July 20: Starfish Oyster ★★★
This British pub-like oyster bar brings old-world charm into an oddly serene part of Toronto between the rich financial district and the miserable Regent Park. The transition is noticeable as drunkard McDonald munchers litter in a rather beautiful St James Park, where stands a venerable church of the same name. The atmosphere befits the oyster, the cheap lunchtime grub of the 19th century working class only to gain favour with rich inlanders who found it a slippery and tasty aphrodisiac. Unfortunately, that the seafood “tower” only held one oyster made the whole course a little stingy. And to characterize a martini glass as a “tower” is quite the exaggeration. It might have paid to have served two oysters on a plate (or perhaps four and charged $25 instead). The salmon fails the age-old imperative that requires an acid to cut through the fishy unctuousness that was forwarded by the all'onda (wavy) barley risotto. The chief complaint for the risotto, though, is again the missing flavour. The dark chocolate pâté was delectable with rich hazelnuts and subdued cherries to round out the flavour profile. Starfish merits a closer inspection after summerlicious, with a couple more oysters on the menu.
ShuckerPaddy's L'il Seafood Tower - Oyster, Clam, Shrimp, Mussel - Blackboard availability (it will change based on fresh availability)
Irish organic salmon with a risotto of toasted barley, vine ripened tomatoes, fresh peas, basil, and Grana Padano
Dark chocolate and Frangelico pate with toasted hazelnuts, crème Anglaise, and liquored cherries