Across from the Museum of Natural History, Ocean is the perfect brunch spot to bring visiting parents (or even grandparents!). But just because it’s safe for grownups doesn’t mean it’s stuffy. It just means that you might encounter fewer screaming children than you will elsewhere on the Upper West Side on a Sunday afternoon. And you can make a reservation ahead of time, skirting the interminable brunch lines.
The only real surprise of Ocean’s brunch is how delicious the food is – although the conventional menu doesn’t offer any exotic twists on standard, seafood-heavy fare, it’s done surprisingly well for a now almost old-school establishment that can rely on plenty of walk-in foot traffic from nearby attractions. Like its sister restaurant the Blue Water Grill, you can mix complete entrees like the Lobster Benedict ($19; spinach, lemon-pepper brioche) with a raw a la carte menu and a healthy selection of sushi and sashimi by the piece.
If you’re not in the mood for eggs, we recommend the Maryland Crab Cake sandwich ($17), served with perfectly cooked sweet potato fries, or the scrumptious Raspberry and Mascarpone Pancakes ($14). Crustacean lovers can order a live Maine lobster for $26 per lb., served with red bliss potatoes and broccolini. The prices might be a little high, but brunch comes with a complimentary cocktail (Bellini, champagne, Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Screwdriver) plus coffee or tea.
The friendly and impeccably-trained staff will make sure you won’t spend the whole day there, unless you want to. But we recommend sitting at one of the cocktail tables in the recessed bar area if you plan to linger over an extra boozy brunch – table service and a full menu are available here.