Do you like dolphins? Wyland’s Ocean Blue is your sprawling theme park of a restaurant, taking up 10,000 square feet of the retail center in far north Fairview. Dolphins, dolphins everywhere: a bronze dolphin in midleap in front of an aggressively babbling fountain, and even dolphin-shaped handles on the restroom sinks. Hailing from Florida, the place is a temple to Wyland, the mononymous conservationist and artist who painted the dolphin mural near the Dallas World Aquarium in downtown. The company is in expansion mode. It has opened a branch of its sibling chain, Guy Harvey’s Island Grill, also at Fairview, and recently opened a second Wyland’s at the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano. Does it seem odd that a restaurant inspired by an ocean conservationist would serve seafood? The company says it chooses fish that’s not overharvested. The night of our visit, there was a different kind of “conservation program” going on. The kitchen had run out of a couple of items, and another night it closed early due to lack of supply. And yet what it did serve was quite good. Crab and shrimp stack was a cylindrical tower layering crab, shrimp, avocado, mango, and a pompadour of microgreens—fresh and bright, but with a soft, luscious texture. Veracruz snapper started out right with a thick, firm filet of snapper, draped with chunky tomato purée, kalamata and green olives, bell peppers, onions, and capers over rice pilaf. Crab-stuffed shrimp felt like comfort food with its mound of buttery mashed potatoes. Lobster bisque, creamy and lush, boasted more chunks of soft lobster than you’d expect. Even the side salad got points for its crisp greens, toasted pine nuts, and random artichoke heart. But the restaurant seems to be hedging its bets. In the back there’s a gargantuan bar with a dance floor, and next door sits a gallery with Wyland’s psychedelic paintings of dolphins leaping in front of rainbow-colored sunsets. Is a plain-old seafood restaurant not enough? Obviously not. As we were going to press, we were informed that most of the dishes listed above are no longer on the menu.
For more information about Wyland’s Ocean Blue, visit our restaurant guide.