Category Archives: Seafood

魚樂轩 Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant

Address: 680 Silver Star Blvd, Toronto, ON M1V 4S5

Phone: (416) 321-0250

Website: http://www.flctoronto.com/

Across the street from renowned Pacific Mall and Market Village, behind Splendid Plaza, is Silver Star Blvd where plazas of restaurants lie along the whole street, with numerous cuisine types and popular hangout places.

A special request was made to Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant because it was my friend’s farewell dinner.  We have heard numerous raves about the restaurant, the striking portions of seafood and quality of the meal and how satisfying it was.  Here we are, as a big group of 9, finally trying out the restaurant.

Credit to Yelp

Credit to Yelp

You can easily notice the restaurant with the vibrant huge signs hanging at the front entrance and the rear staff only door.  The lobster logo is cute, reminds me a bit of Prince Edward Island and the lobster mascots in their souvenir shops.

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Credit to Yelp

The sitting area is surrounded by columns of clean fish tanks, holding the selection of lobsters, king crabs, sea bass and other edible marine animals.  I thought the restaurant looked cheap, trying to raise the class by showing off the expensive seafood.  Area is really tight, and overwhelming sometimes, felt a little claustrophobic.  The chair covers bothered me because are they ever washed?!  Some moments, I found oil stains on the chairs.  The OCD kicked in and started questioning the cleanliness of the restaurant.

Shark Fin and Seafood Dinner for 10 ($599) was a 9 course meal that we ordered.  The waitress showed us the fresh lobster, crabs and fish for our approval before cooking.  This act sort of sets up the hype for the rest of the meal and also for assurance.  The ultimate question now is could the price justify the meal?

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魚翅 Shark Fin Soup was thick and salty. Initially, it was not that salty but it really builds up on your palette. However, we were provided with many thick strands of real shark fin.  The texture reminds me of soup that has been left in the pot for extended period of time and overtime, thickened up.  I find it mediocre.  As an appetizer and first course, it was quite filling.

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港式避風塘炒蟹 Fried Crab in Hong Kong Style was beautifully presented.  I think the chef was trying to create a wow factor. It was topped with shredded lettuce and green onions.

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風沙頂龍 6lbs Deep Fried Lobster with Dry Garlic was presented nicely, another wow factor from the meal. It ginormous looking, getting the money’s worth of seafood and is pretty much the main course of the set dinner.

A same opinion was given to both the lobster and crabs. I thought it was a waste of the live seafood.  Because it was caught live from the tanks, a lot of fresh natural flavours and springy meat texture were already present in the crustaceans.  By boiling lobster and crab in water, chopping it into bite size pieces then deep frying it, the natural flavours were leaked into the water during the cooking process.  The texture of the meat was no longer hard moist, it was in fact a bit mushy.  I thought, might as well give me frozen seafood because, it really would not have mattered anymore.  The taste and texture between fresh and frozen was the same.

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金沙蠔 Deep Fried Oyster with Salt Egg and Vegetable tasted weird in my opinion, and was presented with shredded lettuce and green onions.  I did not fathom that rough fried texture.  It was thick and heavy, tasted ultra-salty.  It honestly felt worse than breaded-american style of cooking.  I must reiterate how the way of cooking wasted these fresh oysters.  Not only did the first bite feel oily, but the texture of the oyster was no longer springy.  It was no better than a tub of de-shelled oysters from the supermarket.

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清蒸石斑 3lbs Steamed Bass was probably the best dish from the evening. Thank heavens, the fish was not overcooked. The meat was hard and flakey, definitely fresh.  The soy sauce was sweet, that i can have bowls of rice to accompany it.  In fact, this is the healthiest of all seafood dishes in the set dinner.

Our set dinner was suppose to come with eel in black bean sauce. However, the restaurant had a lack of eel supply.  Our waitress gave us 2 substitution options, either the beef or half a chicken.  Seeing how the eel was more expensive than the 2 options given, there was no price adjustment for their lack of supply.  I felt a little ripped-off. But really, half a chicken?  Should give us a full.  But yes, we went for the beef.

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黑椒牛肉 Black peppered beef with vegetables was mediocre. This is always a safe dish to go to at all restaurants if you do not know what to order, or if all else fails.  I must sadly criticize how the bite sized beef was practically swimming in thick black pepper sauce.  In my opinion, quite salty.  Vegetables were good, steamed, extremely safe.

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清炒菜心 Stir fry vegetables

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红机子浸豆苗 Poached snow pea tips with berry

The vegetables were overcooked.  It lacked the crunchy texture and it was “aged”, where it had the rough and stringy texture.  I have a gut feeling the vegetables were poached or boiled before stir frying it.  However, after a heavy cholesterol hearty meal, vegetables were highly required to balance the internal body systems. We did not care how it tasted or looked.

Overall, I am surprised for a set dinner, it did not have rice or noodles with it.  When you eat at any high end Chinese cuisine, both noodles and rice are served towards the end.  My recommendation would be crab meat fried rice or lobster e-fu noodles.  I thought the dish presentation was quite cheap, everything sitting on a bed of lettuce where in other high end cuisines, they will do something intricate.  The cooking style requires no skill from the chef because everything was fried.  In my opinion, frying fresh seafood is a waste because the main purpose to fry it is to hide the “dead” texture of the seafood.  When it is fresh, the best way to cook is to steam, boil or stir it in a well heated wok.

Personally, I will not go back to the restaurant again because the price does not justify the meal.  For a first timer, go for the experience.

Ratings

Food 2.75/5

Ambiance 3/5

Service 3/5

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Tutti Panini

Address: 141 King Rd #8, Richmond Hill, ON L4E 3L7

Phone: (907) 773-1020

Website: http://www.tuttipanini.ca/en/

4-tuttipanini-905.773.1020-exterior-700x500Tutti Panini is a local Italian restaurant found in the heart of Oak Ridges, currently a subdivision of Richmond hill.  The fast-food like restaurant is tucked in a small strip plaza on a side road of future residential development, but currently farm fields.  There are daycare, dental offices, tutoring centers and a karate center in the plaza.  I visualize a lot of families order take out here while they wait for their children, eat before class hours or to take home after classes.

We had dinner on a weekday.  By the time we arrived, 7:30pm, the storefront was clean and well kept, counters were clear of food but everything on the menu were hot items, had to be prepared or reheated in the kitchen.

tutti-paniniThe interior decor was cute. They try to mimic Italy’s southern shore lines, sitting on a patio, facing open streets or the ocean, feeling the warm breeze circulating the atmosphere.  Therefore, stone was glued on the walls and floor.  The walls were also decorated with fake see out window panes.  Vines and Italian wine bottle lamps were hanging from the ceiling.

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Fried Calamari ($7.95) was lightly battered and not oily, neither salty.  Calamari had a crunchy skin and chewy texture.  It was not overdone, where calamari can be hard like rubber.  But without the cocktail sauce, the calamari will be quite tasteless.

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Mussels Marinara ($7.95) was prepared fresh.  Great portion for the amount we paid; we had at least 3 pounds of mussels.  Each shell had the mussel meat intact, very satisfying.  It was very worth it.  I have a certain love for tomato sauce.  Their marinara sauce was liquefied, I tend to like sauces thicker.  But, the peppers and chili made the sauce really enjoyable, which provided a kick to the sweet and sour tomato sauce.  Very dynamic!  Too bad they ran out of dinner rolls, otherwise, we would have scooped up every drop of the sauce.

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Signature Sandwich, Tutti Panini (8.95) has veal, eggplant, mushroom, onion, peppers, and cheese toppings.  We requested for the spiciest sauce possible to go with the sandwich.  BIG and THICK sandwich, a good size for sharing.  It was a messy job to eat the sandwich though, my mouth was too small and not wide enough to accommodate and the toppings kept falling out.  It was a mouth watering hot crunchy sandwich which tastes very Italian and pleasant with the spicy sauce, adding depth to the overall flavours.

The whole evening, we were praising how good the food was and the amazing portion sizes.  The owner, also the chef, was friendly.  He was always smiling at us and asking how the food was, very polite and admirable.  I definitely recommend the fast food like restaurant to anyone for a quite bite.  Bon appetite!

Ratings

Food 3.5/5

Ambiance 3/5

Service 3/5

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The Fish Market (Ottawa)

Address: 54 York St. Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 5T1 (Byward Market)

Phone: (613) 241-3474

Website: http://www.fishmarket.ca/

Byward Market is quite a neat place with flee markets, boutiques and restaurants everywhere.  It reminds me a bit of Quincy Market in Boston.  They both have a similar idea and airy atmosphere; both chilly and cold in the winter.

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The Fish Market is on the main floor of the building.  The second floor is a sister restaurant that serves all you can eat seafood meals and the basement is a brother restaurant that serves more seafood.  On the day we went (Sunday), only the Fish Market was opened during noon hours.

The moment you step inside, the decor will feel like you have traveled back in time or you went to your cottage.  It was all made with wood at every corner – wooden beams, doors, benches, tables, stairs and floors – with sailor or ocean related ornaments – nets, variety of fish species, crustacean species, and fishermen boats, buoys –  hung on the beams. It carried out the seafood and maritime theme quite appropriately.   It was warm, friendly and comfortable in appearance, but quite dated too.
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Complimentary bread and dip from the restaurant.  The bread was steaming hot, crunchy crust and soft interior.  But what impressed me the most was the oil / sauce.  The oil was infused with garlic, tarragon, marjoram, chili pepper, peppercorn, dried basil and salt.  It was sweet, salty and spicy, great combination.  We asked for bread refills nonstop.

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Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll ($11.99) was filled with stone crab meat, cucumber, mango and red onion, wrapped in smoked salmon.  Mediocre and salty.  Texture was soft and weird.

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Spicy Crab Cakes ($13.99) was fried fresh crab meat blended with herbs,  served with lemon & garlic aioli.

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Creamy Clam Chowder ( cup 5.99 or bowl 9.99) was a restaurant exclusive recipe loaded with clams, potato and vegetables.  The size ordered was a bowl. There was lack of clam flavour and the texture was very starchy, too much potatoes.  No doubt it was filling but it was quite a disappointment for me.

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Steamed Canadian Mussels ($12.99) was done In your choice of 3 sauces: vegetable, white wine & garlic  OR a spicy Cajun style creole tomato sauce OR creamy mushroom & leak sauce.  This particular one was the white wine & garlic sauce.  The dish was well worth the price, as the portion size was huge and every shell had a meat attached to it.  Mussels were fresh and chewy, burst of flavours in your mouth as you bite into it.  Voted the best out of the selection ordered.

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Fried Calamari ($11.99) was seasoned and deep fried with a sour cream dill sauce.  Big portion of lightly battered calamari, fried to nice crispy texture on the outside and chewy rubbery calamari on the inside.  The dish was standard, felt like any other pub style calamari rings, but less oil.

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Grilled Steak with Mashed Potatoes was standard, once again.  It is a stapled item for all restaurants.  No compliments or dislikes to the steak.IMG_6363

Florida Swordfish Steak ($27.99) was BBQ and finished with a strawberry peppercorn salsa.  This fish was the highlight of the meal because I find swordfish quite fresh and interesting.  It had a rough meat texture (think of sandpaper), but flaky.  It reminds me a bit like shark meat, where the rough texture is from natural selection.  The strawberry salsa adds a hint of sweetness to the fish.  Mixed with a bit of lemon juice, it softens up the meat and adds depth to the overall taste.  It was a choice with variable flavours but not confusing where you would be thinking “huuuuh”.

Overall, Fish Market was not too memorable that I will always visit if I am in Ottawa. In a way, disappointing.

Ratings
Food 2.75/5
Ambiance 3/5
Service 3/5

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John & Sons Oyster House

 John & Sons Oyster House

Address: 1 Balmoral Ave. Toronto, ON

Phone: (416) 515 – 0551

Website: johnandsonsoysterhouse.com

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Credit: Post City

John & Sons Oyster House has two locations, in Downtown Toronto or Midtown Toronto.  The one I visited was in midtown because it was easily accessible on a Friday evening after work.  Just go south on Yonge Street and right pass St. Clair Avenue, there is a Green P Parking garage.  The restaurant is across the street from the garage, on the west side. With the location right on the Yonge Street intersection, public transportation is just right outside the restaurant.

The owners have picked a great location, as it is an upscale neighbourhood.  It is a bonus that the restaurant is the only one that focuses mainly on seafood in the area, despite having the common salads, steaks and burgers on the menu for those who are not fond of seafood.

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Credit: Toronto Life

The spirit of maritime life is brought to Toronto through the decor and design of the restaurant. Wood or boards or vinyl were the main material used to give a homey simple sensation. Meanwhile, a lot of lighthouse figurines and buoys or boat equipment were used as decor, possibly to recognize the life of a fisherman. I liked how the restaurant appeared down to earth.

Appetizers were mainly ordered, for more variety. I thank our server for recommending items on the menu and choosing our selection of oysters as we are clueless to the breeds out there. He was helpful and friendly, following up on our meal etc. Service was speedy, food came 10-15minutes. I just wish the dining table was bigger.

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Ceviche ($16) was made with market fish and seasoned with thai spices.  The fish was poached, preserving the natural moisture and texture of the fish.  TINY PORTIONS!  Felt like there was only 1 tablespoon of fish. Also, there was not much surprise to the appetizer. Flavour was bland and i think the lettuce washed out some of the spices too. The only thing I enjoyed was the thinly sliced lotus root chips.

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Trio of Tuna Tartare ($18) Jalapeño and ginger (bottom), shitake mushroom (middle) and spicy red chili (top), all paired with a miso vinaigrette. I must compliment the chef’s amazing knife skills, for dicing the ingredients to small pieces, looks intricate. The spicy red chili tasted somewhat like salsa, a sweet and tangy flavour. The shitake mushroom was starting to taste a little bit more saltier. While, jalapeno and ginger was spicy, it was our favourite of the three choices because it was a good mixture of the past two. This appetizer had a lot of depth, in terms of flavour and different levels of enjoyment to it. My complaint is there is really too little tuna that I can justify the mixture of sauces with it or how the sauces can compliment the tuna.

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Raw Oysters ($2 – $4 each, depends on harvest location), plate of 12, 6 different types of oysters.  Kumamoto of California, Kusshi of Brittish Columbia, Shigoku of Washington, Fanny Bay of Brittish Columbia, Malpeque of Prince Edward Island, and massechusettes oyster if I remember correctly. Our server picked the selection for us. These oysters were amazingly fresh. I would love to have more! It is amusing how different regions or locations produce different flavours, sizes and appearance of oysters. The ocean water allowed the oysters to have a natural salty taste. Different enviornments allowed some oysters to have more meat and larger size, along with a sweet and creamy taste to it. Was there one that we particularly liked more?! Nope, it was more like an experience, enjoyment and gratefulness to have tried it.

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These are the different sauces you can use on the oysters, ranging from mild sweetness on the left and progresses into spicy, tangy and zesty towards the right. The sauces were not heavy in flavour, hence the natural ocean salty taste of the oysters was maintained. The sauces felt like a compliment to the oysters, making it more interesting and rich.IMG_1906

Yellow Thai Curry Mussels ($16) steamed in a Thai curry and topped with onion frites.  This is by far my favourite dish of the evening.  Not only was there a lot of mussels served, it was extremely fresh. The mussels were juicy and with the Thai curry sauce, it brought out the fresh sweet taste of the mussels. They were simmered to perfect texture.

We do not have to go to the Maritimes or the West coast to have fresh oysters or seafood. It can be experienced in Toronto too! Ofcourse, the selection is not as wide in Central Canada, but it definately was worthit.

Ratings 

Food 4/5

Service 4/5

Ambiance 4/5

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