One of my closest friends has worked for Ocean Prime for the last three years. First in their Denver, CO location, and then as a member as the opening team for the first-ever Boston, MA location. If you've been down to the Seaport lately, then you've definitely seen Ocean Prime on the ground floor of the 100 Pier 4 building.
I have been wanting to go since they first opened, but the Seaport isn't on my natural path to work or to visit friends and family, so it took me a while to make a reservation.
My friend and I arrived on a Wednesday night at 6:30pm. After battling my way through horrible game day Red Sox traffic after a meeting near Fenway, I was relieved to discover Ocean Prime has valet parking. You can valet for $18 dollars, which is undoubtedly cheaper than any of the surrounding surface lots or garages.
I pushed through the revolving door and emerged on the other side feeling relaxed. There was a live band performing in the bar area (covering a John Mayer song at the moment I entered) and the hostess greeted us with a warm and welcoming smile.
We had made a special request to have my friend Dana as our server and the Ocean Prime team was happy to accommodate. The hostess walked us through the bar area and straight to a table in Dana's section.
The dining room was bustling with energetic tables - work colleagues toasting to a job well done, conference goers debriefing after a long day and couples celebrating anniversaries (like the duo next to us). The room felt electric.
Due to Dana's extensive experience at Ocean Prime, rather than agonize over what to order, we asked her to select the menu for us. She posed a few critical questions - allergies, spice tolerance, likes / dislikes - and then she smiled and said, "I will take care of it!"
The first item to arrive was a cocktail, the Berries & Bubbles. This drink has become famous on Instagram and often people arrive with the picture queued up on their phone and declare, "This! I want this." Dana shared, "Most of the time the diners aren't even aware of the drink's official name, they just know they saw it and they want to experience it."
The reason for all the fuss is the impressive presentation. The drink is Belvedere Citrus Vodka, Domaine Chandon Brut, house-made sour and marinated blackberries, topped with a billowing dry ice smoke.
Yes, people, the drink comes with its own smoke machine!
I love vodka-based drinks, especially fruity ones, so I knew I'd be very into this. My dinner date, who likes things less sweet, said, "For something that has a lot of fruity ingredients, this was surprisingly well balanced."
The drink continues to bubble for a solid five to six minutes.
While we were sipping on our Berries & Bubbles, Dana brought over some truffle popcorn for us to snack on. I'm not usually into popcorn (the kernels always get stuck in my teeth) but this version was addicting! With no shame, we emptied the bowl.
The eggs were perfect in every way, with just the right amount of truffle flavor. We ate five out of six, but only because we knew we had a lot more coming.
Next we tried the Sonoma goat cheese ravioli with Golden Oak mushrooms. Though the portion size may look small at first glance, each pasta pouch is so rich and decadent that you wouldn't even be able to handle more. We made these disappear.
The third appetizer was a Caprese salad. Since I am a vegetarian and the Ocean Prime menu leans heavily into seafood and steak, the kitchen was was kind enough to custom make this veggie starter.
The tomatoes were so juicy, the basil was so fresh and the mozzarella was wonderfully creamy. I could eat this every night.
Before the next course, Dana brought us a new cocktail called the Cucumber Gimlet. It's a mix of Bombay Sapphire Gin, muddled fresh cucumber and hand-squeezed lime, topped with a cucumber ribbon.
For dinner, my friend enjoyed the best of Ocean Prime - both steak and seafood. She had a filet mignon, served Oscar style. It was topped with lump crab meat, drizzled with a Béarnaise sauce and carefully placed over spears of asparagus.
In between blissful bites she paused to say, "This steak is cooked medium rare (just the way I like it). The meat is tender and juicy." When her plate was cleared she admitted, "I couldn't put down my fork and knife! This was surf and turf on a whole other level."
As I mentioned earlier, steakhouses can sometimes be a challenge for vegetarians, but not at Ocean Prime. Dana was able to guide me to the dishes that were meat-free and even put in a special request for the side dishes to be plated as one cohesive meal.
The kitchen assembled a drool-worthy platter with black truffle macaroni and cheese, chophouse corn, roasted brussels sprouts and parmesan risotto with snap peas.
I am a sucker for mac and cheese and the Ocean Prime rendition is excellent. It has great truffle flavor without being overpowering.
I could not get over the chophouse corn. It had an unusual creaminess to it. I was so enamored I had to ask Dana exactly what was in it. With zero hesitation she recited, "Shallots, sugar, salt and pepper." I have no idea why that combination is so incredible, but if you make corn at home, try it! You'll thank me.
The parmesan risotto with snap peas was the perfect juxtaposition of textures - soft, creamy rice paired with satisfyingly crunchy snap peas. I gobbled this up in seconds.
The only side dish that was a miss for me was the brussels sprouts. They didn't have a distinct flavor and they were a bit too firm for my liking.
Now, you would think that would be more than enough food for two people, but Dana insisted we try the gouda tater tots. I mean, how could we not?
The tots were one of my favorite things I ate all night. When I took notes in my phone I wrote, "Heaven! I would come back just for these." I was so obsessed that when we tapped out of the entree round, I asked to box up the last two tots. And the aioli.
When the dinner plates were cleared, I had a renewed excitement because I knew dessert would be the grand finale. I've been following Ocean Prime on Instagram since their Boston opening and the desserts look amazing.
Dana hand picked a treat for us, the chocolate peanut butter pie. We got a sneak preview because the couple next to us had ordered it, so we already knew it would be a home run.
The pie is Oreo cookie crust and whipped peanut butter mousse, coated in a bittersweet chocolate ganache. I was worried the pie might be too dense, but the whipped mousse keeps it surprisingly (and dangerously) light. If you are a peanut butter and chocolate addict, this dessert was made for you.
Once all the plates were cleared and we paid the bill, I found myself thinking, "I cannot believe it took me this long to get here." Ocean Prime is in such a great location for a day of exploring around Boston. The dining room is lively, the service is unparalleled and the food is superb. Each dish is plated beautifully, has the freshest, highest quality ingredients and the staff are more than willing to accommodate allergies or food restrictions. They never make you feel guilty about needing to ask a question or ask if something can be slightly changed. As if all of that weren't enough, their outdoor patio is opening soon too!
If you are looking for a place to dine on Mother's Day, Ocean Prime is presenting a special menu for Sunday brunch. After that meal, your mom will have no doubt how much you love and appreciate her.
When you make a reservation for next weekend or any night in the future, be sure to request Dana as your server. I assure you, it will make the night.