Bringing sophistication, warm service and mouthwatering dishes to the Scottsdale dining scene, Ocean 44 is where it’s at.
One of several dining areas at Ocean 44. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
Sometimes a restaurant just has “it.” The music, the vibe, the crowd, the food, the drinks—when everything works together so perfectly, so harmoniously, it’s a rare thing of beauty that’s worth celebrating and returning to.
Luckily, Scottsdale has many places that fit that description, but one standout deserving the spotlight is Ocean 44. Part of the Prime Steak Concept empire of restaurants in the Valley and beyond, Ocean 44 is the group’s newest arrival locally, joining Steak 44 and Dominick’s as a must-visit hot spot. Oliver Badgio—Prime Steak Concepts’ chief brand officer—has worked with the group’s owners, the Mastro family, for more than 30 years. “With Ocean 44, we wanted to bring a seafood experience with our great steaks to our home city,” he says. “We did R&D for about two years, and traveled everywhere from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest to New England and Florida. We were sourcing what would truly be the most unique and best-in-class seafood in the world.”
A selection of raw bar delicacies. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
Culinary development chef Rachel Bedatsky in action. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
While world-class, uberfresh seafood is certainly a major draw—don’t skip the raw bar items or the whole filet branzino, one of Badgio’s favorite dishes—other items on the menu, including the steaks and the sides, are worth a visit alone. “It’s all about the side dishes,” Badgio says. “We have a chive cream cheese-stuffed hashbrown that is so fantastic. My favorite appetizer is a lobster escargot. It’s like escargot but instead of snails, it’s a big chunk of lobster with traditional Mornay sauce, then we top it with caviar. It’s so terrific.”
Designwise, the team focused on bringing the outdoors in, but in a way that speaks to fine dining. “Ocean 44 has an atrium in the middle that looks like a beautiful courtyard patio, but it’s closed in with 30-foot ceilings so we can control the environment,” Badgio explains. “You can have a wonderful experience without a stray leaf or a breeze at the wrong time.” He also notes that the restaurant has many different rooms and areas, so the experience differs depending on where you sit.
Wagyu filet topped with black truffle sauteed Maine lobster. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
While the food and design are both wonderful, Badgio credits the restaurant group’s success to its warm, welcoming service. “At the end of the day, we’re selling experience with a side of steak, seafood and wine,” says the Scottsdale resident, who hints that more Prime Steak Concepts restaurants are opening soon, notably in Southern California . “When you can create an environment where you can sit down and say ‘I am in the right place’ and ‘This is exactly where I want to be,’ then that’s what it’s all about.” ocean44.com
A peek into the meticulously appointed open kitchen. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND