Review of Ocean Prime in Phoenix
Ocean Prime - What I Liked
- The food -- wonderful flavors, pleasingly prepared
- Happy hour appetizer prices
- Nice selection of wines by the glass (but pricey)
- Music (70s through today) in the lounge
Ocean Prime - Be Aware
- Outdoor patio next to parking lot
- Parking is scarce, valet has a charge
Lounge at Ocean Prime © Judy Hedding
Ocean Prime - The Mood
Ocean Prime is located in the CityNorth complex in north Phoenix, near the Scottsdale border. Modern, simple styling defines the dining room, while the lounge has booths as well as tables, all within close earshot of live music (most nights). You'll also hear the music if you choose to eat at the covered patio, or have a cocktail in the street-side outdoor living room where you can watch and be watched at CityNorth. Upscale but comfortable, jeans are OK but your safest attire is either business or resort casual.
Ocean Prime - The Damages
Dining at Ocean Prime isn't cheap, but it is comparable to other restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale offering this kind of menu. Entrées range from $23 to $36 for seafood selections and from $31 to $48 for beef/lamb. There is one chicken dish on the menu, and vegetarians will be relegated to salads and side dishes. Ask your server if any are prepared with meat. Appetizers are on the expensive side, starting at $11. They are suitable for sharing, as are the salads, sides and desserts. Happy hour is a great time to go to try appetizers at significantly reduced prices.
A typical three course meal for two people will probably cost $50+ per person, excluding drinks, tax and tip.
Sea Bass at Ocean Prime © Judy Hedding
My Review of Ocean Prime
Ocean Prime just became one of my favorite restaurants in the Greater Phoenix area. Every course was a happy experience. We chose to sit in the lounge, which, naturally, is a bit noisier, but more fun, than the dining room. I am not fond of eating at high bar tables, so I appreciated the fact that they have large, comfortable semi-circular booths in the lounge.
We began our Ocean Prime adventure with two appetizers that were on the Happy Hour Menu, the Crispy Fried Crab Cake and the Sweet Chili Point Judith Calamari (how could I resist any food named Judith?). The Crab Cake was delicious, but the Calamari was extraordinary. I like spicy, and that it was. Not your batter-dipped variety calamari but large tender pieces sautéed in a sweet chili sauce that I wouldn't mind eating with a spoon. That appetizer (but not every starter) is large enough to order as an entrée, and next time I just might do that, with a side salad. Well, I was thinking that until my entrée came.
For our main dishes we ordered the Chilean Sea Bass ($36) and the Blackened Swordfish ($32). I was happy to note that the blackened seasoning on the swordfish didn't overwhelm the flavor of the fish as so often happens at other establishments, but rather enhanced it. The sea bass literally melted in my mouth. It was delicate and wonderful.
Ten Layer Carrot Cake at Ocean Prime © Judy Hedding
Everything is a la carte at Ocean Prime, so we ordered some sides to share. Two people would normally only need one or two sides, but we couldn't agree so we ordered Jalapeno Au Gratin potatoes, Crispy Onion Straws, Black Truffle Macaroni & Cheese and the Creamed Spinach (just so we could say we had a vegetable!). The Crispy Onion Straws were fun, and each of the other sides had a distinctive flavor -- bacon or jalapeno or truffle -- that made it unique. I daresay that when we return to Ocean Prime, we'll have the same difficulty picking only two sides for our meal. We'll probably just have to try four others -- there are more than 15 sides from which to choose.
Likewise, there is a nice selection of desserts. We didn't have room, but ordered anyway. The two recommended by our server were the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie ($8) and the Ten Layer Carrot Cake ($8). Despite the fact that the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie is not pie, and is more peanut butter than chocolate, we enjoyed both desserts.
Dinner at Ocean Prime wasn't just a meal, it was an experience. I
highly recommend it for a romantic dining experience, a special
occasion, a business dinner, or just casual drinks with appetizers in
the lounge. Ocean Prime is open for dinner only, seven days per week.
Where to Find Ocean Prime:
CityCenter of CityNorth
5455 East High Street, Suite 115
Phoenix, AZ 85054
Visit Ocean Prime online.
Date of review: July 2009.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.
As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for the purpose of the review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.