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STARFISH

Hello,

parnets are visiting in a few weeks from the prairies and whenever they come to T.O., they like to go for oysters. usually, we would go to rodneys, but i have read such good things about starfish, i was just wondering if it's worth a checking out with them. aside from the oysters, how is the rest of the menu? they like to have some seafood usually as well. any feedback would be great

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  1. Starfish is excellent. I find the non-oyster offerings far and above Rodney's. Their mains are excellent. If you've already done Rodney's, you have nothing to lose, and I don't think you will be disappointed.

    1. Beautifully cooked 'fish' dishes. Amongst the tops in TO. Don't forget the dessert also! Both their chocolate and lemon creations are heavenly!! By the way, September is the month for 'flats', so don't forget to order the French Belons and Irish counterparts when ordering your oyster selection. Enjoy!

      1. Personally, I am a huge fan of Starfish - the oysters are divine. The menu is fanatastic and always beautifully prepared and cooked well. I always make room for dessert. They are really cap of the evening...

        If I had to be picky and choose one thing - there is one draw back, i would say the menu is a little limited - there is a small handful of fish dishes & a small handful of "turf" dishes - but I have never had difficulty finding something I enjoy there. I would say if you like Rodney's - you would definitely like the food & quality of Starfish.

        1. Just went to Starfish for the first time, and the food is impressive. Terrific oysters - certainly on par with Oyster Boy. We also split a lobster and then had fish mains. Everything was terrific.

          I did, however, find the service a bit maddening. When I'm out dropping $400 with tip on a meal, I don't expect to have to ask for bread, or point out that our water glasses are empty, or ask for Tabasco (!) when the oysters show up. I've spoken with a few friends who've eaten there, and they had similar experiences with the service at Starfish.

          So...it's a great place, and it's good to see a young guy like Patrick McMullen who has devoted his life to a cuisine, won accolades, and managed to open a very nice place of his own. Very Jamie Kennedy-esque (the hairstyle, too). But I think they need to spend a bit more time hiring good servers and training them well.

          Next time I think I'll just go with my wife and sit at the bar. That looked like fun.

          13 Replies
          1. re: childofthestorm

            just so you know, starfish does source some of their oysters from oysterboy... when they're the biggest distributor in canada you can't really help it.

            and his last name is McMurray, in case you call him by name next time.

            if you're not more than three people i highly suggest the bar as service straight from patrick is impeccable and lots of fun. there's an astounding difference from being seated at the bar to a table.

            if you're going to drop a similar amount, i've always thought the 100 oysters plus a magnum would be loads of fun when booking the back room ;)

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              Popped into Starfish tonight after having put this on my 'to dine' list for a couple of years. Was aptly and graciously served by an older gentleman at the bar. I had the fries ('bout as good as JK's in my opinon), 18 oysters and a sea scallop. Oysters were lovely, particularly the colville bay's. Dessert was ontario peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Top notch all around, I will be back.

              1. re: deabot

                Has original chef Martha Wright left yet? I have been meaning to try this place for so long and now I'm afraid I've missed the boat! Though from what I've heard of how the place is run, surely her replacement will be up to snuff...anyone hear where she's going?

                1. re: Recyclor

                  The chef that took over from Martha is Kyle Deming.

                2. re: deabot

                  we popped into starfish last night as well....sounds like we had the exact same order -fries, oysters and peach cobbler...honestly, the peach cobbler is worth the trip alone....starfish is our 'go to' place -definitely for their oysters & fries (yu-um!) but just about everything on the menu is fresh & excellent...highly recommend.

                  1. re: deabot

                    oh my gosh, sea scallops! you hadn't mentioned it on the blog but i am super excited to hear that. may have to do up a special trip over there to get a couple of those down before they're gone.

                    how'd you find them?

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      Different....not as big as I thought they were but very fresh all the same. I also got to sample a clarenbridge bay oyster from ireland. omg, plump, huge and really briny like a taste of sea! You'll have to try one of those as well.

                3. re: childofthestorm

                  Hey childofthestorm, if you think your service was bad let me tell you what mine was like - They are suppose to have a special of 100 oysters for $100. My sister had it there once on a Friday and thought it was pretty good so wanted to take me there. When we called for a reservation we were told that 100/$100 was only available on Mon-Wed. We were pretty flexible so reserved for Tuesday.

                  When we got there and asked to order the 100/$100 we were rudely told that it was unavailable. When we asked for clarification since we came here on a Tuesday for that purpose we were rudely informed by the waiter that he has no control over the weather in PEI and whether oysters will be coming in. Baffled we then asked if Starfish at this moment in time did not possess 100 oysters. The explanation rudely given was that the special has to come from a particular supplier, they cannot possibly give a $1.5oyster for $1. In between all these questions we were repeatedly told by the waiter that he cannot control the weather. When we told him that we didn't expect him to control the weather, just to make the offer available when they said it would be available he said the offer has always been Mon to Wed *UPON AVAILABILITY*... All BS I say.

                  The guy was totally unapologetic. At one point in time he said he was going to get Patrick to talk to us, but after 5 minutes only the waiter returned to tell us that he could not control the weather. Lost our patience at this point in time and asked for the bill (unfortunately we had ordered a very much watered down bloody Ceaser which cost $8). Headed over to Rodneys instead and spent $300.

                  From all the other reviews, it appears that the food is fine. I cannot comment on that but I can say that their service is the worst I have every experienced anywhere.

                  1. re: bobbyjoe

                    I have exactly the same experience as yours. Without repeat one more time, I know some (may be all) of their oyster are coming from Diana's.

                    1. re: ostracario

                      It does not sound like a lot of oysters to me. You probably need 5 people or so only to eat 100 oysters and you can always skip apps. Yes, it is quite obvious that Starfish wants to bring in more "patrons" who are looking for a deal with the 100 oyster/$100 deal. Being said that, I always experienced ok to good service at Starfish. Eventhough I do not order the 100/100 deal, I don't see any problem with it IF they can handle it properly.

                      1. re: skylineR33

                        If one read the 'small prints' ( actually quite big on the black board behind the oyster bar ), one should notice the deal is for 'Malpagues' only. Like the waiter said, if due to weather, the oysters didn't arrive from the PEI then there's nothing they can do. I don't think its fair to ask them to substitute an 'on-special' item costing $1 each with others, say French Belons at $4, though they might have hundreds.

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          I agree with Charles. While clearly the waiter handled it badly (why is polite communication in such short supply these days?), the economics of oysters dictate that in Canada only Malpeques would be feasible at $1/pop. If you want Malpeques at $1/pop there have been a few places around town offering this deal during various happy hours. ( e,g. Biff's used to but I'm not sure anymore). Indeed, if the oysters are cheap in Toronto, you are almost assured they are malpeques.

                          Having said that, assuming the story is accurate, the waiter was clearly having a bad day (to be polite).

                          1. re: bluedog

                            Yes, Biff's is still doing $1 oysters before 7 pm. Had them last week and they were super fresh and delicious.

                  2. Wow, $400....I'm planning on taking a friend there for lunch this week. Any feedback with lunch visits? Price, menu? Thanks!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Cinderella

                      Price of a meal at Starfish hinges a lot on the number of bi-valves one orders. During my last visit, I ordered 10 oysters and clams with prices ranging from $2.75 to $4.00 each. My fish entree, which, by the way was perfectly cooked and uber delicious, was around $27.00. Dessert was around $9.00 ( the flourless dark chocolate cake was heavenly ) and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc about $10.00. Yup! $100 per person is about right. I also understand lunch and dinner menu is the same.