OCEAN BLUE  √√√√



OCEAN BLUE
A S I A N  F U S I A N

2475 N. McMullen Booth Rd.
@ Enterprise RD E.
Clearwater Fl   33759   •  727-791-6640

WRITTEN  BY AL JACOBSON 
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AL JACOBSON,  AND RICHARD ABDUL JONES

I have to explain DIFFERENT and EXCITING. I don't use those words often. I enjoy eating out, I write a lot about food, I enjoy cooking in different styles and ethnicities. 

Many places I cover or keep an eye on, tend to blur together. During burger wars, I weighed the patties, frozen vs fresh, check the ingredients, and so forth, not different nor exciting. -Or - Talking taco and turning the ingredients upside down or inside out, and not even finding the smear of meat doth not create a new dish the corporation spent millions on advertising. 

THIS PLACE IS ASIAN FUSION
Asian Fusion combines various Asian modes of cooking and merges them with some Western traditions. First appearing a decade ago, it died down for a while and now has come back with a vengeance and seen in many new restaurants today. Many chefs started their career on food trucks, got creative, added new ideas and once again California sets the trends and then they wind up in Florida.

When cultures collide, ingredients overlap, cooks go bonkers and traditions are merged. Some good some bad. Most places before like in Cantonese kitchens, had dishes that were bland, sometimes boring and never changed for decades. Asian Fusion dimensionally changed things, using local, available, and sometimes new ingredients and appeals to local tastes. 

Mainstream consumers looked for something different. Southeast Asia traditions, mainly the use of raw fish, mixed ingredients with new tastes, the extended use of rice, soy, and Asian vegetables, Sichuan, Sriracha, Thai Chillies, all sort of combinations of basics and spices. The most popular being the advent of the famous California rolls, with fatty tuna belly. 

A NEWER EXPERIENCE

My friend and I were out running business errands when the brain clock said it was time to eat. I said, “ OK your call”, somehow I sensed we weren't headed for burger-land.

For newcomers and winter guests, the area of McMullen Booth Rd and Enterprise in north Clearwater is a mecca of restaurants, a unique selection of niche food places. Restaurants like to cling together, it simply brings more people to your area and if you are good, you will get a bigger share or at least expose yourself for the next time. 

And this place Ocean Blue will fool you.  It’s quiet and subdued on the outside and once you walk in, the atmosphere changes, almost a different venue (like it says) and actively exciting (like it says) dinning experience. 

Nice greeting, attitude and your greeters make the difference. Indifference sets a bad tone, this is a very friendly place and comfortable with a full beautiful bar, to the left, sections of sushi stations, booths, tables whatever your comfort or pleasure is and we were promptly seated. 

My friend likes this place and just about knew everyone, and the menu so I defaulted and let him order the food. We had their miso soup (for those not familiar, it is soy bean and not chicken) and a small ginger salad to start things off and then we had the Chicken (2 huge cutlets, not greasy) with spicy sauce, rice and broccoli . The food was spot on, delicious, very different, and the service impeccable with most of the cooking and prep areas, visible and the Sushi chefs are very entertaining. 


Ocean Blue is a nice name tied to Asian Fusion. To the "expert" if there is a such a thing, they somehow can decipher tiny changes in the menu that would never be noticed by mere mortals. I do not get into food that deep. Too much data. I judge by the quality (which is freshness and preparation), quantity (which is value), atmosphere (staff and cleanliness) and consistency. (Would I recommend this place)

1) The food was different, great flavor fresh - excellent.
2) The portions were generous, I barely finished it and the last bite was as good as the first.
3) The menu is huge and thats what Asian Fusion is all about.
4) Service and atmosphere, (were excellent) and most importantly reasonably priced, good reasonable value for great food.

We finished it off with a Makimono roll, which was excellent. It takes staples to a new level and slight variations are accommodated which you do not find on commercial Sushi bars. Most southeast Asia dishes are featured.

In addition to a huge selection of Nigiri, Sashimi, Sushi, Makimono which is rolled Sushi and Ramen and Vietnamese noodles, there are Hibachi plates with Chicken, Beef , or Shrimp. There are combination plates. I was tempted to try everything and will go back and photograph the food for my guide, it was beautiful... And the selections well laid out in the menus and there is a lot of them.

Lest I forget, a late night menu filled with unique specials served after 10 PM to closing accommodating the late nighters on the beverage menu. A great place after a movie for a nightcap and snack. 

Two questions arose on TripAdvisor, Is this place appropriate for business meetings, I said depends, since you'll be talking about the food and not business. And Is it appropriate for children, if your kids are mac and cheese kids from birth, I don't think so. But if they have extensive palates and don’t haggle with food, it's fine.

This place is on my 2017 hotlist and more reports coming as I eat my way through the menu... and push my palate to new heights.

copyright 2017 aljacobskitchen.com