We had another successful meeting of the Supper Club Thursday at Oceanaire Seafood Room, one of our favorite meeting spots. The staff did a terrific job taking care of us, led by general manager Engel Colon and executive chef Jairo Mejia. We took over the comfortable private dining room, though an error in counting meant that a couple of Supper Clubbers had to sit at the booth just outside the door, but we all managed.
We started with an appetizer/salad of grilled Spanish octopus, which had firm cross sections of tentacles, served with roasted fennel, red onions, a few capers and a delightful citrus vinaigrette. Wonderful octopus. (One of the clubbers was upset because his wife doesn't like octopus and he was sure he was going to get hers to eat as well, but she took one bite and ate the whole thing, it was that good.) The salad was paired with M. Chapoutier Belleruche rose, Cotes-du-Rhone, 2012.
Next up was Maine lobster poached in butter and served with buttery potato gnocchi, so soft and delicate, and flavored with a bit of black truffle cream sauce. Brokenwood semillion, 2012, from Hunter Valley was the pairing.
After an intermezzo of melon sorbet, we were served a surf and turf entree of pan-seared jumbo scallop sitting atop a parmesan crusted polenta cake and Kobe beef ribeye. The scallop was terrific, and the meat was served a beautiful rarish red. Some clubbers said they would have preferred to have the meat a bit hotter, but I thought the flavors were wonderful. Especially with the Burgess Triere Estate Vineyard Merlot, 2009, from Napa Valley.
Dessert was a chocolate "tierrrita," a rich mousse serve with a pretty purple orchid on top. Justin Vineyards & Winery's Obtuse from Paso Robles, 2009, was the sweet match.
As always, the service was first rate and everything was kept moving at a perfect pace. I learned something on this visit that I hadn't known before. As you may remember, Landry Seafood bought the Oceanaire Seafood Room locations a few years ago. One of the reasons the quality has remained high is that Landry still allows Oceanaire to set its own menu and change it at will — the only restaurant of its full list. I hope that never changes. As long as it remains the way it is now, Oceanaire will be my favorite seafood restaurant in Central Florida.
Next Supper Club: Raglan Road, Aug. 14, with celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, a preview of the special Supper Club event in Dublin on August 29. Details on both Supper Clubs here.