The best course at Atlantica on the Ocean is visual: great views of the waves from a sharp dining room where glass doors touch the boardwalk.
Awash in beachy hues, the sleek, glitz-bound spot sports a mirrored wall, designer seating and striking lighting fixtures that appear to undulate above the tables like oversize jellyfish. The adjoining bar also has a dramatically illuminated look. Take it all in. And contrast the site with chef Todd Jacobs' early-on food, which, while occasionally good, is about what you'd expect at a very showy catered affair. Have the fish.
Jacobs, remembered for now-closed, oceanfront Tierra Mar in Westhampton Beach, has a menu that reads well. A fine opener: colossal shrimp - big enough to win a lobster throwdown and the stuff of a Jules Verne cocktail. The iced shellfish also include oysters, clams, mussels, lobster. Lobster bisque, coral-shaded and flavorful, floats nubbins of sweet meat. And consider the refreshing tuna tartare, with lemongrass oil and chives, drizzled with wasabi cream. Charbroiled yellowfin tuna and striped bass politely head the main dishes; a ramekin of crème brûlée, the sweets. At lunch: grilled cheese on challah.
Sweet corn chowder definitely overdoes the sweet part. Potato-leek soup - underseasoned. Goat-cheese borekas, or turnovers, arrive singed at the edges, on a poorly dressed salad. The "crisp tempura-battered" crab cake: entombed. Overcooking undoes panko-crusted monkfish; and turns a charbroiled lamb top sirloin into an exercise regimen for the jaw. The tastiest part of "Atlantica bouillabaisse" is the toasted bread, dipped into garlic-saffron broth. Skip the manicured spin on S'mores.
The bottom line
Such a pretty place.