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The Ocean View restaurant in Oak Bluffs has been a go-to dining and cocktails spot with Islanders for close to 40 years. Under new ownership for the past three years, the tradition is alive and well and better than ever.

They’ve just reopened after taking a month off to do some renovations and revamp the menu. Lisa Christie, the manager on duty last Sunday when I arrived, filled me in on the details. The interior walls were painted, floors varnished, and a thorough cleaning was the main objective. As a diner there, I can attest to the bright, clean, and welcoming atmosphere that added to a pleasurable meal.

The restaurant has a main, comfy dining room side with booths and plenty of seating, as well as a tavern side with a full bar and a more casual menu. As a frequent tavern customer myself, I decided it was time to try the dining room menu, and I was completely satisfied and happy with my decision.

The Pork Shank, one of the new entrée options, and the tried-and-true Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Chef Jhoseph Da Silva, who’s been working with owner Mike Santoro for the past 10 years at his other establishments — the Lookout Tavern, Fishbones on the O.B. pier, and even at Seasons on Circuit Ave. back in the day — has created some stellar standouts. A few new highlights are the Steak Frites (23.99), the Chicken Milanese (24.99), the Pork Shank (24.99) and my dinner choice, the Short Rib Risotto (25.99). New seafood options include an Ahi Tuna entrée (26.99) and the Scallop Risotto (26.99). There are also a number of new pasta selections.

Lisa was quick to mention they made sure to keep customers’ favorites like Thursday’s Prime Rib Night and Tuesday’s Lobster Night in place, and added what they’re calling “Date Night” — 2-for-1 entrées on Sunday nights — a great deal when you’re getting food this good. And they’ve kept their unlimited salad bar that’s included free with every entrée.

Another notable change with the new ownership that’s worth mentioning is that the restaurant is open all day rather than closing from 3 to 5 pm, something the previous owners did. Lisa said it’s been slow going getting restaurantgoers to change their perceptions, but that she hopes word gets out and sticks.

Now on to the delicious part: my dinner! I took advantage of the free unlimited salad bar, and found the ingredients of the freshest quality.

For appetizers I tried the crab cakes with a chipotle aioli, which were spot-on, and the jumbo shrimp cocktail (when they say jumbo they mean it), a seafood classic up to the challenge.

For my entrée I had to try one of the new offerings on the menu that both Lisa and my fun and capable server Katrina suggested: the Short Rib Risotto. That was a great decision. It came boneless and was melt-in-your mouth delightful, with just a hint of thyme. And the risotto was masterful — apparently a specialty of Da Silva’s. I’ve had many risottos in the past that were pasty or sticky — not here. The grains were distinct, with a creamy base, and the chopped asparagus mixed in was cooked perfectly and crunchy. It was so good I’m having the leftovers for lunch today.

It looks like the Ocean View is carrying on the tradition as a wonderful choice for restaurantgoers looking for a great meal in a welcoming environment on the Island. See you there at the next Date Night!

 

The Ocean View is open seven days a week from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm; Friday and Saturday until 10 pm. They also serve brunch on the weekends from 10 am to 2 pm. They do a brisk takeout business, with pizza being the most popular takeout item.

This story by Chris Silva originally appeared on mvtimes.com.