416-366-7827 | $19-35 entrees, $2.75-$3.95/oyster a la carte
Been following owner Patrick McMurray (@shuckerpaddy) on twitter for a few weeks and decided to drop in for dinner despite the renegade occupation across the street in St. James Park.
Loved the look of the concise menu coupled with the array of oyster selections across the top. It’s gourmet, eclectic, and filled with food from the sea.
We started with a selection of oysters (how could we not) from New Zealand, UK, and Martha’s Vineyard. I’m an admitted oyster newbie, but I use the following rule: if it tastes like the sea, it’s a good one. The winner was the super fresh and meaty NZ option, followed closely by the sweeter oyster from MV. We both found the UK one a little too salty and didn’t enjoy the after taste as much as the others.
Next up was the smoked haddock fishcakes, a house specialty for good reason. Light, crispy, and satisfying for sure. Well portioned creme fraiche, pumpernickel crumbs, sweet and sour beets and radish sides balanced each bite between sweet/bitter, crunchy/fluffy, and warm/cold.
My friend ordered the Irish mussels dish without the creme and enjoyed it very much. The broth was simple but flavourful, almost reminiscent of an Asian seafood soup (could have been what looked like green onion or chive). She was also able to substitute fries for a side of greens for no charge.
My main was my favourite of the night. Beautifully done speckled trout over potatoes, chorizo, cherry tomatoes, black kale, and a saffron paprika sauce. Reminded me of food in Spain. Seasoning felt right and the sauce brought the dish together without upstaging the fish.
We ended the night on sour cream and ginger ice cream over an almond financier (a little sponge cake) alongside sweet cubed pear. The sour cream came through and helped bring out some of the pear’s tartness. Almond flavour was present and worked well in the dish. I was looking for more pronounced ginger to add some spice to round out the plate, but couldn’t find it. A good dessert all the same.
Service and Ambience
We were remarking that we didn’t feel downtown once inside, almost transported to a seaside town. Felt right at home and welcomed by the pub-like atmosphere. The big oyster bar is also a very cool addition to the room.
Our server was friendly, a bit of a joker (we liked that) and was quick to recommend something whenever we were debating between two or three dishes. We didn’t feel rushed and really enjoyed our time.
Simply put: go to Starfish for great upscale seafood in the heart of downtown. It’s unpretentious, comfortable, and really delicious.
Posted by: Jacob, Visited Oct 19, 2011