There was no marketing effort or local hype that led us to check out Oceano Kitchen—just good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Upon discovering its whereabouts, we learned that chef Jeremy Bearman, formerly of One Door East in Fort Lauderdale, opened the restaurant last year with his wife, Cindy Bearman. Together, they spend time at their small but workable kitchen in Lantana that’s filled with not much more than a wood-burning oven, where almost everything is cooked with help from sous chef Matthew Candelaria.
Guests can take a seat at the chef’s counter to watch Bearman create colorful dishes, or there’s an open-air deck to dine al fresco. Regulars who pop in are known on a first-name basis and dish sharing among tables is encouraged, creating a relaxed vibe.
The only potential stress diners have is if they forget to bring cash—the only payment accepted. However, there’s a just-in-case ATM located inside. The restaurant also doesn’t accept reservations for small groups.
The daily, changing menu is what earned the neighborhood spot its reputation. Each week, Bearman works with local farmers and suppliers to learn what interesting products are available. And each night, the team sits down to plan out the menu for the next day. “Once in a while we do order products with the sole intent on making a specific dish, but for the most part the process is pretty organic, which we feel leads to greater creativity on a daily basis,” Bearman says.
On a Thursday evening in late July, the menu features pairings of non-traditional ingredients. Think squab and foie gras terrine served alongside red wine cherries, grain mustard and toast; hearty bites of rock shrimp mixed together with red onion, avocado, chile, kaffir lime, mango and cancha (toasted corn) for a delightful ceviche; and the spaghetti alla chitarra with Italian-cured meat guanciale, tomato, chile, pecorino and breadcrumb.
Less adventurous eaters will find the pizzas are a must, like the classic thin-crust pizza made with just the right amount of organic tomato, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and bits of fresh basil from the garden.
What’s more? The desserts are as ever changing as the dishes. You just might find butterscotch cream-filled doughnuts with vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and pretzel; or a modern whipped white chocolate cheesecake with peach sangria sorbet and strawberries.
Good news for returning guests: favorites oftentimes make their ways back onto the menu. For a look at what’s being served daily, check the online menu, or pop in for some noteworthy cuisine.