The short version: the service was the low point, but the great food and atmosphere made up for it.
The longer version: I walked in and waited in the front area, and it took forever for any of the staff to even acknowledge that I was standing there. Several of them walked right by and didn't even look at me. I was getting ready to walk back out and take my business elsewhere when finally someone asked if I'd like a table. Yes. Yes I'd like that very much...someday? Subsequently, the wait staff was not especially friendly, particularly after it was clear that on this particular evening I wouldn't be ordering alcohol (ie spending a lot of money, ergo a larger tip). Not much smiling; pretty brisk demeanor. So at this point I'm not super impressed.
The atmosphere is really fantastic at the Ocean Grill, which is slightly surprising for Ocean Shores, which is a little on the bleak, dated, low-effort, "tourists will still come here even if everything is just average" side in general. The lighting is perfect (see attached photo), the music is soft, mellow and relaxing, the seating is ample and comfortable. And they serve dinner until 10:00pm, which I appreciate given my schedule.
But by far the best aspect of this visit was the food. I ordered the cranberry cashew chicken salad, and I kid you not, it was the best salad I've ever had in my LIFE. No exaggeration. Everything fresh, tasted amazing, perfect blend of flavors, great portion size. If I was here longer I'd go back for it every night. HIGHLY recommended.
In summary - ordinarily if the service is unfriendly or average, it's enough to kill the whole restaurant experience for me. In this case, the other two aspects of a dining experience were fantastic, so it balanced things out. This restaurant would easily have received a five-star "excellent" rating from me if they had just been a little more personable.
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