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Oceanaire RW

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I had gone to Oceanaire last year during RW with my mother and sister, and since we had all enjoyed it, we decided to go again last night. Wow, big mistake. First, I guess seafood on a Sunday is never a great idea, but I would imagine a seafood restaurant should have better access to fresher fare than others. We started with the fried calamari and a house salad for my mother, plus a half dozen oyters, I believe Cape St. Mary. We received our two orders of calamari first, and then the oysters followed. My mother, a purist when it comes to seafood, tried an oyster first, then she spit it right back out, which may not be done in the finst of circles, but there was something seriously offf about those oysters. We had not seen our server since we placed our order, since he didn't check on our table during our first course, so it was quite awhile before we could flag him down about the oysters and my mother's still missing salad. By the look on his face, he obviously did not realize that the salad had not arrived yet, and he didn't see that we hadn't touched our oysters until I had to mention that they were not up to standard. He did remove the oysters off the bill, which was the only redeeming factor of the night. Our second course came out 20 min after my mother's late salad was finished, so it was quite awhile for my sister and I, who had finished our first course some time ago. My mother and sister were not pleased by this point and just wanted to get out of the restaurant, so we rushed through the second course, which were crabcakes and the black and blue salmon, which were decent, though the crabcake had a litlle more filler than I would have expecetd. Maybe because it was a RW crabcake, so whatever. We also ordered the potato gratin, which had crazy amounts of barely melted cheese and was very oily, though it seemd more like cheese oil than the purported truffle oil in the gratin. We ate about half of our food and requested boxes, which for some reason took 10 min after asking two different people, and no one wanted to order dessert, but since it's part of the menu, I insisted we stay for at least a few bites. We ordered dessert and asked for the check at the same time. Fortunately, dessert came out quickly, tin roof sundae and raspberry sorbet, and we gulped it down, though my sister barely touched her sundae; she was just through with this meal. We had already paid by the time we were eating dessert and were just going through some quick motions to finish. Perhaps just a waste of calories, but the sundae was fine, and the sorbet refreshing, if a bit too icy. Overall, not a satisfactory experience, and I wish I had taken them to another restaurant to take advantage of RW. Oh well, I will not make the same mistake again.

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  1. I tried the Oceanaire once a few years ago. It sounds like it hasn't changed much. I guess this place stays in business from biz-lunch expense accounts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Aza Mila

      And tourists. Kali's Court, Blue Sea Grill and Black Olive all have much better, fresher seafood and lovely atmospheres with impeccable service. FoiGras

    2. Tom S from WaPo always recommends Oceanaire as a place to go for seafood based on their consistently fresh food. Sad to hear you had a bad experience.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jacey

        Sounds like the one in Baltimore must not be good, but the one in DC is.....

        1. re: vtHokies98

          I had pretty much this exact same experience as I posted below in DC, not Baltimore.

      2. Had a very similar experience, during RW last season not even on the RW menu. The sides were awful, the fish ok, but I could do better at home, service was absolutely awful, and the RW menu was so limited, I don't know why anyone would bother for RW they didn't even had crabcakes last year on the DC menu. Sorry you had to go through it too.

        1. I had lunch there last week. The wahoo was good. I asked for it poached but the waiter came back and told me that wahoo can't really be poached. News to me since I've had it that way before and it was awesome. They grilled it and it dried out - which I knew it would. The gazpacho was good - it had 'funny' croutons (they were sort of like bread crumbs held together with some kind of starch), but overall tasty.

          My business associate ordered the Oyster Po Boy – a very generous portion of both fried oysters and very well seasoned fries. The oysters had too much breading on them for my tastes, but he seemed happy.

          The service was okay.

          Bottom line – I won’t be going back again. It was too pricey for the food and the experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dacwdc

            DITTO-when I ordered the fried seafood platter, I was presented with about a pound of french fries (or more)with the seafood items on top of the fries. Nothing was memorable except ALL OF THOSE FRENCH FRIES. I would have preferred some cole slaw or raw shredded vegetables, SOME OF THE FRIES, along with the seafood entree. But, the selection of seafood was bland. I've had many other multiple seafood entrees at other restaurants with much better results. AND, I don't like all of the STUFF on the table, i.e., bowls, oyster crackers, spices, etc. FoiGras

          2. I'm saddened to read this. I made a Sunday reservations for the Oceanairre in August. I need to look for a Plan B after reading your awful experience. WOW!

            3 Replies
            1. re: 2cooks5eaters

              Where are you--DC or Baltimore so we can help you out for an alternative?FoiGras

              1. re: FoiGras

                DC!!! I heard Market Inn and 1789 are good. What do you think?

              2. re: 2cooks5eaters

                I've had great experiences at Oceanaire. Don't let these few talk you out of it.

              3. Good or bad, WBAL is there live this morning pumping it up...

                1. IMHO, RW is too often the JV team or the B-menu. If you're serious about your food, either don't dine on major holidays (e.g., Valentine's Day, New Year's, etc.), during RW, or go in with lowered expectations and don't think that it's representative of the restaurant. I had a very disappointing meal at Galileo when they did their meal-deal, horrible at the place that POSH used to be (even though we did not order off the RW menu), and I've decided that the lower standards are the rule rather than the norm. I've had two excellent meals at the DC Oceanaire and one excellent one in Baltimore, all non-RW. The service is also very good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: indcgirl

                    I ate in DC last week and everything was fantastic. In fact, the service was so good, we made a point to tell the Maitre D on the way out. I actually inquired about their restaurant week menu and our server told us to that he doesn't recommend going there for restaurant week. He said there are better places in the city for RW and they had a very limited RW week menu with only 3 choices for entrees and no sides. I appreciated his honesty.

                  2. Dined at the DC location this past Tuesday night while I was in town for business. Ate at the bar and had good service from the bartender. Started with a half dozen oysters (two each of cape bretons, bras d'or, and some other); all were fresh and tasty, and shucked cleanly. Then a nice piece of sockeye salmon with a side of the creamed corn. The salmon was served nicely rare as I requested, and the corn was very sweet due to the cream sauce with nutmeg, but I liked it. Washed it all down with a couple of glasses of albarino. Fresh sockeye salmon is always expensive, and the side of corn was big enough for two to eat. All in all, a fine experience ...if you can handle the price. The bill was $90.