TheShortestTallman Review: Ocean Blue Restaurant, Utica, NY

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Last night, I had the honor of being invited to the “Friends and Family” sneak peek of the brand new Ocean Blue Restaurant atop the newly renovated Landmarc building in downtown Utica.  TheShortestTallman was on assignment!

The sampling menu had a… sampling… of the full dinner menu advertised on the website. At our table, we tried 3 appetizers:  meat and cheese platter (awesome!), the ceviche (served in a fancy salt bowl; we know because someone at my table licked it to make sure.  I thought it was very good!  The ceviche, not the bowl.), and the fish tacos (I did not try, but others at my table said it was great).  For the entree, I was hoping for the cedar plank scallops, but they were already out (to be expected at a sampling event), so I had the filet mignon.  The filet was great- I ordered it medium rare, and it was leaning on the rare side of medium rare, which was fine by me :).  It came with a blue cheese butter sauce on top which was great with the steak, and the parmesan truffle shoestring fries that came with it were awesome.  For dessert, we tried the cheesecake (fresh and amazing), the flourless espresso cake (divine), and the bag o’ donuts, which I did not try but were gobbled up at our table.

The ambience was the best part of the experience.  The bar was very cool, the seating areas had personality, and you could view the kitchen which is always neat.  The patio was huge, with cool-looking heat lamps, casual seating, a great view of our little downtown.  The restaurant’s forte is advertised as their seafood, although I didn’t get to try much of it at the sampling.  I like how the goal is for it to be superb food and ambience, that is accessible.  I didn’t feel like it was too fancy for me, which is important to me, because honestly, I get uncomfortable pretty quick in fancy schmancy settings.  Check out their instagram for photos from inside!  My phone was almost dead, so I was unable to take pictures.

I will definitely be back!  Great for dates, girls’ nights- basically any reason to go out!  Also, they advertise that they are family friendly, which they are, but when I think of me and my family, we would probably be more interested in taking our kids to a restaurant like The Outback rather than Ocean Blue.  Again, they don’t poo poo on children coming; quite the opposite, but for the ages of my kids currently, I would rather go someplace more casual.  We don’t go out as it is anyway- we have found takeout to be the way to go with our aged kids!

It’s super cool to see investment in our city, and legit cool places to visit are popping up, and have been for a few years.  Ocean Blue’s page on their website, “Things we Love,” advertises some other neat places in Utica.  Utica is transforming!  When I think about where the Utica area was before I went to college, and where it is now, it’s exciting to see renewed interest and pride.