Here in sunny South Florida, seafood isn’t just a dinner option – it’s a lifestyle. We have the ocean at our fingertips, so we take our seafood very, very seriously. I already knew how well Oceans 234 did seafood from a previous visit with my family, but I had yet to visit since Chef Brian Cantrell took over. So when I was invited in to try their re-vamped menu, I got my butt down to Deerfield Beach more quickly than if you had told me that Channing Tatum was there giving out free lap dances.We were seated at an outside table with a view of the ocean that makes you wonder why anyone would choose to live anywhere except Florida, and we were greeted with a welcome cocktail, the Deep Eddy Tropical Mule. As of late, Deep Eddy Vodka has been my go to for shots, and anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that Moscow Mules are just about my favorite drink ever. So they had already sold me before I even took a sip. The cocktail is made with peach vodka, pineapple juice and ginger beer, and served in the cutest cup that keeps the drink just as cold as the traditional copper cup would. If you want to feel like you are on vacation, you will order this drink.A few dishes from the “First Things First” menu started to arrive, and I noted that if they all tasted as good as they looked, that we were in for a great night. Above is the Grilled Octopus & Chorizo, served with fennel, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, olives and black garlic vinaigrette. The dish had what any good octopus dish should have, which is a very black char on the outside. It was truly cooked to perfection – I give it 8 tentacles up.
You can imagine that as bloggers, we’ve all seen our share of beautiful dishes. But I have never seen jaws drop the way all of ours did when the Tuna Poke came out. It was so gorgeous that I realized I need to take a photography class, because I didn’t even come close to being able to capture its beauty. It must be like how the paparazzi feel when they are trying to get shots of Gigi Hadid (seriously, is she not the most gorgeous person in the whole wide world??) Of course, the dish was extremely fresh and tasty too. The combination of tuna, cucumber, mango, and macadamia was refreshing, and so at home on top of the crispy plantains it was served with. Just like Florida, it was colorful, playful, and we all couldn’t get enough of it.
You can’t go to a seafood place without a little bit of land fare, and in the land of South Florida, Mexican food is just as much of a necessity as good car insurance. So one of our other starters was the Chicken Tostada, made with aji panca, black beans, cheddar cheese and salsa fresca. This dish is a great way to inject something different into the seafood experience. I loved the way the chicken was seasoned. Warning, there is no graceful way to eat this, so make sure you’re with people you trust when ordering.
Then all of a sudden, I heard the word “taters” and my ears perked up. I really thought it couldn’t get any better, but they brought out their Short Rib Tater Skins and I was instantly carried away into a land of indulgent potato-ey goodness. These babies are smothered in smoked shirt rib, aged white cheddar, scallions sour cream and truffle. It took me back to my days where I lived in Dallas and ate all the meats. Tender, juicy short rib combined with cheese and baked potato – if your inner fat kid isn’t knocking at your stomach right now, you need to re-think your life choices.
At this point, it was time for intermission, in the form of a cocktail. And once I saw the words “strawberry” and “basil,” of course I knew where my heart was. The Strawberry Basil Martini is made with Pearl Strawberry Basil Vodka, agave, fresh lemon juice, and actual strawberry puree. As you can see in the picture, it has this wonderful froth on top that makes the drink all the more indulgent. I’m pretty sure I ended up ordering two, no judgement. You would too.
Many of us were in agreement that the Seared Scallops were one of our favorite dishes of the night. When you get a perfectly seared scallop, it’s like the same feeling as trying on a dress that fits your body just right. If I could recommend one dish (my laptop tried to autocorrect to fish, which I guess still holds) from Oceans 234, I would have to say this is it. Do it and thank me later.
Another meaty surprise was the Churrasco Skirt Steak, served with roasted corn, pickled onions, yuca fries and topped with chimichurri sauce. The Latin flavors are right at home in South Florida – this is a great option for those looking to experience the taste of the region, but who don’t want to venture in to the “sea” side of the menu. The steak is cooked to perfection, and the yuca fries….
Of COURSE your girl loved the Yuca Fries! Here I am, confiscating every last fry. Apologies to the bloggers who didn’t get to try them before I demolished them. Sorry, but there’s no “share” in “fries.” P.S., this perfectly tropical themed shirt is from Guess. I have three tops from Guess that perfectly shape me – if anyone is looking to enhance their curves, I highly recommend searching through their line and finding something made with the cotton/modal/spandex blend. And when you start getting more offers for dates, you can thank me. And you should probably get them to take you to Oceans 234.
If there is one fish that is representative of South Florida, it would have to be Mahi Mahi, as literally every restaurant in the area has a Mahi dish. I swear. Bars have it. Mexican restaurants have it. Asian Cuisine restaurants have it. Probably even BBQ joints have it. But NOT every place does Mahi well. Oceans serves theirs crusted in macadamia nuts, served with coconut basmati rice, garlic green beans and topped with a papaya-mango salsa. It’s safe to say that Oceans 234 does Mahi justice! The crunch of the macadamia is a great offset to the soft, flaky fish, as is the sweetness of the salsa. The dish as a whole is light, tropical, and really demonstrates what Oceans 234 is about.
But the real star of the show arrived when they brought out the incredibly indulgent, gorgeously photogenic, wake-up-and-smell-the-lobster Lobster Mac ‘N Cheese. Topped with a half pound lobster tail and smothered in mascarpone cheese sauce, THIS is the dish that will have you on the Black Market searching for a second stomach just so you can eat more. Everything about it is a straight up WOW factor.
Speaking of WOW factor, it was time for dessert, and we were served one of my favorite things: Oreos baked in between a layer of brownie and a layer of cookie dough. My favorite party trick is to make this dish, and I call it “Slutty Brownies.” However, Oceans 234 clearly has more class than me, and they named theirs simply, “Chocolate Trilogy.” However, there is nothing simple about this dish. In addition to what I described above, they also serve it with blackberry cabernet sorbet and chocolate ganache. It is so decadent, even people on the strictest of diets couldn’t resist a bite.
And if you thought we were done there, oh… we are just getting started. The Salted Caramel Cheesecake, served with a caramel glass crisp and fresh berries, might just be your new favorite cheesecake. I’m always a bit more salty than sweet, so when my desserts have a savory factor, I am ALL IN. And this was just the perfect combination of the two, and was so light and fluffy. Folks, this ain’t no Cheesecake Factory – this is the next level.
Do you have room for a little more? Good, me too. Because there’s one last dessert before we finish. The Cappuccino Creme Brûlée. I don’t do caffeine, but this is one pick-me-up that you can’t resist.
Whether you live in Florida or are just vacationing, whether you like seafood or need some red meat in your life, Oceans 234 literally has all the fish and non-fish in the sea to make your visit better than your wildest expectations. Let them bait you, and you’ll be hooked.
***I received complimentary noms in exchange for this post, however, you cannot bribe me with food, so all opinions are my own.