We were looking for a place to have a romantic dinner on our drive back to Seattle from Forks Washington. We had heard about a really nice restaurant called Ocean Crest Restaurant in Moclips. Located on the Washington coastline, it is perched high up on a cliff, with a view through a forest to the sea. It sounded perfect for a sunset dinner, and it was about halfway back to Seattle. So, we worked it into our plans. We arranged to meet Chef Jess Owen, the grandson of Barbara Curtright, who was the original owner of Ocean Crest Resort.
Ocean Crest Restaurant in Moclips
Ocean Crest Restaurant in Moclips Washington sits about 125 feet above a gorgeous beach and is situated on the edge of a forest. It is part of the Ocean Crest Resort, and people come from surrounding towns to dine there. The weather turned out to be perfect that day for a great sunset dinner.
Chef Jess Owen greeted us when we arrived. It was a beautiful dining room. I noticed stunning glass art light fixtures along with an installation on the wall. The artwork was by a married couple named Johnny and Darlene Camp of Opal Art Glass.
Appetizers at Ocean Crest Restaurant
We kicked off our meal with a prawn special of the night, Grilled Prawn Cocktail with a citrus cumin sauce. It was served atop a Chinese cabbage slaw with a creamy sesame dressing. It was drizzled with a citrus cumin cocktail sauce and embellished with lemon zest. The sauce woke up my taste buds with the pop of citrus, followed by a mild cumin nutty flavor.
I loved the Pork Belly Flatbread (House smoked pork belly, Tillamook cheddar and wine with poached cranberries baked on a flatbread with daikon sprouts). It was perfectly paired with the Purple Star Syrah (Columbia Valley/2016). This was delicious with notes of dark berries. The poached cranberries were a surprising addition. They offered a sweet yet tangy bite with a crunch and blended nicely with the savory taste of the pork belly. What a beautiful union of sweet and savory!
The Pork Belly Spinach Salad was another hit. It featured house smoked pork belly on a bed of fresh spinach tossed with mushrooms, Danish bleu cheese, strawberries and maple balsamic dressing! So good! I told Chef Jess how much I loved his choice to utilized fruit in his savory dishes.
Ocean Crest Restaurant is known for its Famous Clam Chowder, so I just had to try it. It was full of flavor and incredibly light compared to the New England style chowder I grew up on. This is Olympic Gold Medalist Apolo Ohno’s “Favorite Clam Chowder on the Planet,” as posted on Instagram. The dish has been an Ocean Crest Tradition since 1953.
The Famous Clam Chowder at Ocean Crest Restaurant
Jess let me in on a secret. Instead a typical rue (butter and flour), evaporated milk and potato starch is used. As it says on the menu – Gluten Free, before it was cool. Just in case you did not know, most cooks add flour and butter (a rue) to white clam chowder to create a very thick soup. However, in 1953, when his grandmother first opened the hotel and restaurant, refrigeration was not readily available. Therefore she made her famous clam chowder with evaporated milk. It became quite popular. ETG Tip – If you ask about the clam chowder, your server will actually give you the recipe.
She noticed that customers were coming in on Saturdays, not Fridays which would be better for hotel bookings. So, she enticed them to come a day early for her famous clam chowder. Each Friday night she would cook her chowder over an open flame, attracting more and more customers. The rest is history.
Another special arrived at our table…Prawns Tikka Masala (Nico rice and Asian slaw dressed with Thai teriyaki). I was truly impressed with this. It had a kick of spice, with all the best flavors from the continent of Asia. The large prawns were perfectly cooked and the sauce was brilliant. I loved this eclectic cuisine.
The Rainforest Fettuccine was soon served (elk meatballs, huckleberry marinara, parmesan cheese, chanterelles). As you can imagine, I was pretty full by now. I had never tasted elk before, but my husband had. He warned me it may be a bit gamey. However we were both surprised…it was delicious. The ground meat held the flavors of the ingredients and seasonings nicely. Additionally, the sweet huckleberry marinara brought it to a new direction, and the combo was one of chef’s most experimental dishes of the dinner. The sauce in particular made for a unique mix of flavors.
Finally Chef Jess brought out a Seattle Style Rib Eye Steak char-broiled with expresso, salt and pepper, topped with coffee chipotle portobello cream sauce, paired with white chocolate whipped potato…another very experimental recipe. It was served with Oishi sauce (Bragg liquid, rice vinegar, white and brown sugar, fresh ginger, Chinese 5 spice which they blend themselves with Saigon cinnamon). This was my husband’s favorite. I personally loved the white chocolate potatoes. I would never had imagined this combo. The portobello cream sauce was delectable…a unique deep-flavored mushroom-lovers delight.
The Art of Cooking
As an arts and entertainment writer (The publisher of LAArtParty.com founded over 13 years ago in Venice Beach California), I personally love that Chef Jess is experimental. He is an artist at heart who is willing to take risks with unusual ingredients as well as combinations. One can choose to go on his culinary journey by selecting from his boldest expressions or stick with more familiar options.
When I could barely eat one more bite, Key Lime Pie with homemade caramel sauce arrived at our table. I am not normally a key lime pie fan. However, I did taste it and it was delicious. It was so light and fluffy with just the perfect amount of tang.
Just when I thought the key lime pie was a perfect ending to a great meal, the server placed another unbelievable dessert in front of me. How could I refuse? Two scoops of vanilla ice cream with a bowl of warm melted flourless chocolate cake on the side for topping. Melted cake? I had to at least taste it. Our server poured the melted flourless cake onto the ice cream. This was stupendous. The chocolate clung to the ice cream and hardened up. It did not taste like basic chocolate syrup. It was lighter but quite rich at the same time with smooth texture and multiple layers of flavor.
Overall, it was quite a delicious and eclectic meal. If you are looking for culinary adventure with an amazing view, be sure to book a table. Ocean Crest Restaurant, 4651 WA-109, Moclips, Washington, 98562; https://www.oceancrestrestaurant.com/
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