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Location: Peoria, IL, United States

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Restaurant Review--Oceanaire

Today has been the PERFECT day! I told J. I wanted to go to Indy for my birthday, to shop and explore. I love living so close to the city, but we don't get down there near often enough. I had been hearing a lot about Broad Ripple Village, and wanted to check it out. It was cute, definitely a neat area, although I hope we just missed a lot of it because it did not seem like there was much there. After that we went to Circle Centre, and did a little actual shopping, to kill some time before our dinner reservations at 6:30.

The best part about the day was that by coincidence, my parents were flying into Indy this afternoon, on the way home from a cruise! When we found out we were going to be in the city together, we changed our reservations from 2 to 4 people and spent the afternoon together. Mom and I shopped, Dad and J. grabbed a beer before dinner.

Dinner was at the Oceanaire, just a block away from the mall. From the moment we walked in the door, Wow. Now, I don't have much to compare it to--I'm a rural girl who has grown up on chain faire like Applebees and Red Lobster. But I wanted an upscale, semi-gourmet meal, and that is what I got.

The service, first of all, was excellent. The waitstaff was everywhere, constantly filling water glasses if they were an inch below the top, removing plates if they were empty, bringing relish, bread, etc. They were extraordinarily attentive. I was very pleased. Our waiter was pleasantly friendly, very helpful. He didn't smirk at me when I asked what the fish was in our relish tray (Pickled herring by the way might be my new favorite thing. OMG.), or when Dad jumped when he asked "would you like us to shell your crab for you, sir?" (at no charge even! Trust me, we asked first). There were a dozen places he could have upsold or overcharged us and instead, he told us how the sides and desserts would each feed most of the table, so we only needed one, not four.

Now on to the food. It was so good. I mean really, I just don't know what to say other than it was excellent seafood for an inland restaurant. You don't find very many of those around here. All of us were happy with what we ordered.

I had the swordfish with caramelized onions and blue cheese.
Sorry about the fuzzy cellphone picture, it's all I had. It was a bit like eating a big steak! The edges were a bit dry, but once you got to the middle, the fish was much softer and more moist. The spices were fantastic. The blue cheese was a bit much for the fish and I wiped most of it off. While I like blue cheese, it overpowered the fish, I thought. The fish itself though was pretty good.

J.'s dish was the best on the table. He ordered Mahi Mahi oscar style. I didn't get a picture unfortunately, he dug in almost immediately. With good reason too. It was covered in a rich Bearnaise sauce that we just couldn't stop eating! Oh man it was so good.

For an appetizer we had asparagus with beurre blanc. There was nothing special about the asparagus but the sauce I have to mention. If anything makes me want to learn French cooking, it is that sauce alone. Oh my goodness. If it kills me, I will learn to make beurre blanc. I could have drank that sauce. But I refrained.

Dessert was Grand Marnier Creme Brulee. That was the first time I've ever had any kind of Creme Brulee and I must say, I can't wait to have it again. As J. said--"Can you make this in gallon-sized?"

Overall, the day was fantastic. It was gorgeous out, a perfect day for walking outside, and it was great to be able to see my parents on my birthday. As for my gourmet restaurant experience, all I can say is...when is my next birthday???

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