The seafood restaurant goes beyond the typical crudo and oyster bar.
Oceans’ enormous interior
Naming a seafood restaurant “Oceans” is a little presumptuous, as if one location can embody the body’s majesty and diversity. But the new Gramercy eatery makes a solid go at doing just that. In the vast space that even resembles the sea with its ebbing and flowing design, the menu is huge, containing scores of species, nationalities, techniques and ingredients.
Under the raw and chilled section, the tataki is beautiful in its treatment of chunks of ahi tuna, served with enoki mushrooms, nori and ginger-soy. The toro tartare is an achingly luxe choice with bluefin tuna belly, caviar and creme fraiche.
Sushi chef Yauman Kirana created an ambitious sushi and sashimi program, which can be enjoyed at the restaurant’s more informal sushi bar. The Rocketman is a must-try with its crab filling, seared salmon topper and complex truffle miso sauce. But Oceans is quickly becoming known for its branzino sashimi, which might not have an equal anywhere in the city.
The Oceans La Tour is a three-tier tower including oysters, ceviche, tuna gomae, tuna sashimi, jumbo shrimp cocktail, mussels, clams, calamari, peekytoe crab, Alaskan king crab and lobster.
To round out all the seafood, executive chef Andy Kitko provides a strong selection of veggies, such as a salad sourced from the Union Square greenmarket and sides for the table such as Brussels sprouts, foraged mushrooms and Yukon puree. But it’s hard to justify saving stomach room for sides when you could be having charred Spanish octopus with marinated gigante beans, or an oyster pan roast with leeks, salsify and shellfish nage.
You probably couldn’t go wrong with any of the wide-ranging seafood entrees, from Japanese madai snapper bathed in Peking duck broth to Hawaiian walu moules frites in Madras curry. I loved the sake glaze on the Alaskan black cod and the dish’s tip-of-the-tongue-sizzling crust.
The 16-layer lemon cake contains a blood orange swirl, salted almond meringue and yuzu chocolate.
Most impressive of all is Ocean’s whole roast fish program, which offers turbot, dorade, snapper, St. Pierre, black bass and branzino by weight. I sampled the latter, and it was so tender and luscious that I almost would have thought it had been poached.
I am sure that the land-based dishes—free-range chicken, lamb chops, a variety of steaks—are all great, but I confess that I did not try any of them. And how could anyone possibly? You have the whole ocean.
Editor's note: Oceans is currently closed due to New York City's mandate that all restaurants, bars and cafes close themselves to dine-in service.
Photography by: food photos by Melissa Hom; interior photo by Emily Andrews