Monday, August 15, 2016

Ocean Blue, Island-Inspired Restaurant Opens August 15 in Loudoun's Cascades Overlook

Grilled Jerk Chicken Salad (Photo: Ocean Blue)

From our friends at Ocean Blue...

Ocean Blue, with a menu inspired by the islands be it Hawaii or Manhattan, opens Monday August 15 in the Cascades Overlook in Loudoun County. Operating Partner John Kushner, who began his restaurant work as a teenager working for Chef Patrick O’Connell at The Inn at Little Washington and who forged a career working with Bobby Flay in New York and Las Vegas, has returned to his Northern Virginia roots to fulfill a dream of creating an Island-themed restaurant. The 4,866 square-foot restaurant is situated in the Cascades Overlook part of a horseshoe shaped plaza filled with restaurants and retail.

Highlighting the restaurant are two towering 3,000-gallon ocean reef aquariums encircled by a 150-foot water canal with more than fifty skiff boats that carry selections of sushi and sashimi directly into the dining room.

August 15, 2016
21438 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling, Virginia; (571) 375-2312 
Sunday-Thursday, 11 AM - 10 PM; Friday-Saturday 11 AM - 11 PM
Managing Partner: John Kushner, Executive Chef: Thomas Abbott

Puerto Rican Roll (Photo: Ocean Blue)

Ocean Blue is inspired by the warmth, spirit and fare of tropical islands. It has an eclectic ocean-themed interior design with extensive use of natural woods and warm colors. At its entrance are two towering 3,000-gallon ocean reef aquariums encircled by a 150 foot water canal with more than fifty skiff boats designed to bring chef creations table-side.
Seating: 106 in the main dining room with a private room accommodating 14.
Bar seating for 18 and 48 patio seats.
Total Square Footage: 4866

The fresh-daily menu is filled with offerings reminiscent of the Islands - from Jamaican jerk chicken to Bohemian fish tacos and selection of steak, burger, poultry and seafood all served with island-inspired seasonings and presentations. Guests may take a trip to a Ramen bar or enjoy sushi and signature rolls like a Caribbean lobster roll or a Puerto Rican roll.

Small plate shareables start the menu with choices including limed edamame, Mayan ceviche, soy ginger grilled chicken skewers and sea treasure mac and cheese. Hand-helds include a grilled Angus burger, a “crabby” burger, a crunchy oyster roll and an Atlantic salmon burger.

Five meal-sized salads from a Ramen noodle and pork salad to a Hawaiian tuna poke salad are offered. Additionally, guests may select from Ocean Blue’s “Freestyle Main” courses in which a choice of hanger steak, organic chicken breast and a fresh daily fish may be prepared four different ways - Ship Wrecked (simply grilled with lemon on the side; Caribbean Jerk Rubbed; French Riviera (pan seared with capers, almonds and lemon) and Mediterranean (grilled with coconut, garam masala rub with cucumber yogurt.)

A full dessert menu includes Nutella clams, a crispy banana with spicy chocolate and coconut cream, mango sticky rice, chocolate and maple bacon covered in chocolate and local ice creams.

About Managing Partner John Kushner:
Kushner’s culinary career started at age 15 when worked at The Inn at Little Washington under the tutelage of Chef Patrick O’Connell. After college, he ventured to New York where he worked with Chef Bobby Flay in management opening the Mesa Grill Manhattan and in Las Vegas. After working for the Be Our Guest Restaurant Group he returned to his native Northern Virginia where his dream was to open an island-spired restaurant.

Fun Facts About Ocean Blue’s Amazing Aquariums:
The two aquariums are being maintained by marine biologist James Karanikas. Beginning in September, Karanikas will conduct Ocean Blue informational field trips for area elementary schools.

• The aquariums currently have a total of 150 fish and invertebrates with approximately 50 different types in each aquarium.

• A majority of the fish are either captive bred or raised in captivity from a small size.

• There are 3 different species of clownfish in each aquarium. There are 5 different species of starfish. There are several types of marine angelfish in adult and juvenile coloration.

• The aquariums and filter system combined hold approximately 1500 gallons each. Empty of water, the aquariums weigh 2600 lb. and have acrylic sheets that are over 2" thick.

• The water in each aquarium weighs over 11,000 pounds for a total of more than 13,000 pounds for each aquarium

• The coral reef in the aquarium was manufactured by Andy Post of Ocean Aquaria His coral is featured in the National Aquarium's "Black Tip Reef" aquarium exhibit in Baltimore, Maryland.

The filter system has protein skimmers, Ultra Violet Light sterilizers, chillers, wet dry filters, canister filters, and automatic water changing systems. The water is cleaned by a Dialyseas Unit made by Seavisions of South Florida.  It filters the aquarium water with an artificial kidney membrane. The unit cleans the aquarium.