In case the restaurant name left any doubt, the Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant dining room makes it clear what is on the menu. Instead of windows to the outside, diners are completely surrounded by fish tanks containing live crab, lobster, eel and fish. It felt like a reverse gladiatorial arena, with the bloodthirsty spectators on the inside, and the condemned on the outer ring.
The chosen lobster or crab or fish is marched out to the table that it will be served to, as proof of freshness. This is also a predictable photo opportunity, as people can’t resist sticking their head beside the huge seafood to give it scale.
We ordered a set dinner that included lobster, crab, eel, abalone, white fish, and snow pea shoots. The huge live lobster was the one chosen to be paraded at our table, before making a reappearance on a plate.
As to be expected, the seafood tasted fresh, but came in showy mounds that distracted from the taste. The massive lobster was meaty and well cooked, but completely covered in garlic pellets that had to be waded through. The crab was not as delicious as the lobster, but had a spicy batter that we preferred to the garlic pellets. I think I have eaten eel before, but do not recall if it was as firm and chewy as this experience of the fish. Nonetheless, the eel was smooth and flavourful. The white fish was small and filled with tiny bones, so it was a lot of work to eat though it was also well cooked; the wine glass of soy sauce improved it considerably. The abalone coated in a deep fried batter was the easiest dish to eat, having neither bones nor shells to work through, and was therefore, the easiest to enjoy.
Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant felt like it had more in common with a theme park than a fancy restaurant, in spite of the crystal chandeliers. The clownish treatment of the seafood was enough to turn me into a vegetarian, so I can honestly say that it was a once in a lifetime experience.
★ ★ ★
Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant, 680 Silver Star Blvd, Toronto
Dined October 2014 – Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다