Beauty Lies in the Taste Buds of the Beholder

there ain't right or wrong answers in your preference for food

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Fishbar in Toronto

@ the door. Perfect for a Summer afternoon. Don’t you think?

Thoughtful feature: Ladies, there is a little hook underneath the table for our purse! :)

Fishbar was named one of the TOP 10 restaurants for 2011 by National Post. Below that lists the day’s oyster selections.

If you have read my Reading Terminal Market post, it’s no secret that I have a love affair with seafood. Whether the feeling is mutual or not is highly questionable, considering I’m the do-er in the situation and the yummy seafood is the do-ee. (STOP reminding me that the fresh oysters are still alive right when I am about to eat them, you bad friend/partner in crime!!! lol) *slurp slurp* <— the sound of two individuals slurping at the same time nevertheless. Perhaps some marine biologist or expert in the seafood industry reader can let us know whether the oysters are really “alive” after they had been harvested and removed from the ocean. In the mean time, I’ll continue with my merciless slurping…

Oysters of the day: the biggest ones are Mystic (my favorite due to its robust briny and mineral taste), the medium sized ones are Village Bay (I believe), and a New Brunswick kind (more on the sweet and light-bodied, clean finish side).

I was very delighted to be served a mignonette sauce for my oysters. The sauce made out of vinegar and shallots is so tangy it is just the perfect note to pair raw oysters with—way better than the overpowering tomato-based seafood sauce in my opinion (I didn’t bother trying the seafood sauce so this last comment was in no way directed to the specific seafood sauce made by this restaurant). For those of you who are interested, here’s a recipe I found for the delightful sauce. Apparently the word mignonette translates into “cute, small, and tasty” in French. Right on. The bottle next to the sauces is the Fishbar’s own pickled vodka. Someone once told me that he had spent a year in Russia and the only thing he learned there was that vodka is good for everyday of the week. I personally can’t handle vodka everyday of the week, especially on a weeknight, but vodka with my raw oysters? Bring it on!

Fishbar is a tapas style restaurant which means all the little dishes are meant for sharing (perfect for someone like me who wants to sample as many different kinds of seafood as possible but have a limited space in the stomach). Another thing I should mention is that the restaurant only serves sustainable, ocean-friendly seafood (see the Ocean Wise logos all over the restaurant’s ever-changing menu). We sure want our children, grand-children, and their grand-children to enjoy such wonderful gems from the ocean right?

Tuna Tartare ~ cilantro emulsion, tamari, sesame cracker  14

I absolutely loved this tuna tartare. The raw tuna is fully immersed in the taste of cilantro. There was also a hint of sweetness even though the ingredients listed only included tamari (a smoother and more complex-flavored soy sauce made with extra soybeans). The sweetness almost made me misread the listed ingredients as tamarind (a pod-like fruit generally used in Indian or other Asian cuisines as spices for its sweet and sour flavor). The fact that we weren’t served with a load of brioche but 2 pieces of sesame cracker kept this opening dish light and savory.

Crab Cakes ~ smoked chili emulsion, toasted pepitas, green mango salsa  12

I love crab cakes. Who doesn’t? (ok, maybe except for non-seafood lover or shellfish allergy sufferers). These crab cakes was fully packed with real crab meat, which I must commend. I have had crab cakes at other places packed with real disappointment—“crab cakes” that are composed of some traces of crab meat and fillers like meshed potato that can hardly be called crab cakes. Not these chubby ones at Fishbar!

The mango salsa was also superb. I loved the refreshing pairing of a summery, tangy fruit with the deep fried crab cakes. The only problem: there weren’t enough mango salsa to go with each bite of the crab cakes. Even a seafood lover like me felt that they could perhaps take the strong fishy taste in the crab cakes down one notch. If I was having an Alaskan King crab leg, bring on all the oceany taste! But if I was having a fried seafood dish, I expect the taste of the crab meat to hit me but not overwhelm me. This is where the mango salsa comes in. Most restaurants provide an in-house prepared mayo to go with the crab cakes to offset the seafood taste/greasiness from deep frying. The mango salsa that the Fishbar crab cakes came with did just that. However I felt like I was carefully watching the amount I put on each bite of my crab cake to make sure that I would have enough for my next few bites and that my friend would also have the same. This Oliver Twist experience took away from my enjoyment of the crab cakes, unfortunately.

Fishbar Taco ~ Halibut & Shrimp ceviche, guacomole, birds eye chili, corn tortilla  12

This ceviche dish was also one of my favorites. Ceviche tends to be super duper salty. I love it but everytime I have it I feel like my taste buds all shrivel up like an old lady and my lips would start feeling as if they were on fire (I am quite sensitive to intense saltiness). However, that wasn’t the case with this ceviche taco. The guacomole hidden in the folding part also kept it very taste bud-friendly. The light, thin, and crispy corn tortilla was also excellent—definitely not your regular Taco Bell’s hard corn tortilla.

Seared mushrooms medley ~ shitake, honey & king oyster  6

Lord knows how much I love mushrooms! This seared mushroom dish at Fishbar was slightly on the salty side but I didn’t mind that at all. I could taste the butter, sea salt, and parsley flakes. The shitake (the skinny white ones) and the king oyster (the flat white ones) are my favorites! Interesting fact: king oyster mushrooms are not called “king” but “prince mushrooms” in Chinese probably due to its dome shaped top and white fat stem which resemble a prince with his crown—not as imperial as the English name but nonetheless regal. :)

Lavender, Honey Crème brûlée  8

I honestly did not taste the lavender, which is probably a good thing because I remember feeling like I was eating a bar of soap or ingesting bath salts the last time I was having a lavender macaron. The crème was very creamy and in a perfect consistency—not too hard but not too runny either. I suspect the honey was infused in the brulee part because there was a thick layer of crunch on top. I love crème brulee so I have tried many of these babies in many restaurants all over North America and I can confidently declare that Fishbar makes a mean crème brulee!

And this is the remains of another fish dish we had…Yes, everything I touch turns into gold…I wish!

The Fishbar is definitely sustainably good. They sustained great service throughout the night too! Here’s a nice view from our great seat by the window.

Fishbar on Urbanspoon

Filed under seafood great food Fishbar oysters crabcakes ceviche creme brulee

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