Nothing screams suburban living like strip mall dining. If you grew up in the burbs like I did, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Eating in strip malls was a way of life back in the day, and it was awesome. Weren't things so much easier back then? You could drop off that Blockbuster rental, pick up your dry cleaning, and eat a solid plate of penne alla vodka without ever having to move your Honda Accord to a different parking space. Life was good.
But then you got a little bit older, moved to the big city, and forgot all about simple eating. You went to Dos Caminos and a bunch of other stupid places you thought were cool the year after you graduated from college. Before you knew it, you totally lost yourself and realized you had absolutely no taste for restaurants whatsoever.
Hopefully somewhere along the way, you discovered this website and figured things out. You're reading this, so you're clearly doing something right. Maybe you even downloaded our award winning app and Hit Listed the sh*t out of L'Artusi, Perla, and every other place we've given an 8.5 or higher. You're a pro now, and your friends think you're smarter, more cultured, and even better looking than you used to be. But every once in a while, it's good to go back to your roots, and that's exactly what I did this past weekend. While visiting my parents out in Suffolk County, Long Island, I decided to check out a new place in town.
Oceans 5 is that place, and on the outside, it's exactly what you'd expect from the suburbs - all the way down to the f*cking early bird menu. But scratch the surface and there's a lot to like about this restaurant. First off, it's all about fish here - and lots of it. Not only does Oceans 5 serve up a huge menu of quality seafood for both lunch and dinner, but it also features a pretty awesome fish market, directly adjacent to the main dining room. Not from Long Island/avoid it at all costs unless heading to the Hamptons? No worries you f*cking snob. You can hit this spot up on the way out to your summer beach house. Pick up some fresh clams for the grill, or maybe a few lobsters to match the ones on your pants.
Speaking of the meal, it's all around pretty simple, and pretty great. We definitely weren't expecting much, and we walked away pleasantly surprised. To start, we did a handful of appetizers and some oysters, all of which were solid. But where Oceans 5 really shines is with the entrees. Don't even think about ordering an entree that doesn't feature a big ass piece of fish as its centerpiece. Forget the whole "fish so fresh it swims to your table" thing, this fish was still flopping around on its way down our throats. Also, remember how some restaurants in other parts of the world give you a side salad and choice of starch with every entree? Yeah, they do that here. We tried the red potatoes, fries, and risotto. All were awesome and went perfectly with the fish.
So the next time you're home, wherever that is, trying to decide between the movies or that bar where all your dropout friends still drink, give your local strip mall restaurant a chance instead. You never know what you're going to discover. And if you happen to strike out, don't sweat it. You can always hit up that Chinese food place next to the laundromat instead.
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Unimpressive. This was a poor way to start off what would become a really solid meal. These mushrooms were just kind of not good tasting. Skip 'em.
They call this Asian Calamari, but it tasted like it had a lot of Italian influence. Must have been the combination of the breading on the squid and the cherry peppers. We liked it.
Grilled Shrimp over White Beans and Escarole
Another solid starter from the daily specials menu. It's a really simple dish with nothing too crazy going on other than some basic, traditional, italian cooking. We're noticing a theme here, and we're not complaining.
Sesame Crusted Tuna
This tuna was also solid, but there's nothing too inventive or interesting going on here - just a nice rare piece of tuna with a wasabi dressing. Wouldn't kill you to order this as a starter.
Horseradish Crusted Chilean Sea Bass
The winner. This was the best piece of fish that we tried. It was extremely rich, cooked just right, and the horseradish crust wasn't too overpowering.
Pistachio Crusted Arctic Char
Arctic Char can be too fishy sometimes. We didn't find that to be the case here. This was great, and another really excellent entree. The pistachio and panko crust had an interesting flavor and texture to it - almost like an oreganata.
Holy sh*t. This was insane. The bartender's Mom is a pastry chef, and apparently she makes all of the desserts, including this one. This is one of the best cheesecakes we've tasted in a while. It's not one of those semi-solid cheesecakes that you need to cut with a knife. This one is soft and creamy, and is an all around treat. You also probably won't be able to move after you eat it. Good thing your Mom is driving you home.