L’Oceano – Collingswood, NJ

As the resident grease ball at Just Grubbin I will be reporting on some fine Italian dining and underrated Italian spots around the area. If you consider Olive Garden as good Italian food then don’t be alarmed when I turn around and slap you in the mouth. The only excuse to go to Olive Garden is if you are on a cheap date and want to stuff her with the all you can eat bread sticks and salad. That deal I cannot knock even if I wanted to.

Now on to L’Oceano in Collingswood, NJ. L’Oceano isn’t your “typical” Italian spot. I would classify it more as Seafood with an Italian flare added in. Once I describe my meal I think you will understand where I am coming from there.

We started off with Buffalo Style Fried Scallops which at first glance you wouldn’t think would go together but it was surprisingly good. The gorgonzola and diced celery on top were a great addition and really made the plate pop. We also got Fried Long Hots that were stuffed with sausage and cheese and topped with a red sauce/gravy. Now I have to knock them for the long hots as they weren’t cooked enough to my liking which can make or break a long hot in my opinion. However, they did have the right amount of spice so that helped a little.

The long hots were part of my “Tasting Menu” meal which consisted of 4 courses for $39. For the second course I went with the Lobster Mac & Cheese ($5 extra but you would have to be a lunatic not to get it). It had 2 big claws of lobster meat in it which totally justified spending the extra $5.

At this point me and my future Mrs were stuffed and on the verge of not being able to proceed to the main courses but we pushed on like the professionals we are. She went with the Blackened Tuna that came topped with an Avocado Watermelon and Feta Salad. An unusual topping but again L’Oceano nailed it as it really complimented the tuna well.

As for me I went with the fish of the day which was a Pompano fish that originates from South Florida. If you have never heard of it then join the club because until I fired up Google it wasn’t even on my radar. That being said it was worth the risk as I ordered it with scampi sauce that included capers and sun-dried tomatoes and it was absolutely perfect. It is served as a “whole fish” so if staring into a fish eye while you are eating isn’t your thing then grow a pair and suck it up because it is worth the disturbing image.

To cap off my tasting meal we went with the homemade cannoli (although the tiramisu bread pudding was a close second) and told them to wrap it up because our bellies couldn’t handle anymore food at this point. Saving it to eat later at home that night was definitely the right play.

So this wasn’t my first rodeo at L’Oceano but it had been a while since I was there. I would definitely recommend it as Friday or Saturday night spot (no tasting menu on Saturday night though). It only seats about 40 people so a reservation a couple of days before is a smart move. It is also BYOB which usually means I would bring a couple of craft beers to drink with my dinner but I had just gotten done punishing my liver for three straight days in OCMD so I stuck to the water they provided.  I Can’t handle these benders like I used to.  Washed life at its finest.

So if you are looking for a more upscale seafood spot give L’Oceano a try and let me know how your meal went.

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