The Gist: The former Starfish recently got a major new look and new menu. Owner and World Champion Oyster Shucker Chef Patrick McMurray (“Shucker Paddy”, who also owns Ceili Cottage) has created a new spot that's cozy and oozing with charm. And it just so happens that some of the best seafood in the city can be found here.
Grub: All fish is Ocean Wise, MSC or AAC certified. Enjoy everything from Pearly Chowdah ($7) - borne out of this winter’s Chowder Chowdown, (made with with cream, double-smoked bacon, spuds, clams, mussels and daily catch) to Atlantic Lobster (1.5 lb/$28/lb .) served with warm whole butter, with frites, or house salad. Don’t leave before having the Starfish Sticky Toffee Pudding ($7). They couldn’t have taken it off the menu if they’d wanted to – the customer outrage would be too fierce.
There’s a Late night menu available Thurs-Sat 10pm-1am, as well as take out and delivery.
Libations: There are 12 taps in total, mostly Ontario Craft and Cask. Also available - McMurray’s own Scrimshaw Oyster Stout, a true Oyster Stout from Prince Edward County, Ontario. The coolest thing about it? Its made with 1500 oysters! Tawse wine is also available on tap. In fact, alll the drinks here are served from keg, cask or bottle. Should you wish to have some oysters with your tipple, come for Zinc and Drink (Mon –Fri 3-6pm PEI Oysters 12/$15, $5 House Drinks). And that whiskey wall that is so beloved at Ceili Cottage? McMurray is building one over here as well!
‘Hood: St. Lawrence Market
Deets: Open 7 days a week for dinner and weekdays for lunch, this seafood place (the Burger ($15), Ontario Hanger ($25) and PEI Ribeye ($39) will satisfy meat-lovers and non-seafood fans) has enough seating for 70, but you might just want to hang out in The Pantry (seats about 18), where there are cookbooks and a record player. Kind of like setting the table for dinner, all of your guests end up in the kitchen anyway.
Fixtures & Fittings: With just six weeks of renovations that McMurray did mostly himself, the 1880s heritage building has a brand new look compared to that of the Starfish of 14 years ago.
He bought 14 beautiful church pews on Craigslist from a Buddhist Temple that bought an Anglican Church. He just had to sand them and they were ready to go. Not only as seats, the tabletops were made from 4-6 pew pieces. There’s also a strip of marble on the tabletop, because McMurray’s wife Alison likes marble. McMurray built all of the booths, and each one has two usb plugs and two regular outlets, so you can power up while you sit (the bar also has a usb outlet). He also kindly has extra cables.
There’s one booth he calls “The Snug” because you slip in and sit side by each, not across from one another like a regular booth. But he also thinks it’s one of the better spots as it faces out to the door, so you can people-watch while having dinner. The shucking station, with bivavles peeking out from under the resin cover on the bar, remains the same.
Off the Menu: There is so much to choose from, you’ll never get bored, but also be able to rely on new favourites such as these:
Pickled Spanish Mackerel ($7) is made in-house. The oily meat is beautifully balanced with just the right amount of vinegar. Served with pickled veg and toasted rye, it’s a wonderful start to the meal or as a light snack to have with wine.
An elegant, elevated Goat Cheese Salad ($12) features seared herb & oat-crusted cheese, heirloom beets and pickled red onions. The roasted hazelnut dressing is brilliant.
Whether you’re crazy for calamari or still on the fence, you’re going to fall for the Crispy Calamari ($8). The panko and sesame crust is shockingly light, yet flavourful, and with a captivating sweet chili, ginger and lime dip, it’s utterly enticing.
Chicken Kiev ($24) was created with McMurray’s kids in mind - something fun that’s not fish. A moist chicken breast in ensconced in a thick crust that when you slice through, it releases a sweet garlic and parsley butter “bomb.” Combined with a parsnip & Yukon mash and veggie slaw, it’s kind of the perfect winter comfort food dish.
PD Fish ‘n Chips ($18) are by far, the very best in the city, hands down. Fresh Atlantic haddock gets a lovely, crisp, light Glasgow-style beer batter coating, with a firm white flake, and is served with achingly great fries, and a cabbage and root slaw and house tartar sauce on the side.
How Cool is This?! Everything from hosting your event in the back (“Kitchen Party in The Pantry!”) to the fact that Geddy Lee of Rush eats here (that’s his bobble head over near the front window) and you can purchase McMurray’s Swissmar whole tray system and shucking knife. The interior door? It’s the old door from Rodney's Oyster House (1987-2001). Sigh. The whole place is cool.
In the works: Sunday Brunch, Sunday Suppers, Industry Night, a take-out window with Lobster Rolls, Fish and Chips, Sliders, a patio, and well, with McMurray, there is always a new addition on its way.
At the Stove: Chefs Martin Zechel and Milosz Malycha
FOH: Alex MacDougall
Head Honchos: Chef & Co-owner/Partner Patrick McMurray, Co-owner/Partner Rudy Guo and Chef & Partner Milosz Malycha
Visiting Hours: Mon – Fri: 12pm to 1am
Sat & Sun: 5pm to 1am
Map It: 100 Adelaide St. E. (between Church and Jarvis)
Phone It In: (416) 366-7827
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