Showing posts with label grouper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grouper. Show all posts

Tachi (Toronto)


Hidden behind a screen to the left of Shari is a stand-up sushi bar that promises freshly made sushi served in less than thirty minutes. The 12-piece omakase menu ($55 per person) changes depending on ingredient availability and like their sister restaurant Shoushin, is served piece-by-piece with condiments pre-added to ensure the sushi is eaten at the ideal temperature and flavour.


Interestingly, the meal started with hotate, a piece that historically is lightly torched and served at the halfway point. At Tachi, the scallop is left unsinged. Light and refreshing, it worked well as the first bite.   


The chef then presented us with grouper (habuku) with seaweed sandwiched between the fish and rice, which added a nice depth of flavour. Maybe it was due to our early reservation, but Tachi’s rice is warmer than most resulting in a creamier texture, which is balanced by vinegar. Their rice was perfectly seasoned.


Popular pieces that grace many omakase menus followed. First, the seabream (madai) a soft and meaty lighter fish. Followed by kanpachi, the fleshy fish is slightly fuller flavoured but still has a fresh clean texture.


During the middle of the meal the three tunas with varying fatty levels arrived: the akami was vibrantly coloured and flavourful; the chutoro builds in richness; and the otoro, which was leaner than some other restaurants, but still deliciously melt-in-your mouth.


After the flavourful otoro, it can sometimes be hard to find pieces that are equally rich. The smoked bonito or katsuo was a lovely choice, bits of green onions adding a refreshing bite.


The chef pounded the octopus (tako) with the back of a knife, so the seafood was well scored, tender, and as soon as it hit the mouth, the octopus’ flavours erupted onto the tongue.


Having had great experiences with horse mackerel or aji at Shoushin, we had to add it to the meal ($7 supplement). Like Shoushin, it was just as delicious… they seriously know how to prepare this gamier fish well.


If a piece of sushi could be refreshing and thirst quenching, the juicy salmon roe (ikura) would be the poster child. For those who are squeamish about fishy tastes, rest assured, the juices are salty and clean.  


The sea water eel (anago) was soft and sweet from the sugary glaze. It was a good alternative to dessert as surprisingly Tachi does not end off with a piece of tamago.


Instead, the last piece was a tasty tuna hand roll (temaki) with green onion mixed into the fish for even more flavour.   


Even though the meal was done in 25 minutes, both chefs took the time to have a conversation with us, keeping the experience warm and friendly (when it could have turned into a robotic task of making and eating sushi). A stand-up sushi meal is definitely something to experience, just bring some cash (for tipping) and make reservations to score one of the limited eight spots. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 111 Richmond Street West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Fishman Wharf Seafood 漁人碼頭 (Markham)


When your restaurant’s named Fishman Wharf Seafood, there shouldn’t be customers wandering in hoping to get an amazing sweet and sour pork or sizzling beef plate. Indeed, the establishment’s focus is seafood, but in particular, Alaska king crab, which was a bit of a letdown as I really had a hankering for a lobster tower, without the added expense of the crab, and there little options for the tower without the aforementioned crab royalty.

Moreover, many set meals also includes shark fin and when asked if they can substitute it with something (perhaps crab meat?) the answer is no, but they can serve it on the side so those who would rather not have it can have their rice plain. Substitutions are definitely not encouraged.

You really need a group of at least six people to fully enjoy the restaurant – if you can round up a table of ten, even better. They’re known for their set meals and do offer a la carte dishes, but a tower can easily cost $100 on its own, so purchasing everything piece meal is definitely an expensive choice. Also, the restaurant assumes everyone at the table is a hungry teenager as our lobster seafood set for six ($258) was more than sufficient for seven of us; if we didn’t stuff our faces, the dinner could have even accommodated an eighth, despite the waitress urging us to add on a chicken.

The soup and dessert are the slow boiled varieties, both not overly exciting – pork with leafy dried vegetables for the soup and a papaya with white fungus for dessert - but at least flavourful and hot enough.


What I was there for was the eight pound lobster tower, for an extra $10 we changed the preparation ‘fried garlic’ to ‘Hong Kong style’ having heard it’s much tastier. The later still had tons of garlic, but also incorporated deep fried small whitebait fish and a bit of spice. Overall, a decent dish: the lobster not overdone, enough flavour without completely overpowering the seafood itself, and piping hot.


With a salted egg yolk batter covering the deep fried Vancouver crab, it’s different. At first almost offending, the oily powdery crust grew on me and the rich yolk contrasted well against the sweet crab – not unlike a less salty sharp cheese with seafood.


Despite being named deep fried eel, the ingredient likely only underwent a quick flash fry and then was stir fried with chilies and green onion. Normally, the eel has a gamier taste, but the stronger sauce helped mask this and was a tasty sauce.


Although the clam cooked in wine was rather plain (generally I prefer them stir fried with black bean sauce), after all the heavier deep fried dishes, it was nice to eat a less oily one. It’s a shame you can’t really sip the cooking broth – unless you like the taste of pungent Chinese cooking wine.


The steamed grouper was done in the “traditional” method with Chinese wolfberries (adds a light sour element) and black fungus. Also executed affably, but could use a little more soy sauce.  
Even Fishman’s vegetables incorporate seafood, the boiled yu choy incorporating slivers of dried cuttlefish (?) on top. It’s fine, but didn’t actually help enhance the dish.


To end, a large platter of shark fin fried rice. It wasn’t what I expected - a pyramid of fried rice in a pool of crab meat laced shark fin soup. Despite being morally against the shark fin, I have to admit the dish was delicious. However, with so many other elements, the shark fin really isn’t required; personally, I believe slivers of the spongy soft and crunchy bamboo innards (or jook sun) would be even better with the rice.  


Some things to keep in mind: they take reservations but only for large groups and payment is debit or cash only… not abnormal for Chinese establishments. After the meal, I certainly felt I had my fill of seafood.  Lobster, crab, eel, clams and fish … satisfied.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 4080 Steeles Avenue East


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Fishmen Wharf Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Stella! (New Orleans)

Location: New Orleans, USA
Address: 1032 Chartres Street
Type of Meal: Dinner



There were high expectations for Stella! (yes their name contains an exclamation; I’m not just excited every time it’s mentioned). Having heard about it from many sources, all point out Chef Boswell’s inventiveness with his dishes. Upon visiting Stella!’s website and reading more about the Chef’s history, expectations rose from his global experience and working with the “who’s who” of the culinary world – including Iron Chefs (Hiroyuki Sakai and Chin Kenichi) and Chef Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea, just to name a few.

With a choice of a seven-course tasting menu ($125) or four-course prix fixe ($85) we decided to go with the smaller of the two, and found it was more than enough food to satisfy us. An amuse arrived first, which tasted like chicken pot pie in a mousse form on top a cracker … not a bad start. 


A selection of breads arrived next and with it the most delicious brioche. Served piping hot, the addition of duck fat into the dough was the highlight. Not an ounce of butter was required as the aroma and flavours from the duck fat already permeated the brioche. When they inquired whether we’d be interested in a second helping of the bread we of course had to oblige!  


It was surprising how much “Cajun” caviar topped the deviled egg. At first I expected it to be spiced on account of the “Cajun” description.  In reality, the caviar is made by the Louisiana Caviar Company which nicknamed their bowfin roe with this unique name. The roe is smaller than and not as strong as typical caviar but still has that briny flavour.  When the egg was eaten as served (with just the caviar) it was a tad plain (if you can call caviar and black truffle flavours plain). But once you mix in the brioche croutons, sour cream cubes, red onion and chives surrounding the plate it added the necessary crunch and flavours. The foam beside the egg really didn't add much and felt a bit unnecessary, if anything I’d would have liked a truffle aoili with it. 


Similarly, the grouper by itself was rather bland, albeit cooked perfectly. Once mixed with the buttery blue crab on the bottom or the sweet bean sauce on the side it wasn't bad. A pile of swiss chard accompanied the grouper and was decent but admittedly my favourite part of the dish was the succulent blue crab under the fish. Although I didn’t try it, my friends who ordered the pork belly raved about their dish so is a potential alternative if you’d rather have something stronger and decadent.


A popular dish that appears to be a staple on their ever changing menu is the tasting of duck five ways. There’s the safe wonderfully roasted breast with crispy skin topped with sweet sauce and the tender and savoury confit leg. But, Stella! also includes an inventive miso soup (smells so much like duck but still tasted like miso with shredded duck in it), a foie gras wonton (a sweet creamy centre against a crispy wonton skin), and a mushu pancake (nothing extraordinary but still good flavours and crunch). Having had so much duck in my life, I thoroughly enjoyed the array of textures and tastes being offered on this dish, the definite highlight of my meal.


To end, the Thai tea tres leches, a strong recommendation from our waitress, was a great dessert. Essentially a sponge cake that has been soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream it’s a moist and tasty dish. The flavour profile of the dessert was complex with hints of coconut, sweet mango and an herby essence from the Thai tea. It also had an intriguing aroma that I couldn’t place at the restaurant but upon learning more about pandan (a Southeast Asian plant) from Wikipedia, I realize it may have been from this plant which gives food a nutty, floral and bread like smell.


A plates of petit fours were brought out at the end – earl grey cream filled fleur-de-lis chocolates, truffles, a dulce de leche cookie (my favourite of the four) and a blackberry jelly. Aside from the cookie, I found the rest were too sweet for my taste. But, perhaps I was being picky as by the end of the meal I was stuffed and didn’t need anything else. However, it was, as always, a thoughtful and appreciated gesture.


The dining room is intimate and elegant with thick crisp linens and plush posh chairs. Stella! is one of the expensive restaurants in the city but the décor and service matches. Our waitress described each dish so well, I could have listened to her forever with the delicious imagery she paints. Although a couple of my dishes could have been better, I was nonetheless happy with the experience and glad we ate here. 



Stella! was certainly different from the other restaurants we ate at and I thoroughly appreciated the global take on local ingredients (French and Asian being the most prominent). If you’re looking for a place to have an unhurried meal where you can enjoy the experience of eating and conversing, Stella! would be the place to visit in New Orleans.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10



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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!