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Mitchell’s to revamp Easton’s Ocean Club

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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Mitchell’s to revamp Easton’s Ocean Club

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Barnet D . Wolf

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

In the seven years since Cameron Mitchell opened his Ocean Club at Easton, the company has made some minor changes at the upscale, Pacific Rim-influenced seafood restaurant.

Now, Mitchell plans to do more than just tweak the restaurant. He wants to take it in a new direction and develop Ocean Club into a concept that can be replicated elsewhere, just like his fish markets and steakhouses.

In fact, the revamped and renovated restaurant, which will be named Mitchell’s Ocean Club, is going to be a whole lot closer to Ocean’s 11 than the Atlantic or Pacific.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Mitchell, who is president of the 27-unit Cameron Mitchell Restaurants company based in Columbus.

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10 Responses to Mitchell’s to revamp Easton’s Ocean Club

  1. shroud
    shroud May 9, 2006 1:25 pm at 1:25 pm

    Hmm… the new concept is interesting (I don’t understand why “Mitchell’s” has to be appended to the front in order to make it chain-able though). I enjoy the Ocean Club in it’s current incarnation quite a bit – but I’ll be fine with whatever they do to the place as long as the Ginger Crusted Salmon stays on the menu and doesn’t change. It’s one of my favorite dishes anywhere in town…

  2. Anne Evans
    Anne May 9, 2006 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm

    Perhaps you should let them know! Otherwise they might take it off.

    I also liked the focus on seafood.

    And I agree adding Mitchell’s to the front does nothing for the name. Maybe there are already chains where he is looking to expand named Ocean Club? Just a guess.

  3. shroud
    shroud August 5, 2006 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm

    So back in May I took Anne’s recommendation and used the comments form on the Cameron Mitchell web site to pass along my concerns. I actually DID hear back from someone, and she offered to invite me to one of their practice nights before the reopening… of course I accepted and the wife & I took them up on it! I believe last night was their first “large” practice night, with two more coming during this week before the official reopening this Wednesday (8/9).

    Very noticable change right away — they put a small waiting area/lounge over the Easton ground-floor exit right there, with a huge wood-paneled sign for the place. Here’s their new logo (from the CM web site):

    http://www.cameronmitchell.com/_graphics/restaurants/seerestaurant/CMR-MOCLogo.jpg

    Inside, the layout is almost exactly the same as before – host/hostess stand in the same place, bar in the same place (and shape), slightly raised seating area to the left, and main dining area beyond the bar. The DID add a really nice outdoor patio running along the outside of the place (above the entrances to the various Gaps on the outside there) – which is supposedly going to be heated in the winter for use year-round. There’s also a piano just beyond the host stand (with mic), to suit the new “piano club” feel. Though the lay-out and shape are the same, the DECOR is completely different. Gone are the bright blues and ocean-style theming, all replaced with wood paneling (a medium shade, not TOO dark), a rock-wall, a white curtain illuminated with color changing lights around the bar (think “M”). Overall, the look is very “high class steakhouse”, not “fusion seafood”.

    Which makes sense, because (as you might’ve noticed in the logo), steaks are now featured in the menu just as prominently as seafood, possibly even moreso, and the entire menu has been expanded and restructured around that. The PRICES have increased accordingly as well. It’s now in the M – Mitchell’s Steakhouse pricerange, going from “moderate” to “expensive”. Steaks (and the “Chef Creations”) fish items are now served a la carte, and there are separate potato and “accompaniments” sections for side dishes. Thanks to that, where before two could eat a 3 course meal and get out for maybe $60, now you’re looking at upwards of $100 instead.

    For appetizers, we opted for one of the new choices, a Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Fondue. It was served in a white crock with a tealight burning under it to keep it warm, and french bread, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and chunk salami for dipping (using provided fondue forks naturally). From watching the servers coming out of the kitchen, it seemed like this was a pretty popular appetizer last night – pretty unique (even though The Melting Pot is also at Easton, but outside of that setting…) and very tasty.

    They have a pretty good selection of salads – my wife had the “signature”; salad, which is includes apples & walnuts like the signature salads at many other CM restaurants, with a slightly different dressing than elsewhere. I had the french onion soup w/ brandy aged swiss. Both were just “ok” – good, but nothing to write home about. On the soup-side, stick with the she-crab bisque (making it’s return).

    For entrees, they have about 8 or so “chef’s creations”, then a featured fish (7 or 8 different types of fish) and steaks (7 or 8 different cuts, including prime rib. The steaks seem pretty similar in price, cut and preparation as Mitchell’s Steak House. It’s been awhile since i’ve been there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the fish options were similar to the Fish Market – in a lot of ways the new Ocean Club feels like a mix of the two. Gone are almost all of the Asian fusion menu items featured fairly prominently at the old Ocean Club – the sole returning entree is a slightly fdifferent take on the Ginger Crusted Salmon (which happened to be possibly my favorite dish at any restaurant anywhere). The salmon (and crust) is exactly the same (though a larger cut of salmon), and the sauce is exactly the same (thankfully – it’s incredible) – though with the larger cut of salmon there’s not quite enough on the plate now… our server was kind enough to bring me a bit extra when I asked. It’s not served on sticky rice any longer (presumably to get you to pony-up for one of the potatoes or other sides), though it does come with stir-fried snap peas instead of the broccoli. I’d be OK with the peas, but I REALLY miss the rice – the sauce is so good and the rice was able to further highlight it. My wife had the petit filet, which was quite good – as I said, pretty much like Mitchell’s.

    The dessert options are pretty typical for a CM place – creme brulee, a cake or two, etc. They DO have Baked Alaska which is one of those classic desserts that you really don’t see offered much these days, so that’s cool. The wife and I split the “Georgia Peaches & Cream” – like a warm peach crisp served a la mode.

    In all a very good experience, and I’d recommend the place. I do miss the funky ocean-themed decor, but the new look suits the new price point very well. I’m not sure the mall will be able to support ANOTHER restaurant in that price range (on top of Smith & Wollenski’s and Melting Pot is only one notch down), but we’ll see. As for the menu, it’s larger than before, and very high quality, though I really do miss the Asian fusion focus.

    Final Score…. I’d say 4/5.

  4. Walker Evans
    Walker August 6, 2006 9:23 am at 9:23 am

    Nice! Thanks for posting that giant update! That’s awesome that you got to go to a practice night! 8)

  5. Anne Evans
    Anne August 7, 2006 8:58 am at 8:58 am

    Thanks shroud! What a great review!

    I think it is a little disappointing that the restaurant has moved into the much fancier price range, but it sounds like it is worth checking out.

  6. Brewmaster
    Brewmaster August 7, 2006 9:34 am at 9:34 am

    Yeah…sad about the price range. I think Easton is getting much more corporate expense account diners now that the commercial scene has picked up over there.

  7. Walker Evans
    Walker August 8, 2006 10:15 am at 10:15 am

    From the Dispatch:

    • After a test run, Mitchell’s Ocean Club opens Wednesday at Easton Town Center. The revamped space highlights retro elements of a 1950s supper club.

  8. Walker Evans
    Walker August 11, 2006 10:25 am at 10:25 am

    Redesigned Ocean Club opens at Easton

    Business First of Columbus – 12:45 PM EDT Thursday

    The former Ocean Club, now redubbed as Mitchell’s Ocean Club, reopened at Easton Town Center Wednesday, sporting a fresh look, a new entrance and a revamped menu.

    Columbus-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC opened the restaurant after a four-week shutdown for renovations.

    The restaurant will seat 250 in its main dining room, 40 in the bar and 45 in a private dining room. It also has a new patio that wraps around the exterior of the building in the retail complex.

    Other new additions include and indoor/outdoor fireplace and a piano bar in the cocktail lounge. The menu will have a selection of seafood, as well as prime steaks and chops.

    READ MORE

  9. shroud
    shroud August 11, 2006 11:12 am at 11:12 am

    I went to the article to read their full write-up…. but that appears to BE the full write-up.

    Guess they didn’t feel like devoting a whole lot of time to that one… :?

  10. Walker Evans
    Walker August 11, 2006 11:16 am at 11:16 am

    That, or you might only be able to read part of it without subscribing. They switched to that format a few months ago. It sucks. :evil:

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