Written by Jan Norris
Big ideas, small plates: Oceano’s diverse chef ‘Dives’ into a new restaurant
Jeremy Bearman is tough to catch up with, running between his established Oceano Kitchen in Lantana and the restaurant he’s building in West Palm Beach’s Rosemary Square, High Dive.
The French-trained chef who has worked in large, upscale New York, Las Vegas and Florida restaurants has been at Oceano Kitchen for close to three years, and his diners are comfortable with the small, blackboard menu that changes nightly.
But Bearman’s new concept is a 180-degree spin from the little pizza and farm-fresh eatery that is Oceano. At this writing, the 5,000-square-foot High Dive, in part of the old B.B. King’s Blues Club on the second level, is nearly built out, and may be open by the time you’re reading this.
High Dive has more than 150 seats and a menu entirely of small plates, mostly seafood, and all globally inspired.
It’s a place for sharing, where he envisions people coming in for a drink and noshing together off several plates of raw oysters or crudos.
Are you nervous about opening a much bigger restaurant?
“I’d be remiss to say we’re not worried about being in such a big space. I think whenever you do these things, no matter who you are, whether you’re a successful restaurateur that’s opened 50, 60 restaurants, you should always be a little bit nervous about what you’re about to do. Because if you’re not, you’re probably a little bit too confident that things are just going to work.
“There’s always that part of us that says, I hope we made the right decision, but you can’t look back. You have to be optimistic.”
Oceano is so tiny. Any plans to expand it or open another?
“No, there’s not. One of the things I know from doing this from a long time, [when] you take something that’s wonderful and that people really like, and you try to make it bigger, or move to a different location, there’s something that’s usually lost. Unfortunately, restaurants are one of those things that it’s almost an unknown equation of why it works. There are so many different components that go together.
Do you listen to music in the kitchen?
“Oh yeah, all the time. Depending on the day, we listen to everything—it’s all over the place. It depends on the mood we’re in and who’s controlling the Spotify. Everything from reggae to Post Malone, Stevie Ray Vaughn. We’ll listen to classic country, sometimes we’ll listen to more hip-hop, classic rock. At night we do a lot of funk, reggae and beach vibes kind of stuff, Rebelution.”
What’s your food crack?
“That’s a tough one. But you know what? I’m a big sandwich guy. All kinds of sandwiches. I find myself eating a lot of sandwiches in a week. So many awesome different types of sandwiches you can make. Different breads.
“I also have too much of a sweet tooth. But that’s OK: I have a wife who’s a pastry chef.”
High Dive, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 236, West Palm Beach, 561/437-1437; highdivewestpalm.com