As I sit down to write this article, I have a snack with me. A moist, delicious chocolate and vanilla marble cake. I have been saving this cake for almost a week specifically for when I write this article because I knew it would be so good that it would take me back to the other amazing foods that have come from a new restaurant in Beverly Hills – Ocean Prime.
Ocean Prime extended an invitation to taste the best that the restaurant and bar has to offer. Guests sat on a patio in wicker chairs with huge cushions of white canvas with matching umbrellas. Across the street were nearby businesses including Barney’s of New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Burberry. All high-end places for the elite of Los Angeles, and Ocean Prime fits in perfectly.
This is a place to wear a suit coat and nice pants. Some guests showed up in cargo shorts and a T-shirt and they looked as out of place as I’m sure they felt. This is a restaurant to get dressed up for. Dining on crab cakes with sweet corn cream sauce, or fresh calamari in sweet chili sauce, or black truffle mac and cheese, or shucked oysters on the half shell with expertly made sushi – the elegance of Ocean Prime calls for better dress, better behavior and better everything. That is not to say one is on edge or nervous while dining there, just that this is an upscale dining experience and needs to be treated and respected as such.
The real take away for me was the truffle mac and cheese. It is one of my favorite dishes and I order it any time it is available. The mac and cheese at Ocean Prime is, without a doubt, the best I have ever had. The reason is that the base product – the mac and cheese – is a great standalone dish that is only enhanced by adding a bit of truffle oil and sliced truffles on top. It replaces my former fave truffle mac at POP Champagne Bar in Pasadena, which is very truffley, but the mac and cheese isn’t as good as Ocean Prime. That was a recurring thought of the many dishes tried that night – these foods don’t rely on each other to make a complete flavor. Each ingredient of the dish is a great standalone food so if a full plate was ordered of that single thing, for example Parmesan risotto, it would be enough. To combine several good foods with complementary flavors, as was done by plating the risotto with a bit of watercress, English peas and a perfectly cooked sea scallop, the dish as a whole is enhanced without leaving a weak spot that is left uneaten.
The bar was no slouch either. Using premium spirits, the cocktails are hand crafted with fresh ingredients. They are not only pleasing to the palate but also to the eye. One of the cooler cocktails, The Berries and Bubbles, features Belvedere Citrus Vodka, marinated blackberries, house made sour mix and Domaine Chandon Brut, served up with a piece of dry ice. As the cocktail is consumed, it cools the drink and looks cool. By the time the bottom of the glass is reached, the dry ice has sublimed away so you shouldn’t be able to accidentally drink it.
I look forward to returning to Ocean Prime because, though we tried many of the best foods on the menu during the tasting event, the Sonoma goat cheese ravioli with golden oak mushrooms is calling my name.
Located at the weirdest and worst intersection in Beverly Hills (Camden Drive, Dayton Way and Wilshire Boulevard – a triangle intersection), this restaurant is definitely worth putting up with the odd roads.