Lobster night at the Ocean View
Last Wednesday evening was one of those cold, blowing, slushy, rain-snow nights that aren't that unusual here during the winter - a great night to eat out. My wife and I and another couple decided to brave the elements to try out the Ocean View Restaurant & Tavern lobster night. With the economy in the shape it's in, the usual winter thinning of the population and the weather, I was surprised to see cars parked bumper to bumper on Chapman Avenue from the Ocean View to New York Avenue. It looked like the Ocean View was going to be pretty full.
I sat for a moment in the car wondering why some restaurants pick the names they do. Is it wishful thinking? The Wharf is not on a wharf, the Square Rigger is hardly a sailing ship, Off-Shore Ale is very much land-locked, Detente - go figure, but a good idea, and the Ritz, while a fun place to go, would never be mistaken for The Ritz.
Photo by Susan Safford
Then there's the popular Ocean View. What ocean view? I have heard that there was once a multiple story hotel on the site that did have an ocean view.
We entered through the bar door. The bar area has a comfortable feel. The long bar stretches out to the right with an elevated eating area opposite. The lighting is just about right. There's a fire crackling in the fireplace at the far end next to the theater style popcorn machine where you can fill your own bowl with free popcorn. We were ushered to the one available table in short order, passing a number of friends and acquaintances along the way - many eating lobster.
I usually don't care much for the noise and congestion of bars, but the Ocean View is pleasant. It has nine TVs, mostly tuned to sporting events, but the sound is off, replaced by the familiar tunes of '60s and '70s rock and roll, and the sounds of people talking and eating. It's easy to talk and be heard - not bad for a busy bar.
There is a full menu available in the bar with everything from appetizers, steaks and ribs to chicken and fish. They have a respectable wine list and an interesting array of beers and a full bar. The lobster special is either a baked-stuffed lobster or boiled, comes with vegetables and choice of potato and the salad bar. The salad bar is located in the main dining room, quieter and much roomier than the bar area. It was practically full as well. I saw more familiar faces there.
Our waitress, Jacqueline Gibson, couldn't have been nicer. One of our party thought she said she worked for an intellectual contractor (it was "electrical") during the day, and when she memorized our orders and got them all right we thought maybe she did.
Acting manager Marilyn Maciel said that many diners have expressed thanks for reviving the lobster night after a hiatus of 12 or so years. She said that the response has been, "great, fabulous, Saturday's prime rib night too." The crowd on Wednesday showed the truth of her statement.
Owner Peg Jackson, speaking on the phone from her winter digs in Florida, said, "...both lobster night and prime rib night would continue most likely through March and maybe longer, depending in part on the price of lobster." She said that their business has been "suffering from the terrible economy" and that sales were down over the same time last year until they began the specials. The success of the bar menu has led to a plan to enlarge the bar area by expanding into some of the center dining room in the next few weeks.