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by Marisa Olsen

There's Nothing Like Ocean Air

Ever since it opened seven months ago, I have been tempted to try Boston's Oceanaire, the new seafood restaurant that has moved into an old prominent bank space downtown. I am so pleased that curiosity got the best of me--I loved it. Although Oceanaire has several locations country wide, do not think of this as another Legal Seafoods chain. It is quite the contrary.

Upon entering the colossal restaurant, I wasn't sure what I was most impressed with: the fantastic service, the actual space, or the menu. I was immediately greeted by a lovely host, who helped me find the perfect seat at the bar. After he left, I was showered with warm, attentive service. Once settled, I had time to get a feel for the interior. Their space is quite impressive: story-high ceilings, wide windows, Art Déco décor, and a curvaceous bar that resembles a modern wave. Their menu was also varied. They had about 20 wines by the glass (prices ranged from $7 - $16), a dozen appetizers and so many seafood entrées, my head hurt by just glancing at the menu. Oceanaire prides itself on offering only the freshest of seafood, so the menu changes day-to-day.

As for the wine, I started with a glass of the Spier Chenin Blanc and was pleased by the generous pour. Immediately after, our kind server brought over a crudités dish of pickled herring (don't judge, it's good), radishes, olives, pickles and carrots and a freshly baked bread loaf with salted butter. In addition, we were each presented with a "compliments of the chef" plate that consisted of squid and shrimp ceviche on a crisp cracker with dollops of spicy red pepper sauce. It was excellent.

As for our main courses, we were in a conundrum- the choices were endless and our waiter was extremely helpful with answering all of our questions. In addition, he was also knowledgeable when it came to the wine list and was kind enough to let us sample a few choices before making the ever so challenging decision. (For the record, I went with a buttery Heron chardonnay, surprise). Since we had already snacked on the generous offerings, we decided to have the chopped Greek salad that is advertised as large enough to share and the special tuna sashimi.

Oceanaire did not let us down. Our Greek salad was chock full of fresh crab meat, baby shrimp and was not overly dressed. The tuna knocked our socks off. We paired our sashimi with dollops of wasabi and a pepper relish served with sides of ginger and seaweed salad. Everything was presented beautifully. It is safe to say that we turned our heads at every other dish that was passed by. We also made mental notes to try the ever-popular grilled calamari and splurge on the jumbo shrimp and seafood platter (one day, we hope).

Whether you are looking for an after work spot with a chilled glass of prosecco and a few oysters, or a three course meal and bottle of wine, Oceanaire will hit the spot.

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