By Bob Barnes
The aptly named Ocean Prime offers the finest fruits of the sea and prime offerings of beef, but the word prime is equally apropos in regards to its location on prime real estate on one of the hottest corners of the Vegas Strip. Situated on the 4th floor of the new Project 63 retail and hospitality center on the SW corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Ave., breathtaking views of the Strip below can be found from its nearly 2,500 square-foot rooftop terrace.
Cameron Mitchell Restaurant Group’s 18th Location
The high-end eatery is the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ (CMR) 18th Ocean Prime in the US and first in Nevada. The group is going all out, having spent nearly $20 million and will serve as the flagship boasting 14,500 square feet with more than 400 total seats, three bars and three private dining rooms. The restaurant design is inspired by the meeting of land and sea, with soft wave elements, hues of the ocean and lighter tones to the main dining room with earthy colors intermixed with deep, dark blue shades of water.
An interesting feature is the dining room and lounge ceiling with a reed-like thatched roof extending down with a backdrop of twinkling lights evoking the effect of being in wetlands. In addition to its aforementioned stunning view, the outdoor terrace area is thoughtfully designed with large built-in umbrellas complete with heaters, misters and individual sound systems. A nod to Vegas history can be found in the lounge, with framed photos of the Rat Pack and Vegas showgirls.
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants also did not skimp on the selection of its executive chef, as it brought in Eugenio Reyes, whose accolades include the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ Sous Chef of the Year award in 2010 and being named the company’s Executive Chef of the Year in 2014. The Mexico City native has an inspiring story. He worked his way up from a dishwasher station just weeks after moving to Ohio from Mexico City without knowing a word of English, eight months later moving to the salad station, then gained his first leadership experience as a kitchen supervisor and worked his way up to sous chef and climbed the ranks to become executive chef thereafter.
When asked why he has stayed with the CMR organization for so many years he says, “Since the beginning they (CMR) have really shown how they care for me as a person and not just for the job that you do, and that has really motivated me to continue to learn and to get better. And they opened a lot of opportunities like nowhere else I’ve ever experienced. In the course of 27 years, they’ve been at the top for the way they care for all the associates and all the people we come across: the vendors, the community, everything.”
Seafood-Forward Steakhouse Menu
As for the chef-driven menu, it truly does represent the meeting of land and sea and is self-described as a seafood-forward steakhouse. Freshness is key, as seafood is flown in daily. An enticing beginning is the “Smoking” Seafood Tower, which you customize to only include the shellfish you prefer, with selections including Maine lobster, King crab legs, crab meat cocktail, jumbo shrimp and east and west coast oysters which is served in a bowl of dry ice to accomplish the smoking effect.
Several hand-rolled to order sushi rolls are offered, such as the Ocean Roll with tuna, salmon, hamachi, avocado and chili garlic oil. A classy move is the presentation of the lobster bisque with the generous portion of lobster meat being placed in the bowl before being topped with the succulent creamy soup. Highly recommended fish entrees are the extremely tender Chilean Sea Bass served with broccolini, pearl onion and potato puree; and wild caught Atlantic Teriyaki Salmon with shiitake sticky rice and soy butter sauce.
Prime beef is sourced from the Midwest and all steaks are broiled at 1,200 degrees. Cuts include 8 oz and 10 oz filet mignon, 14 oz NY strip and 16 oz ribeye, 32 oz bone-in ribeye and 16 oz dry aged wagyu strip. There are several “accessories” to dress up your steak such as au poivre, black truffle butter, lobster tail and Maytag Blue Cheese crust.
Those preferring neither beef nor seafood have options like the House Salad with field greens, Granny Smith apples, goat cheese, walnuts and sherry mustard vinaigrette; Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Golden Oak Mushrooms; Roasted Chicken with spinach bread salad, roasted tomatoes, olives and balsamic jus; and Truffle Omelet (on the brunch menu) with mushrooms, camembert, asparagus, roasted tomato, arugula and garlic croutons.
Stars of the dessert menu are the humongous Ten Layer Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing and pineapple syrup; and Warm Butter Cake with fresh berries, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce.
There are also several menu items exclusive to this Las Vegas outlet including caviar & vodka service, and in the lounge new creations such as chips & caviar dip, crispy whole Maine lobster and A-5 wagyu stix. The Las Vegas outpost is the first Ocean Prime to offer weekend brunch, with several of the same menu items but also brunch-only dishes including Crabcake Eggs Benedict, Lobster Toast, Smoked Salmon Latke and Brioche French Toast.
Superior Beverage Program
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants also brought in its best-of-the-best to lead its wine program. Brandon Tebbe has the distinction of being a Master Sommelier, only one of eight in Las Vegas. He describes the Wine Spectator-honored wine list as being different from others in that it is more boutique, higher end, but with several more affordable DOC wines.
There are 500 labels mainly from California, France, Italy, Spain and South America with 16 white and 16 red available by the glass such as Golden Eye Pinot Noir, 2020, Anderson Valley. There’s also a Coravin list, utilizing the preservation system that pulls from the bottle without opening it and extends the life of premium selections for up to four weeks. More than a dozen Coravin selections of wine and sake are offered in 3, 6, or 9-ounce pours.
In addition to the wine there are quite extensive lists of sake, whiskey, bourbon, rye, tequila, mezcal and cognac. If cocktails are your preference, there’s creations like the refreshing yet simple Cucumber Gimlet with Bombay Sapphire Gin, muddled fresh cucumber and lime juice; and Berries & Bubbles with Belvedere Organic Lemon & Basil Vodka, marinated blackberries, lemon juice, Domaine Chandon Brut and dry ice smoke.
As for getting to the restaurant, the closest option is the valet parking located on Harmon and S. City Center Road directly between the Cosmopolitan and City Center. If you prefer self-parking, the closest is parking at the Cosmopolitan and walking across the pedestrian bridge or the longer trek being from the Aria self-parking garage and walking through Crystals and exiting at the north end.
Not surprisingly, with such a prime location and view, the restaurant is already fully booked during the Formula 1 Grand Prix coming to Las Vegas this November. Ocean Prime Las Vegas is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.