Ocean Grill

★★☆☆☆
  • 121 N Salem St

    Apex, NC 27502

    Map & Directions
  • 919-303-1699

About Ocean Grill

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Food
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2.2 5
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I went to the Ocean Grill this weekend with a few friends. We went upstairs to the Barracuda Lounge, where there is a bar, a few tables, and things are a little less formal.

First of all, the atmosphere of the place is extremely friendly; we were greeted right away by the gentleman tending bar and our order was taken in a timely manner. As we were primarily there for drinks and relaxation, we ordered several appetizers, including the Maryland crab fondue with toasted pita points, buffalo shrimp with amazing (homemade?) blue cheese dressing, hushpuppy-wrapped shrimp with a remoulade, shanghai calamari (with a tangy peanut sauce), a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, and the chocolate chip cookie dough with (homemade, again?) vanilla ice cream.

Every bite was fantastic. Honestly, I wanted to dive in and swim in the crab fondue, it was so good. Drinks were good as well; the Julie Cosmo was tangy, the chardonnay was cool, and the beer was icy.

The place is pretty popular; we ran into several friends and neighbors while we were there. All in all, Ocean Grill gets two thumbs up from me. Next time I'll try the fried platter, as recommended by another frequent visitor.

2
★★★★☆

I went to the Ocean Grill this weekend with a few friends. We went upstairs to the Barracuda Lounge, where there is a bar, a few tables, and things are a little less formal.

First of all, the atmosphere of the place is extremely friendly; we were greeted right away by the gentleman tending bar and our order was taken in a timely manner. As we were primarily there for drinks and relaxation, we ordered several appetizers, including the Maryland crab fondue with toasted pita points, buffalo shrimp with amazing (homemade?) blue cheese dressing, hushpuppy-wrapped shrimp with a remoulade, shanghai calamari (with a tangy peanut sauce), a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, and the chocolate chip cookie dough with (homemade, again?) vanilla ice cream.

Every bite was fantastic. Honestly, I wanted to dive in and swim in the crab fondue, it was so good. Drinks were good as well; the Julie Cosmo was tangy, the chardonnay was cool, and the beer was icy.

The place is pretty popular; we ran into several friends and neighbors while we were there. All in all, Ocean Grill gets two thumbs up from me. Next time I'll try the fried platter, as recommended by another frequent visitor.

Pros: location, service, atmosphere, food

Cons: none, really

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While I realize that Ocean Grill doesn't focus on kids' cuisine, I do expect to find something worthwhile when I go out to dinner w/ my family. There were 6 items on the kids' menu, all $6 (which is a bit steep; I expect $4-5 for kids menu, and THAT usually includes a drink!). We ordered the mac n cheese, and got the glow-in-the dark, bright orange, right-from-a-box mac n cheese. Served with fries. I don't feed my child that stuff at home, much less expect to be served that in a somewhat upscale establishment. Should have sent it back, but didn't.

I ordered the Frogmore stew; nicely peppery, fairly good... menu said 'served with grilled sourdough bread', I got 2 small pieces, each about the size of a post-it note (3" square). Granted, I could have asked for more, and didn't; but I expected a basket of bread to be served with it.

Hubby got the jambalaya and liked it alright. We got the shrimp hush puppies, which I quite liked and would highly recommend. The standard hush puppies they brought when we sat down had no flavor, and I wondered how long it had been since they changed the oil in the fryer... would much rather have had some bread.

All in all, it's a bit high of a price point for a fair-to-middling experience. Only real saving grace was the Twongo deal we had, basically $15 off. But it was still a $50+ meal by the time we had 2 entrees, appetizer, kids meal + milk, and a beer.

1
★★☆☆☆

While I realize that Ocean Grill doesn't focus on kids' cuisine, I do expect to find something worthwhile when I go out to dinner w/ my family. There were 6 items on the kids' menu, all $6 (which is a bit steep; I expect $4-5 for kids menu, and THAT usually includes a drink!). We ordered the mac n cheese, and got the glow-in-the dark, bright orange, right-from-a-box mac n cheese. Served with fries. I don't feed my child that stuff at home, much less expect to be served that in a somewhat upscale establishment. Should have sent it back, but didn't.

I ordered the Frogmore stew; nicely peppery, fairly good... menu said 'served with grilled sourdough bread', I got 2 small pieces, each about the size of a post-it note (3" square). Granted, I could have asked for more, and didn't; but I expected a basket of bread to be served with it.

Hubby got the jambalaya and liked it alright. We got the shrimp hush puppies, which I quite liked and would highly recommend. The standard hush puppies they brought when we sat down had no flavor, and I wondered how long it had been since they changed the oil in the fryer... would much rather have had some bread.

All in all, it's a bit high of a price point for a fair-to-middling experience. Only real saving grace was the Twongo deal we had, basically $15 off. But it was still a $50+ meal by the time we had 2 entrees, appetizer, kids meal + milk, and a beer.

Pros: Interesting menu; Twongo

Cons: Kids menu

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My wife and I enjoyed dinner here. It wasn't bad food. But nothing to write home about either. The hushpuppies were really tasty. Her salad was pretty basic and small. My cup of clam chowder was not creamy and very plain tasting. The fish was uninspired. Then the bill came for 2 people no appetizers: $75 pre tip. Yikes. I don't mind going to a nice restaurant once in a while, but there was was nothing in terms of service or ambiance, and certainly not the food that justifies these prices. There's better seafood to be found in the Triangle for much less money.

1
★★☆☆☆

My wife and I enjoyed dinner here. It wasn't bad food. But nothing to write home about either. The hushpuppies were really tasty. Her salad was pretty basic and small. My cup of clam chowder was not creamy and very plain tasting. The fish was uninspired. Then the bill came for 2 people no appetizers: $75 pre tip. Yikes. I don't mind going to a nice restaurant once in a while, but there was was nothing in terms of service or ambiance, and certainly not the food that justifies these prices. There's better seafood to be found in the Triangle for much less money.

Pros: Downtown Apex location. Seafood.

Cons: Lack of parking. High prices, Mediocre food.

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Let me start out by listing what we purchased for dinner:

Appetizer - one pound of shrimp ($15)
Drinks - two dirty martinis ($7.5 each)
Beef Medallions ($22) with asparagus and mashed potatoes
Fried Seafood (Scallops and Oysters) ($17) with fries, coleslaw, shrimp and sausage jambalaya
Creme brulee

The total before tip was $84.

Let me start with the good parts:

1) the batter for the fried scallops is very light and excellent
2) the batter for the fried oysters is different and not bad, it is a heavy batter and they manage to have a dressing type sauce inside the friend oyster
3) the first martini was very smooth (read on though)
4) the mashed potatoes were very good
5) they actually used real scallops
6) french fries were good and cooked an appropriate amount
7) asparagus was not over cooked like most places do
8) having the bar separate from the main dining area works out well from a noise standpoint

Now for the bad:

1) the first martini was very good and very smooth (i.e. a quality vodka), the second martini seemed to be made with a non-so-smooth and pretty rough vodka. We sent it back and the replacement martini was better but still seemed to be made with the non-so-smooth (i.e. cheap) vodka. We were wondering if they intentionally went to cheap alcohol as the night went on hoping no one would notice.
2) the service was pleasant, but not around much
3) they messed up my order (which is why I ended up with 4 side dishes, they brought me the ones I originally asked for)
4) the beef medallions were not impressive, we were wondering if they were made from london broil. My wife was expecting a more tender meat than that, especially for $22. The taste of the beef medallions with a very limited amount of sause (which was a surprise) was not impressive either
5) the fried oysters had an oyster taste, but I had difficultly finding much oyster inside the individual pieces, too bad when they have such a wonderful batter
6) the scallops were sliced thin (i.e. they probably had three or four pieces from the original scallop). I will admit that this is a good way to do scallops and they should continue this. However, I only had five pieces of scallop (which meant they only used approx. one and a half scallops for a $17 plate). That struck me as being cheap. If you are going to slice the scallops thin (which IMHO is a great idea) add a few more pieces so the diner doesn't feel slighted.
7) the jambalaya was weak, i.e. it was mostly rice and spices. The pieces of sausage were tiny and I never did see a shrimp. I've had much better jambalaya from a box from the grocery store. There again cheaping out on materials.
8) Caramel creme brulee was tasty and in a wide bowl but wasn't very deep, giving the impression of cheaping out on the amount of material.

The issues that I saw with The Ocean Grill are remotely similar to the things that I didn't like about the Peak City Grill (which we have been to several times). Both left me with a feeling of pretention over substance.

Keep in mind that parking in downtown Apex is limited so give yourselves a few minutes to find a spot and walk. Most of the time the longest walk to a spot is under five minutes so it wouldn't be an issue unless you had a mobility impairment.

On the flip side, I'm glad to see another seafood restaurant in Apex.

1
★★☆☆☆

Let me start out by listing what we purchased for dinner:

Appetizer - one pound of shrimp ($15)
Drinks - two dirty martinis ($7.5 each)
Beef Medallions ($22) with asparagus and mashed potatoes
Fried Seafood (Scallops and Oysters) ($17) with fries, coleslaw, shrimp and sausage jambalaya
Creme brulee

The total before tip was $84.

Let me start with the good parts:

1) the batter for the fried scallops is very light and excellent
2) the batter for the fried oysters is different and not bad, it is a heavy batter and they manage to have a dressing type sauce inside the friend oyster
3) the first martini was very smooth (read on though)
4) the mashed potatoes were very good
5) they actually used real scallops
6) french fries were good and cooked an appropriate amount
7) asparagus was not over cooked like most places do
8) having the bar separate from the main dining area works out well from a noise standpoint

Now for the bad:

1) the first martini was very good and very smooth (i.e. a quality vodka), the second martini seemed to be made with a non-so-smooth and pretty rough vodka. We sent it back and the replacement martini was better but still seemed to be made with the non-so-smooth (i.e. cheap) vodka. We were wondering if they intentionally went to cheap alcohol as the night went on hoping no one would notice.
2) the service was pleasant, but not around much
3) they messed up my order (which is why I ended up with 4 side dishes, they brought me the ones I originally asked for)
4) the beef medallions were not impressive, we were wondering if they were made from london broil. My wife was expecting a more tender meat than that, especially for $22. The taste of the beef medallions with a very limited amount of sause (which was a surprise) was not impressive either
5) the fried oysters had an oyster taste, but I had difficultly finding much oyster inside the individual pieces, too bad when they have such a wonderful batter
6) the scallops were sliced thin (i.e. they probably had three or four pieces from the original scallop). I will admit that this is a good way to do scallops and they should continue this. However, I only had five pieces of scallop (which meant they only used approx. one and a half scallops for a $17 plate). That struck me as being cheap. If you are going to slice the scallops thin (which IMHO is a great idea) add a few more pieces so the diner doesn't feel slighted.
7) the jambalaya was weak, i.e. it was mostly rice and spices. The pieces of sausage were tiny and I never did see a shrimp. I've had much better jambalaya from a box from the grocery store. There again cheaping out on materials.
8) Caramel creme brulee was tasty and in a wide bowl but wasn't very deep, giving the impression of cheaping out on the amount of material.

The issues that I saw with The Ocean Grill are remotely similar to the things that I didn't like about the Peak City Grill (which we have been to several times). Both left me with a feeling of pretention over substance.

Keep in mind that parking in downtown Apex is limited so give yourselves a few minutes to find a spot and walk. Most of the time the longest walk to a spot is under five minutes so it wouldn't be an issue unless you had a mobility impairment.

On the flip side, I'm glad to see another seafood restaurant in Apex.

Pros: Great Batter on the Scallops and Oyseters (see below)

Cons: Just see below.

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Not worth the price, food took forever, and it was outrageously expensive.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Not worth the price, food took forever, and it was outrageously expensive.

Pros: Service, look and feel of the restaurant.

Cons: Too Expensive, food was not worth the price

 

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