When entrepreneur and Oceans 234 owner Danielle Rosse launched her vision for the beachside restaurant in 2001 just steps from the surf in Deerfield Beach, she helped set the area's bar for upscale dining by the ocean. Since that time, the South Florida mainstay has undergone a $1.8 million facelift, creating a more open layout with panoramic ocean views.
To push the restaurant into the new season, Rosse recently appointed executive chef Brian Cantrell and new beverage director Drew Shane to work together in moving the restaurant into the future.
"Great restaurants evolve," says Rosse, who first began working at the restaurant that would become Oceans 234 when she was 19. "It’s not about chasing trends. My philosophy has always been to keep in touch with the times and your customers and deliver an amazing experience."
To do so, Cantrell (previously of establishments like Prime 112 in Boca Raton and Blue Moon Fish Co. in Fort Lauderdale) has created new lunch and dinner menus that he describes as "both refined and familiar."
Lunch items skew toward seaside comfort food with First Things First (appetizers) such as Baja fish tacos with jicama slaw and rocoto pepper, smoked fish dip with pickled sweet and hot pepper, and crab potato skins with spinach, bacon, Vermont white cheddar, and truffle salt. Meat and sandwich options run the gamut from fish and chips (local grouper beer battered, fried crisp, and served with remoulade and purple slaw); Lobster mac 'n' cheese (with rigatoni and a half-pound of lobster meat in a mascarpone cheese sauce); and Center Cut Filet Mignon (with Yukon mashed potatoes, haricot vert, mushroom ragout, and crisp onion).
Entrée salads, sushi, and raw bar are familiar favorites, while the Simply Grilled selections present fresh-catch fish in a variety of ways.
"When fish is cooked simply and properly, the best approach is to let it shine. Less is more," says Cantrell. "At Oceans 234, I am keeping preparations simple but looking for creative ways to deliver big flavors without heavy or buttery sauces, dressings, and marinades."
The all-new dinner menu offers the most change with Land & Sea options that include pan-seared salmon with wilted kale, white beans, grape tomatoes, and truffle pea puree; diver scallops on butternut squash puree with curried cauliflower and Moroccan tapenade; dijon herb-crusted rack of lamb served with quinoa tabbouleh, Brussels sprouts, and a cabernet reduction; and chicken Milanese with baby arugula, mozzarella, tomatoes, and aged parmesan.
Behind the bar, Shane (formerly of Deck 84 and Apeiro in Delray Beach) is bringing his extensive bar knowledge to the 234 team.
"Location is a major point of consideration when developing a restaurant’s cocktail list," says Shane. "Oceans 234 has one of the most gorgeous views — a fabulous location right off the ocean. We needed drinks that complemented the environment and the restaurant’s open design. We went for bright flavors, great colors, and easy drinkability. Nothing too fruity or too sweet."
Examples include the Deep Eddy tropical twist on the Moscow Mule with bright peach undertones; an Exotico blood orange Margarita; a peach-infused Sapphire Collins; Ketel One Citroen Arnold Palmer; two different kinds of adult lemonades (one with Jack Daniels, one with Tito’s vodka); and housemade white, red, and rose sangrias.
A new brunch menu is currently in the works, as are the restaurant’s annual holiday menus. Part of last winter’s major renovation, Oceans 234 boasts a new airy design. The restaurant seats 52 inside, 116 on the waterfront patio. The bar and lounge area seats 30. The dining room was redesigned to accommodate private events and parties, with capabilities existing for drapery or temporary walls to ensure privacy. Literally steps from the sand, Oceans 234 is a glass-enclosed jewel box in the heart of Broward County.
Oceans 234. 234 N. Oceans Blvd., Deerfield Beach; 954-428-2539; oceans234.com.