Get ready Mr. DeMille, Pompano Beach is ready for her close-up. After years of being relegated to the second row of the chorus, metaphorically speaking, Pompano Beach is poised to take its bow in the spotlight.
While the new construction along Atlantic and the intra-coastal seems to be taking forever. The revitalization of the beachfront area is going full-steam ahead. The Pompano Beach pier should be open by the time you read this and the recently opened Oceanic, located right on the beach, is already drawing an upscale crowd ready and willing to pay the $5 valet fee (which it turns out is cheaper than the nearby meters).
With views, décor and service to rival any trendy South Beach spot, Oceanic will quite simply take your breath away. It starts the minute you walk up the grand staircase and through the large glass doors, which are opened for you. As you step through those doors, you’re greeted with an expansive view of the dining room and beyond that the massive terrace and the beach and ocean. There is also a beautifully decorated waiting area which I’m certain will get plenty of use once season arrives. The place was packed on the Friday we visited, and Oceanic had only been open two weeks!
Executive Chef Brian Cantrell has designed a menu that combines locally sourced ingredients with innovative recipes. Yes, you’ll find the ubiquitous salmon, but it is crusted in walnuts and rosemary. ‘Sun Kissed Shrimp,” Oceanic’s version of the traditional bam bam shrimp recipe, manages to make the shrimp plumper, more tender and with a lighter sauce than other versions I’ve tried. An heirloom tomato salad featured the freshest and most luscious tasting slices of tomato, paired with an almost burrata-like mozzarella.
Of our entire the meal, the only disappointment was the grilled artichoke. The dish arrived with a whole artichoke, halved and grilled. Whatever butter or sauce there was to moisten the dry petals of the artichoke had leached away and all that was left was an acrid, almost chemical taste. Other first course options (most with portions generous enough to serve as a light meal) include; conch chowder, shrimp cocktail, ceviche, smoked salmon, tuna tataki, calamari, and beef carpaccio. Salad options include watermelon with grilled shrimp and feta, one with ancient grains, an iceberg wedge, Caesar and a yummy sounding cashew chicken.
Our entrees arrived and the memory of the artichoke was swept away by a panoply of flavors and aromas. The mahi featured a delicious sundried tomato infused beurre blanc, and was accompanied by rice, asparagus, artichoke hearts, heirloom cherry tomato and fennel dressed in a delightful lemon vinaigrette. I splurged and ordered the bone-in cowgirl ribeye and to go all in I went for the crab Oscar topping. Sure, it’s rich and decadent, but this is a special occasion place for 99% of us, so why not? The steak was perfectly prepared with a good sear of the outside and a pink juicy center. The steak practically melted in my mouth and the Oscar topping was as rich as you expect something made with crab, cream and cheese to be! Our attentive server, Rui, was a delight and certainly knew his way around the menu.
Entrée options range from equally decadent Angus beef cuts of filet mignon and New York strip and baby back ribs and a bacon blue burger to healthier items such as cauliflower steak, brined roast chicken and fresh fish (of course) including diver scallops, mojo shrimp, salmon and slightly naughty treats such as crab cake. Side dish options include mashed potatoes (to which you can add lobster with Cajun gravy), Kennebec fries, cheese fondue, grilled asparagus and horseradish-maple Brussels sprouts.
Specialty desserts, made in-house, include the Chocolate Trilogy, a decadent combination of bittersweet ganache, chocolate hazelnut mousse and milk chocolate cake served with a scoop of pistachio gelato and a chocolate nougatine. The Key Lime Crème Brulee features toasted coconut meringue, fresh berries and a graham cracker crumble. Both were exceptional. Other options include the “Fat Elvis Pie,” which offers up a chocolate banana mousse in a Nutter Butter cookie crust, garnished with candied bacon, upside down pineapple bread pudding, a warm, seasonal fruit tostada with vanilla bean gel and a variety of gelati.
Brunch is served on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering favorites such as Nutella stuffed bananas Foster French toast, surf and turf eggs Benedict with crab, chicken and waffles, steak and eggs, New Orleans shrimp and grits, avocado toast and custom omelets. There is a full wine and cocktail list and the terrace bar makes for a lovely place to wait for your table. A second-floor private party room offers even more spectacular views than the main dining room and terrace.