Going into semantic spasms, Ocean promises to “enchant the guest experience through the delight of interactive-style dining.” I didn’t get a chance to ask my experience if it felt enchanted, since it bolted just as the enormous check was arriving, mumbling a half-hearted “thanks” (followed sotto voce by “suckah”), and I haven’t heard from it since. Hmm, perhaps the mastermind behind the menu’s mission statement meant “enhance”? But to determine whether my experience had been enhanced, I’d have to know what “interactive-style dining” was, beyond just being able to, say, select among the items on the menu (you know, like when you get to click icons on your desktop! X-treme!)—and since the interactive style of our waitress was such that “interpassive” might put a finer point on it, I never did find out whether I was missing some stellar opportunity to kibitz on the line or join a round-table discussion on the soup du jour or something.

Well, you can bet your bippy—what- & wheresoever that may be—a little input from the Director & me couldn’t have hurt matters. For instance, we might have suggested using real yellowfin & jalapeno slices in the yellowfin & jalapeno dish, rather than part of some toy display from Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast .

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We know those little Japanese eraser sets are adorable & all, but we were taught in grade-school not to stick either end of the pencil in our mouths for a reason: rubber & lead are very bland.

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Unless, that is, they’re serving as substitutes for what was supposed to be squid fried with hot red pepper slivers. Then rubber & lead are super-spicy.

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In all fairness, the idea here was dandy, crossing your basic calamari fritti with a refreshing salad of watercress & mandarin sections in a wicked orange-chile dressing. But for this kind of ham-handed deep-frying, we could’ve gone back to Dave & Buster’s & at least caught some hot man-on-man octagonal action while chomping on our breaded whatsits.

Oh, there’s so much more to say here, & said it shall be a few hours’ hence.

***

Hours since, I admit my attitude has not improved one whit. After all, among all my tests of a restaurant’s honor—to which I have alluded before and upon which I intend to elaborate fully in due time—Ocean failed the only 2 I administered it, 1 being fried calamari, the other being the bread basket we requested in hopes of salvaging something from the aforementioned yellowfin disaster—namely the oil-&-vinegar slick beneath it. That’s right, like some sort of Exxonian epicures, we tried to save the oil from being tainted by the fish.

Valiant motive, flawed measure. I know better than to ask for a bread basket; it’s like asking a slight acquaintance to wave to you on the street. The solicited gesture is bound to be stale & cold. Sure enough, turning & twisting each day-plus-old, vaguely country French slice would have done wonders for my carpal tunnel syndrome if I’d had it; then again, I’d have had to swallow my hard-won hunks plain, lest the glass shards that passed for butter pats slit those convalescing wrists. Of course, since the calamari was served sans utensils, re-injury resulting from repetitive hand-to-mouth motion would have been inevitable anyway. Said the Director: “Um, we don’t have any silverware?” Said our waitress: “Huh.” Replace the phrase “we don’t have any silverware” with “I don’t have any pants on,” and her tone would have been totally appropriate.

Now that I’ve spewed enough venom to paralyze a whole publicity firm, I’ll leave you with the promise of praises yet to be sung for Ocean. They’re few & faint, but they are worth vocalizing.