By Amy L. Schubert Food Writer Published Mar 06, 2006 at 5:36 AM Photography: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography

Good seafood in Milwaukee is hard to find, perhaps as evidenced by our unfortunate reputation of voting the chain Red Lobster as Milwaukee's favorite seafood restaurant. True crustacean and fish loving diners know a handful of local restaurants with notable seafood entrees amid the rest of their menu, and there is definitely a great sushi joint or two in our midst, but for a true seafood house, Johnny Vassallo and the Mo's empire have the corner on the Milwaukee market.

Moceans, housed in the former Grenadier's space (747 N. Broadway) has maintained much of the look of the former American and German eatery, but is now abuzz with signature Mo's Restaurant's staff in white coats and ties. The atmosphere is classy and sophisticated, yet casual enough to cozy up to the bar for a martini and a few appetizers.

Moceans menu and methodology is similar to the famed McCormick & Schmick's Restaurants in that diners choose from a list of fresh fish and crustaceans of the day ala carte and prepared to order, or they can opt for a specialty plate of items including Alaskan king crab legs with drawn butter ($35 per pound) and hash brown crusted orange roughy with truffled crème fraiche and caviar ($28).

On a recent visit to Moceans, we sampled the Moceans' shellfish platter ($42), a seafood lover's dream. Perched upon a two tier, ice covered platter, we found crab legs, lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, mussels, oysters, and ceviche, green goddess sauce, homemade cocktail sauce with fresh shredded horseradish, and drawn butter. This platter is reason alone to visit Moceans.

Every item was cooked to perfection, the oysters were fresh and delightful, and the sauces were lovely basic complements to the clean flavors of the fish. On two separate visits we were given variations in the ceviche, the first time, a light and crisp adaptation in a traditional lime juice and cilantro marinade, the second time with a nontraditional cream sauce that was not as enjoyable.

Jumbo shrimp cocktail ($14), which came unadorned with a lemon, arrived with more of Mocean's delicious cocktail sauce and five plump, unadulterated shrimp that were to die for. A lobster martini ($22) featuring lobster, crab, and jumbo shrimp was buried beneath a blanket of green goddess sauce, which while delicious, inundated the delicate flavors of the crustaceans.

In fact, my single complaint about Moceans is its tendency to over sauce dishes. The quality of food here is good enough that the extra sauces are not necessary, and the sauces, while delicious, often overpowered the integrity of the fish they were supposed to complement.

Broiled Artic Char ($31), a delicious freshwater fish similar to salmon came with a bit too much tarragon cream sauce, but was more than redeemed by a lovely helping of creamy, rich lobster mashed potatoes. No. 1 Ahi Tuna "Black and Blue" ($34) with caramelized onions and Roquefort butter, came at a flawless rare temperature as ordered, and was delightfully flaky and delicious. An excellent ala carte side of steamed spinach with garlic ($6) was portioned for two. Broiled Halibut ($28) ordered from the fresh fish selections was a delight, and with just a touch of drawn butter, rivaled some of the best fish I've had on both the East and West Coasts.

Mocean's carries a good selection of wines, and desserts include everything from bread pudding ($6) to crème brulee ($12) to warm chocolate chunk cookies ($6). Non-seafood eaters can also opt for items on their candidly named "Not Seafood" portion of the menu. Where for 29 years the Grenadier's guard stood proudly on the corner of Broadway and Mason, Moceans now stands proud as Milwaukee's only true seafood house.

Moceans is open Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Catering and private room rental are available. Reservations recommended. For more information, call (414) 272-7470, or visit moceans.com.

Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.

The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.

Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.