Photo Credit: @rmstudiocorp
On the cusp of its 20th anniversary, Oceans 234 has never been far from the culinary limelight. In fact, since owner/operator Danielle Rosse opened the waterfront gem, it has drawn vociferous praise for its contemporary American, seafood-centric menu and buzzy bar as much as it has for its unbeatable oceanfront location, complete with sweeping views of the city’s iconic pier. Currently in its 19th successful year and looking forward to the Big 2-0 in 2022, Oceans 234 is fresher than ever with a talented new chef at the helm and a delicious new menu as progressive as it is familiar.
“Not many restaurants make it to the 20-year mark; we are truly blessed,” says Rosse, a keen operator who opened the restaurant at the age of 22 who then went on to renovate it and relaunch it after a $2 million renovation. “The last year and a half were particularly challenging and we cannot thank our guests, and our team, for helping see us through. It’s exciting, after being in ‘survival mode’ for so long, to be able to embrace positive change and give our fans and friends something new to enjoy. I’m thrilled to have Chef Nicole in the Oceans 234 kitchen.”
That would be Executive Chef Nicole Fey, a talented young toque born and raised in the Sunshine State but as well versed in New England cookery as she is Cajun cuisine (on her mother’s side) and classic Italian (the benefits of a formal education overseas). At Oceans 234 she brings an international flair deeply rooted in a farm-to-table philosophy with purity of ingredients and a light touch as her North stars. And though much of the restaurant’s fare focuses on seafood, it’s flora and fauna that most inspire the chef. “Often I find myself reverse engineering a dish,” says Fey. “I will start with the vegetable and then work backwards to the protein. It might be counterintuitive for some but for me it’s my way in on a dish I’m creating.”
The new dishes – a bevy of them across the menu – follow.
- A seasonal hummus starter, currently roasted carrot hummus cut with chipotle and harissa and feta, served with crudite and warm pita
- Harvest salad of roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, crispy red quinoa and goat cheese on mixed greens tossed with mustard vinaigrette – possibly the most “fall” dish in the 954 right now
- Grilled octopus served with chunks of dried chorizo, fried olives, roasted potatoes and fennel, dressed with herb oil
- Ora King salmon, seared to perfection and served on a silky bed of cauliflower puree with roasted Brussels sprouts and drizzled with a pomegranate reduction
- The Member’s Only sushi roll, part of the restaurant’s raw bar options – spicy tuna and hamachi topped with salmon, wasabi pea dust and truffle aioli
- Short rib “Osso Bucco” served with marrow bone, toast points, parmesan polenta and orange-glazed carrots
- A seasonal bread pudding, currently apple-cinnamon-pecan
Chef Nicole hit the ground running on day one, diving into the menu, enthusiastic to get creative and embrace change. But a restaurant as wildly-popular as Oceans 234 doesn’t reach the verge of its 20th anniversary without having a legion of fans. “I quickly learned which dishes were held sacred and were as much a part of this place as Danielle or its location,” says Fey, who leaned into seasonality when it came to 86’ing some dishes, introducing new ones and taking a look at the signatures. “Little tweaks here and there certainly happened,” jokes Fey, who is as adept at a downhome crawfish boil as she is with haute cuisine; the former from a childhood spent cooking with her maternal grandmother, the latter from time spent in kitchens including Max’s Harvest and Grato in Palm Beach County. “I certainly put my stamp on some Oceans favorites but the spirit of those signature plates remains.” Among them, Lobster Mac and Cheese with a Maine tail and claw, orecchiette, smoked gouda, cheddar cheese and toasted bread crumbs; seared scallops, currently accompanied by truffled mushroom risotto; and swordfish steak, elevated by an achiote & Florida citrus marinade, grilled and served with roasted poblano mashed potatoes, elote-style corn salsa, pickled onions and spiced pepitas.
Literally steps from the sand, Oceans 234 is a glass-enclosed jewel-box in the heart of Broward County that boasts a gorgeous, airy design. The restaurant seats 52 indoors, 116 on the waterfront patio. The bar/lounge seats 30. The dining room was designed to accommodate private events/parties, with capabilities existing for drapery or temporary walls set up to ensure privacy.
Oceans 234 is located at 234 North Ocean Boulevard in Deerfield Beach. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from Noon – 10PM; Friday Noon – 11PM; Saturday 11:30AM – 11PM; and Sunday from 11:30AM to 10PM. Telephone: (954) 428-2539; www.oceans234.com