Oceanique: A Fun and Surprisingly Nutritious Dining Experience

Once a quarter, one of my closest girlfriends and I get together for a ladies’ night out of sorts that’s usually centered around food and drinks. As a healthy foodie, choosing the right settings for social eating and drinking can sometimes be a challenge, especially now since I’m physically preparing for the 2014 Mrs. Illinois International Beauty Pageant.

Earlier this month, I made reservations for my husband and I to dine at Oceanique, a widely popular French-American seafood restaurant in Evanston located in the Northern Suburbs just outside of Chicago. However, given that my girlfriend resides in Evanston, and we were due for our quarterly evening out, I decided to dine with her instead. What a memorable evening of fine food and delectable wines it was.

Oceanique is indeed one of the most fun and unique seafood restaurants I’ve frequented in the Chicagoland area.

This spot offers an extensive, ever-changing menu that’s perfect for any restaurant connoisseur with an ever-changing palate. Owner and Chef Mark Grosz puts a great deal of creativity into all the rich, flavorful, wonderfully balanced dishes. Plus, all the menu items are served in sensible portion sizes resulting in meals that are naturally lower in calories.

As one who follows a Mediterranean style of eating, I was very impressed by the extensive selection of deliciously wholesome seafood and lean meat preparations on Oceanique’s menu. In addition, the overall nutritional value of the menu is greatly boosted by the wide array of locally available, ultra-fresh organic fruits and vegetables offered as either a main course or a side dish.

To get the full Oceanique experience, my friend and I sampled a large variety of Chef Grosz’s signature dishes as part of his “Autumn Degustation”. In just one sitting, we were able to get a substantial dose of protein, ‘good’ fats, and numerous health-promoting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in an exceptionally enjoyable way.

Wild Main Day Boat Scallops Oceanique Nina CherieThe three dishes I personally found to be most unforgettable include the Wild Maine Lobster salad preparation, the Wild Main Day Boat Scallops, and the incredibly delicious Butternut Squash Ravioli. Collectively these dishes encompass special blends of avocado, walnuts, sea beans, and flavor-enhancing herbs like basil, cilantro, and sage.

What I love most about the Oceanique experience is that in spite of the complex nature of the menu, it’s not at all intimidating.

While I’m somewhat overzealous when it comes to trying out new foods, my friend is definitely much more laissez-faire. The menu offerings at Oceanique perfectly suited both of our taste buds in a remarkably gratifying yet healthy way.

In addition to their deliciously diverse selection of foods, Oceanique offers a wide variety of fine wines and delectable desserts.

Cabernet Sauvignon Oceanique Nina CherieEvery year since 1994, Oceanique has won Wine Spectator Magazine’s coveted “Best of Award of Excellence” and is recognized as having one of the 750 best wine lists in the world. So, of course I got my dose of flavonoid antioxidants by sampling the many fine wines they have to offer.

Since I’m a huge fan of reds (another main staple in the Mediterranean diet) I particularly liked their pairing of Cabernet Sauvignon with their signature Hudson Valley Duck Confit, which is one of their sweeter dishes.

Pastry Oceanique Nina CherieMy friend and I capped off our ladies’ night out by sharing two of Oceanique’s signature pastry dishes paired with a delicious port wine. Since their pastries are offered in small servings and full of naturally intense sweetness, we were able to achieve the maximum sweet experience with just a little. It’s all about moderation not elimination!

The Oceanique experience is one that makes an art out of sensible indulging. Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood or casual socializing over exceptional wines, it all goes down at Oceanique. If you’re in the Chicagoland area this fine restaurant is definitely a must try.

You can learn more about Oceanique and all the menu options by visiting Oceanique.com and be sure to “Like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @Oceanique505.