Ola Rozenfeld (petite_lambda) wrote in food_in_israel,
Ola Rozenfeld

Ocean (Herzliya)

Ocean is a small restaurant that specializes on sea food and really “interesting” dishes with exotic combinations. Danny and I really anticipated this, because their menu is just awesome…. Look at this: hot sushi with salmon, shiitakes, pears and tempura with teriyaki sauce! Creamy crab soup with dried tomatoes and thyme! Fresh lobster with chestnut butter! Mmm… And if one doesn’t feel like seafood, they can have pork fillet rings with apples, mashed potatoes and teriyaki sauce… yum. I could go on and on. We just had to try it.

The place itself was very nice, with dim lighting, oil fixtures on every table, and sea-themed oil paintings on the walls. The music was relaxing rock. The bar didn’t look too big, but the list of wines was impressive. Pity I don’t understand in wine, and Danny had to drive back home. So I ordered a Cosmopolitan while we chose the meals.

Well… maybe they know their seafood, but they sure don’t know how to make a Cosmo. It’s very simple: Cointreau. You put it in, you get a good Cosmo (most simple recipe: Cointreau, Absolut, cranberry juice and lime). Without Cointreau, you don’t stand a chance. Theirs was a syrupy mix with surprisingly low alcohol content. I was disappointed.

Two poor lobsters huddled in the corner of a big empty aquarium near the bar, awaiting their already sealed fate. I love lobster meat, but I felt really sorry for the poor creatures. I think that the owners should decorate the aquarium with stones and plants, making it look more like the lobsters’ natural habitat, instead of a death row… I understand it would be more difficult to take the lobsters out this way, but it would definitely improve the mood.

For the first course, we decided to take the crab soup and the hot sushi (mentioned above). The waiter also advised us to take their house bread while we waited for the meals. The soup came with half a crab in it, and looked really beautiful:

The bread came with salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (no surprises so far), and sweet pickled pepper sauce, which was nice.

Danny didn’t like the soup, so I took it and gave him the hot sushi:

The sushi was very good, but Frangelico’s sushi-sandwich is better, and Frangelico is in a lower price range. The soup was very nice, but could have been much nicer if the crab meat was added to it, instead of just dumping a half crab in, so that the client has to break the damn thing and take the meat out themselves. Yes, I understand that it looks much better this way, and also it’s a tradition with seafood -- but I just can’t dig it. I like my food prepared… Fishing the crab out of the creamy soup with my fingers, tearing it apart, breaking the shell with a special instrument, and then meticulously separating the tiny tender pieces of meat from the shell splinters only in order to throw them back into the soup where they belong – no, this definitely should be someone else’s job! Besides, there was too little meat, in my opinion. Another problem with this soup is that is tastes like a excellent sauce to something else – but the something else is missing. It’s good, but it just lacks a “punch”, in my taste.

For the main course, I ordered shrimps with a sauce of figs, blue cheese and cream, which came with white rice, and Danny took the “Spanish” fish filet with calamari, baby shrimps and gnocchi, with a sauce of poppy and cream:

The shrimps were okay, but not amazing.
A bit too bland for my taste, despite the blue cheese; but I really hated the rice. Usually, the white rice for seafood dishes is tasteless, and it’s a good thing – but this one had a strong taste to it, which I disliked. Danny agreed with me that the rice really doesn’t suit the dish, but exchanged with me nevertheless (one of the many duties of a boyfriend :-)). Danny’s fish was really good, but with the same problem – just lacked the “punch”, the “color”. Delicate, but again – a bit too bland. Another problem with this dish is that it was a bit too heavy for me (even without the soup). Maybe it should have been served with some vegetables instead of gnocchi.

We wanted to leave some room for dessert, so we took half of the fish home. (The crab soup is very filling, you probably won’t be able to finish the main course after it.) The dessert menu was a bit disappointing, because, unlike their other menu, it didn’t include anything special – just the usual things that you can find in every other Israeli restaurant. Their web menu listed the “crème brûlée duet” with crème brûlée of two different tastes, but they already changed it when we came (this place changes their menu often). We shared a white chocolate cream with passion fruit purée on a bed of what was listed as a nougat meringue, but it definitely wasn’t it (I know a meringue when I see one. I don’t know what this was, but a meringue it wasn’t). And it was okay, but nothing special. Okay, it’s not easy to find really good desserts – the only place that comes to mind is Ben Ami, who make the most awesome cakes in the history of ever (or any restaurant that orders their cakes from Ben Ami).

To sum up: Ocean bar is okay, and even more than okay; but not nearly as great as we would expect for 400 shekels an evening. We probably won’t be coming back.
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