The least successful starter I sampled was the crab and shrimp stack. Ocean Blue's guiding seafood philosophy is "heap it on": The only shellfish allowed to leave the kitchen alone are the fried oysters, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels, crab legs and lobster tails. Otherwise, Ocean Blue works on the buddy system: A baked stuffed shrimp, which I didn't try, is stuffed with crab and lobster. The Ocean Pasta's ensemble cast includes shrimp, crab and scallops.

The stack, a pressed column of diced mango, avocado, dry crab salad and interlocking curlicues of rigid prawns, is extraordinarily old-fashioned, if that term can be extended to include 1998. Completing the late 20th-century look, the off-puttingly dense stack is served on a balsamic-drizzled square white plate.

While Wyland hasn't yet tapped the mammalian portrait market, Ocean Blue acknowledges its guests might prefer beef, duck and pork to seaborne entrées. There are six "from the land" dishes on the menu, including an osso bucco my server identified as his favorite. But since it felt sacrilegious to eat steak with my fish-tailed fork, I stuck to the swimming proteins.

Ocean Blue’s crab and shrimp stack: Stacking is so ’90s.
Sara Kerens
Ocean Blue’s crab and shrimp stack: Stacking is so ’90s.

Details

Wylandís Ocean Blue Crab and shrimp stack $16 Calamari $10 Crab and lobster cakes $16 Halibut Oscar $32 Nirvana Madagascar scallops $32 Veracruz snapper $28

A grilled snapper was nicely cooked, but a Mediterranean-style salad of olives, peppers and onions strewn atop it clouded its clean flavors. Fortunately, the topping wasn't distasteful. On the other hand, plump scallops were rendered nearly inedible by a sweet vanilla sauce. The scallops were misguidedly caramelized, giving the dish a snickerdoodle cast.

The single seared sea scallop affixed to the halibut Oscar, the restaurant's best-selling dish, was kept safely out of reach of a similarly cloying fruit butter sauce. Impaled on a rosemary sprig, the scallop outshone the crab-stuffed fish.

I wish Ocean Blue would let its fish and seafood sing solo, but that's not going to happen. As his watercolors and brush paintings make clear, Wyland likes when dolphins and whales and clown fish swim together. And this particular vision most assuredly belongs to him.

Wyland’s Ocean Blue 311 Town Place, Fairview, 972-549-4007, wylandsoceanblue.com. Open 11 a.m- 12 midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. $$$
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