Ocean Prime New York opened Monday, bringing prime seafood, steak, and hospitality to Midtown in the storied Ben Benson’s space at 123 West 52nd Street. This is the first New York installment of the popular seafood and steak concept from Columbus, Ohio-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. In an effort to give back to the city, 20 percent of opening-day sales will be donated to the Central Park Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to restoring, managing, and enhancing Central Park in partnership with the public.
“We are both humbled and excited to bring Ocean Prime to New York City,” says Cameron Mitchell, the founder and CEO of Ocean Prime’s parent company, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. “We have opened Ocean Prime successfully in 10 markets across the country, but New York cannot be beaten in terms of diversity and discernment. It’s been a longtime dream to open a restaurant here, and after years of searching, we’ve finally found the perfect location.”
Designed by NYC-based firm ICRAVE, the restaurant is a stately space evocative of old New York. Upon entering, guests are greeted by art that speaks to the spirit of the city. Manhattan with Johnny, an award-winning multi-exposure gloss print taken by 14-year CMR associate Holly Harrah, is a focal point. The dimly lit marble bar provides a hideaway from the city’s hustle and bustle, and a large dining room filled with intimate white-linen-clad tables surrounded by rich, dark wood chairs encourage diners to linger.
The restaurant is led by tenured CMR team members, including Executive Chef Eugenio Reyes, a 14-year associate and general manager Zach Montgomery, a 10-year associate. Despite the industry’s average turnover rate of 66.3 percent in 2014, such long-term associates are not uncommon at CMR, where the company’s culture of putting associates first has translated to an extremely low turnover rates—13 percent for managerial staff and 40 percent for hourly associates.
Prime seafood and steak are the foundation of the restaurant’s chef-led menu, appealing to guests craving light or hearty fare. Signature seafood items include a raw bar, hand-rolled sushi and entrees that range from Yellowfin Tuna to Dutch Harbor King Crab Legs [the first of the season, served fresh off the boat] with drawn butter. Prime cuts of steak include filets, ribeyes, and New York and Kansas City Strip, all seasoned and broiled at 1,200 degrees. Sides include indulgent offerings like Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach, as well as Steamed Broccoli, Roasted Carrots, and Sautéed Button Mushrooms. The dessert menu is composed of decadent options, including Ocean Prime’s timeless Baked Alaska and signature Ten Layer Carrot Cake.
Ocean Prime New York features the collection’s Wine Spectator award-winning wine list. With more than 50 pours by the glass, the list is sure to have the perfect pairing for either seafood or steak. Classic cocktails are given a modern spin, and a carefully curated selection of beer and spirits is also available.