The Ocean House in Dennis Port has Pan Asian food, spectacular views

On a recent balmy and breezy Monday evening, The Ocean House’s executive chef, Tom Woods, and celebrity chef Ming Tsai worked to prepare appetizers for 80 at side-by-side tables in a tent outside the Dennis Port restaurant.

The event was a private fundraiser that brought in thousands of dollars and raised awareness on Cape Cod for the cancer support group Family Reach.

The impetus for Woods and Tsai working this fundraiser together started a long time ago with a story that also explains why a good slice of the Ocean House menu has a Pan Asian flair.

Twenty years ago, as Woods was finishing a two-year degree at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, a mentor told him to choose a chef he admired, who was also a good business person, and to go work for him or her.

“It took me about four months of trying pretty much every day to get a job with Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger in Wellesley in 2001 or maybe 2002,” Woods said. “I would go to the restaurant almost every day. I eventually got a sit-down with Ming and he looked at my hands that were all burned and cut and he said, ‘Looks like you’ve been working.'”

A lobster and shrimp mousse dumpling with black truffles and lemon vinaigrette looks a bit like a rose. It's one of the Pan Asian dumplings The Ocean House's executive chef Tom Woods normally has on the menu.

Tsai not only hired Woods but also gave him the unlikely and highly rewarding task of crafting an amuse-bouche — a single bite-sized hors d’oeuvre that is not sold but given to the chef’s VIP guests to begin their meals.

“I had to bring this little bite to him every day so he could taste it. It was exciting to be able to spend hours preparing this little bite, often from ingredients we had at the restaurant. He would say this needs more texture, more crunch, more acid, more heat,” Woods says. “At a young age, I was working with Ming on menu items.”

Celebrity chef Ming Tsai offers a new-style tuna sashimi flashed with madras curry oil at a fundraiser at The Ocean House.

At the Family Reach fundraiser, chef Tsai was making “new-style sashimi,” and saying, “I’ve gotten 1,000 people to try raw fish with this.” The dish starts with slices of paper-thin raw tuna onto which Tsai ladled ginger-lime-soy sauce, followed by a small shot of steaming hot madras curry oil, which flash-cooked the center, leaving the edges raw.

“The Chinese have been doing this for centuries,” he says. On the very top, Tsai sprinkled sweet and salty crisped jasmine rice.

Recommended Articles