Coming up on two decades in business, Chef/Owner George Reis keeps the Ocean experience fresh and young.
For George Reis, the key to success at Ocean, his upscale seafood restaurant in Five Points South is keeping a fresh approach, to the food, the suppliers, and the people.
“You have to reinvent yourself all the time, and realize you don’t know it all and there is still more to learn.
“The youth of the staff enhances your ability to stay fresh. Cooks want to see new things to work with. They don’t want to work with stale and old ideas.”
With a well-deserved reputation as one of Birmingham’s best restaurants, Ocean remains at the top of the list of special dinner spots in the city. At the bar you can order a signature martini or feast on an array of oysters, shrimp, clams, and lobster at the raw bar.
In the contemporary dining room, the variety of fish and other entree choices offer some of the finest farm to table fare in the city.
Appetizers and salads include the signature ocean salad “greek style” with fried feta crispy greens, roma tomatoes, red onion and kalamata olives, as well as cornmeal crusted green tomatoes with crawfish, asparagus frisee slaw and tobasco beurre.
Sushi is another option with items including spicy Hawaiian tuna with red pepper, sriracha, cucumber and toasted coconut, or the soul roll consisting of tempura fried Alaskan king crab, jalapeno, cream cheese and carrots.
The entrees are where the carefully sourced seafood really shines. The Georges Bank sea scallops with gnocchi, brussels slaw, cauliflower purée and riesling apple glaze is a perennial favorite. As is the seed crusted red grouper with warm butternut “potato” salad, harissa yogurt and cucumber mint pesto. If you want your food choice to stay on the land, the Hereford filet mignon with bleu cheese potato gratin, haricot verts, bacon, onion and house worcestershire is one of the best steak choices in the city.
There is a whole fish seafood option as well, such as red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico, hickory grilled with chimichurri.
Whole or filet or something else entirely, it’s hard to choose unwisely when you dip into Ocean.