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Oceanique in Evanston?

Oceanique in Evanston?
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  • Post #31 - October 9th, 2007, 1:34 pm
    Post #31 - October 9th, 2007, 1:34 pm Post #31 - October 9th, 2007, 1:34 pm
    I agree with you Ronnie I have dinned at Oceanique twice and both times the service and food were excellent, and like you I once lived a few blocks away but it took me a couple of years before I decided to give the place a try.

    I haven't been back in a few years, after seeing those pictures it will be next for a special occasion dinner.
  • Post #32 - October 9th, 2007, 2:08 pm
    Post #32 - October 9th, 2007, 2:08 pm Post #32 - October 9th, 2007, 2:08 pm
    Diane wrote:Someone may have asked you this before, but what kind of camera and what settings do you use? Your photos are beautiful.

    Thanks, Diane (and everyone else), for the kind comments. Those pics were taken in .raw mode with a Canon 20D and a Canon 17-85mm lens (f 4-5.6). It was fairly dark in the restaurant, so I shot with the ISO at 3200, which does add a bit of noise to the images.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

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  • Post #33 - October 21st, 2007, 1:52 pm
    Post #33 - October 21st, 2007, 1:52 pm Post #33 - October 21st, 2007, 1:52 pm
    The wife and I took another couple to dinner here last night. I have never been tempted to try this place before. My wife claims to have had a date here on her 21st Birthday while a student at Northwestern. That was 15 years ago and she has never returned although she claims the food was great back then. The restaurant was basically an entirely new experience for the 4 of us.

    We dined at Oceanique because the other couple choose the venue and had heard good things, we didnt feel like going into the city because of Edens construction hassles and they rejected my suggestion to try any of the Tramonto restaurants in Wheeling.

    The food was very good, not great. Most of it did look as good as what is portrayed in the pictures posted supra. Presentation is apparently one of the chef's strong suits.

    I wanted to love this place but I just didnt. The restaurant is showing its 20 years and needs a bit of a spruce up. I love the the whole buy locally and sustainably theme, mentioned all over the website and menu, and was suprised when the staff was pushing hard Australian Barimundi and Maine Lobster. Also, the cost of eating at this restaurant was astonishing. I have no problem paying significant money for a meal at an iconic restaurant or for one that serves food that just knocks my socks off. The dinner portion of the check for 4 was over $300...we each had a starter, salad and entree....+3 deserts. With coffee and two nice bottles (sub $100) of wine this dinner cost well over $600 with tax and tip.

    I left dinner wishing we had gone to avenues, moto, alinea, trotters, etc.

    The food itself, again, was very good not great. Without giving a blow by blow account, The grilled calamari and shrimp appetizer with a sake essence was very nice. It looked beautiful, but i couldnt help but feel that I could have had better calamari at half a dozen other places. This, BTW, was described to us as a signature starter. My rare yellowfin entree was overcooked. Honestly, i get a nicer piece of yellowfin at Happi Sushi 3 blocks from my house.

    The wine list is very nice (they have won several wine spectator awards) and the sommelier poured us an "almost" sauterne with desert that we really enjoyed (actually more then the just ok deserts)

    When we walked out my friend turned to me and said, that was great but we should have gone to avenues, i felt the exact same way. I would find it hard to recommend this place.
  • Post #34 - October 22nd, 2007, 10:11 am
    Post #34 - October 22nd, 2007, 10:11 am Post #34 - October 22nd, 2007, 10:11 am
    Although both Oceanique and Avenues are superb, I wouldn't compare them with each other (and I have dined at both this year). They are entirely different kinds of places; Oceanique is a "casual fine dining" type place (a la Spring, one sixtyblue, Blackbird), whereas Avenues is a fancy splurge place more akin to Charlie Trotter's and Tru. And the prices are entirely different, as well; including moderate wine and tax/tip, we paid $100/person at Oceanique, $250/person at Avenues. (We ordered a lot of courses at both; you can pay less than these prices at either place with fewer courses, or you can pay more with greater quality/quantity of wine/alcohol.)

    If you're looking for a fancy splurge type place with the utmost in creativity, Avenues is an excellent choice. If you're looking for a more casual place with food that knocks your socks off (it's superb, as delicious as Ronnie's photos make it appear), then Oceanique is an excellent choice.
  • Post #35 - October 22nd, 2007, 10:47 am
    Post #35 - October 22nd, 2007, 10:47 am Post #35 - October 22nd, 2007, 10:47 am
    nsxtasy wrote:Although both Oceanique and Avenues are superb, I wouldn't compare them with each other (and I have dined at both this year). They are entirely different kinds of places; Oceanique is a "casual fine dining" type place (a la Spring, one sixtyblue, Blackbird), whereas Avenues is a fancy splurge place more akin to Charlie Trotter's and Tru. And the prices are entirely different, as well; including moderate wine and tax/tip, we paid $100/person at Oceanique, $250/person at Avenues..


    This is exactly my point. The bill at Oceanique was over $600 with tax and tip for 4 people. We had a bottle of NV Veuve and an $85 Pinot Noir (Not exactly outrageously priced wines). For not that much of an upcharge we could have dined at Avenues, Trotters, etc. I guess what I am really trying to say is that IMHO Oceanique is a very poor value for the dollar when compared with other "casual fine dining" establishments and that I would have rather spent just a little more money (I know this is relative) and had a far superior meal at say Trotters or Avenues or any number of other places. I wasnt trying to compare Oceanique to Avenues...What I was trying to say is that they dont compare...
  • Post #36 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:18 am
    Post #36 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:18 am Post #36 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:18 am
    I'd say changing venues to Avenues, Trotters et.al. would have been more than a minor upcharge. More like double would be my guess.

    A $150 per head with wine dinner is about right for a place like Oceanique. Trotters however is $130ish per person plus another $90ish per persone for wines.
  • Post #37 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:56 am
    Post #37 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:56 am Post #37 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:56 am
    While I like Oceanique, I've found the markups on the wine list to be on the high side. Otherwise, it's a great place.
  • Post #38 - October 22nd, 2007, 12:59 pm
    Post #38 - October 22nd, 2007, 12:59 pm Post #38 - October 22nd, 2007, 12:59 pm
    iblock9 wrote:This is exactly my point.

    And that is exactly MY point. Your bill was as high as it was, not because of the food, but because you ordered somewhat expensive wines ($85 is not what I consider "moderately priced"; Oceanique has plenty of choices in the $40-60 range, and even a few below that. Oceanique's wine list is here and includes prices.). If you go to Avenues, chances are you're going to spend a lot more than the $250/person I spent, assuming you order somewhat-higher-priced wines similar to what you ordered at Oceanique.

    Let's look at actual numbers. At Oceanique, as noted on the current menu shown on their website, most starters are in the $12-16 range, soups/salads slightly less than that, and most non-vegetarian entrees $26-36. So for four courses, before alcohol/tax/tip, you're looking at $55-70. They also offer a 3-course special menu (except Saturdays) for $42, and a 6-course tasting menu for $75.

    When I went to Avenues in March, they offered 3-, 5, and 10-course dinners for $90, $120, and $160; since then, I have heard they changed their menu to 5, 10, and 15 courses, presumably with prices in the $120-200 range, before alcohol/tax/tip.

    So you're comparing one restaurant with another that costs 2.5-3 times as much, comparing apples to apples (i.e. either before alcohol/tax/tip, or with inexpensive wines, somewhat expensive wines, or extremely expensive wines). That's NOT "just a little more money".
  • Post #39 - October 22nd, 2007, 2:44 pm
    Post #39 - October 22nd, 2007, 2:44 pm Post #39 - October 22nd, 2007, 2:44 pm
    I am looking at my receipt right now. Aprox $300 of the tab was food related before tip. The bar bill was $165 and $24 in tax. For the purposes of the rest of my post the bar bill isnt important because I am only really trying to point out that I dont believe the prices at oceanique reflect the value of the food product only. I wont pretend to know anything about wine.

    We had 2 Calamari and 2 Scallop Appetizers @ $13 and $16 ea. 3 salads at either $11 or $13 ea and 1 soup (lobster) at $13. The entrees were priced at between $29 and $36 bucks. dessert was $10 a pop x 3. Coffee was $2.95 a cup.

    Why point these prices out? If you do the math you will see that for a starter, salad/soup, entree and dessert we are over $75 a head before tip. We could have gone to Trotters, for instance, and had a 7 course grand menu or an 8 course vegetarian menu with coffee included for $155 and $130. At Tru we could have ordered the 3 course for $95. At Moto a 5 Course menu is $70 and at Carlos a 7 course degastation is $90. I could not find Avenues prices on their website that is why they arent listed. Apples to Apples, of course not. From a value persepctive do I wish that I paid the upcharge at Trotters, Tru or Carlos or the downcharge at Moto. Yes, without a doubt. The food at Oceanique doesnt compare to these places except that it is nearly as expensive. I have now been to each of these restaurants and while I understand that the significance of the price difference is relative (i tried to point this out in my last post) IMO it is only slightly significant in terms of the overall experience offered at Oceanique verses any of these and many other restaurants. Looking at a side by side price comparison I am even more sure that I would not dine at Oceanique again in favor of any other number of much better (in a variety of ways) choices in town. Just my 2 cents...
  • Post #40 - October 22nd, 2007, 3:06 pm
    Post #40 - October 22nd, 2007, 3:06 pm Post #40 - October 22nd, 2007, 3:06 pm
    Let us all agree that if Oceanique still has its $35 three course pre-fixe it is a very good deal, indeed.
  • Post #41 - October 22nd, 2007, 4:28 pm
    Post #41 - October 22nd, 2007, 4:28 pm Post #41 - October 22nd, 2007, 4:28 pm
    GAF wrote:Let us all agree that if Oceanique still has its $35 three course pre-fixe it is a very good deal, indeed.

    How about if they have it for $42? :wink: That's the three-course shown on their website as available Monday-Friday. The selections are limited, but it's an excellent deal.

    If you're going on a day other than Saturday, they also have a coupon on their website for $25 off a dinner of $75 or more (not valid with the 3-course special). They're still honoring it even though it's past the expiration date on the coupon.
    Last edited by nsxtasy on October 22nd, 2007, 4:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #42 - October 22nd, 2007, 4:29 pm
    Post #42 - October 22nd, 2007, 4:29 pm Post #42 - October 22nd, 2007, 4:29 pm
    GAF wrote:Let us all agree that if Oceanique still has its $35 three course pre-fixe it is a very good deal, indeed.


    This wasnt offered on Sat night. There was a 6 course for $75, we didnt love the mains offered--sea bream and rack of pork. The three course seems like a better offering even if they count the sorbet as a course
  • Post #43 - March 9th, 2016, 8:22 am
    Post #43 - March 9th, 2016, 8:22 am Post #43 - March 9th, 2016, 8:22 am
    Unless there was another thread I missed, it appears the last post about Oceanique was over 8 years ago. My wife and I have a reservation for Saturday night and we are interested in hearing about the experiences of those who have dined here recently.
  • Post #44 - March 9th, 2016, 8:43 am
    Post #44 - March 9th, 2016, 8:43 am Post #44 - March 9th, 2016, 8:43 am
    fieldsm1 wrote:Unless there was another thread I missed, it appears the last post about Oceanique was over 8 years ago. My wife and I have a reservation for Saturday night and we are interested in hearing about the experiences of those who have dined here recently.


    Somewhat dated but slightly less dated thread here (last post 3-4 years ago).
  • Post #45 - March 9th, 2016, 2:00 pm
    Post #45 - March 9th, 2016, 2:00 pm Post #45 - March 9th, 2016, 2:00 pm
    fieldsm1 wrote:My wife and I have a reservation for Saturday night and we are interested in hearing about the experiences of those who have dined here recently.

    I've been there many times over the years. My most recent dinner there was last April. I don't remember the details - sorry! - but it was as good as ever.
  • Post #46 - July 24th, 2020, 6:04 pm
    Post #46 - July 24th, 2020, 6:04 pm Post #46 - July 24th, 2020, 6:04 pm
    Ever since Mark Grosz opened Oceanique in 1989, it has been one of the very best restaurants in Evanston. It survives now in the era of covid-19. Although they now offer outdoor and (I think) indoor dining on site, tonight we went with their curbside pickup. It was outstanding!

    The ordering and pickup process went very smoothly. I phoned them mid afternoon to place my order, using the menu on their website as a guide. At the designated time, I pulled my car into the two valet parking spaces in front, called them from my cell, and a few minutes later they came out with my order. There were two bags - one for hot items, one for cold items.

    Ten minutes later I arrived home. Even though there were reheating instructions, the hot items were still hot enough to eat, so we didn't bother reheating anything. Everything was delicious. And the portion sizes were generous enough that we felt full partway through the entrees, so we're splitting the dinners into two, saving half for tomorrow night.

    The menu for curbside pickup offers several options for each of three courses for $45, which is an excellent value. There are also side dishes available for $12. Here's what we had:

    Starters

    Corn-Leek Soup Shrimp Local Asparagus Brunoise - a full pint!
    Image
    Beets Warm Goat Cheese Local Asparagus Pecans Belgian Endive
    Image
    Entrée

    Bouillabaisse Oceanique w/Saffron Aioli Salmon Halibut Whitefish Shrimp Scallop Squid - One full pint contained broth, while another contained the seafood, with croutons and aioli on the side
    Image
    Image
    Side

    Cremini Mushrooms Fennel Manchego
    Image
    Pastry

    Vanilla Panna Cotta w/Michigan Strawberries
    Image

    This was a wonderful dinner, and we look forward to returning for more.

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