as I might be of a Friday night fish fry at the local VFW, this is not my definition of seafood. My wife and I have often boasted of our endless search for the best crab cakes in the USA. While we have sampled dozens of unique offerings in our travels, we’ve never been able to match those served at The Oceanaire Seafood Room. Be it in Minneapolis or one of their other eleven locations across the country, they have got this one down.
As you may know, The Oceanaire recently relocated from its long standing home at The Hyatt Regency to a street front location at 50 South 6th Street. The new location provides Oceanaire the ability to increase visibility and capture walk in traffic which was difficult while in the Hyatt. Selfishly I preferred the Hyatt’s ambience, bar seating and dining areas more so than the new location; but it’s about the food! The Oceanaire’s menu is updated daily to take advantage of their most current Fresh Fish Specialties. In light of this I won’t go into detail but encourage you to check their website early the day of your dinner reservation. The Oceanaire is designed to share by offering large portions of the Hot and Cold Appetizers and Side Dishes; my favorite Apps are the Chilled Shellfish Platter (a meal in itself) which is a towering sampler of chilled shrimp, crab, lobster and fresh oysters from the raw bar, the Fried Red Chili Calamari, Classic Clams Casino, and Oysters Rockefeller . Along with Apps, my favorite Side Dishes are the Hash Browns (make sure to order ala Oceanaire, onion, bacon and Tabasco), Creamed Corn (seriously it’s to die for), and Cheesy Bacon Au Gratin Potatoes. Back to the Menu and its highlights; Oyster Bar, Cold Appetizers, Hot Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Oceanaire Classics, Fresh Fish Specialties, Lobster and Crab Selections, Simply Grilled and Broiled, Enhancements, Steakhouse Offerings, Side Dishes, and Desserts.
The highlights help to demonstrate the diversity of offerings and difficulty in ordering. As with their Apps and Sides, Desserts are meant to be shared. Even the after dinner drink menu includes two of my favorites, Graham’s 40 year Tawny Port and the Grand Marnier 150th Anniversary Blend both of which are highlighted in the beverages of the month below. To fully experience The Oceanaire the following will be necessary, bring many people (six works well), lots of money (this place is not inexpensive) and a large appetite. Good eating and enjoy the company you keep!
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
GrandMarnier.com also includes tasting notes. “Colour – beautiful, reddish-gold with light amber on the rim. Aroma – rich nose of aged cognac with background of cocoa, cinnamon and other spices. Flavour – macerated bitter orange flabours enriched by notes of coffee, honey, bitter almonds and spices. The finish is long and complex.”
Graham’s 40 Years of Age – Enjoy these tasting notes from Grahams-Port.com on this excellent tawny port. “Golden amber with a pale green tinge at the rim, which denotes great quality and class. Very complex on the nose with a powerful fragrance and opulence that belies its age. The palate is a gamut of flavours, ranging from delicate apricot fruit and raisins to creamy toffee and praline. The full, persistent aftertaste is sheer pleasure. A very rare wine available in restricted quantity.”