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Jun 11, 2008 06:05 AM

Fishmonger in Kensington Goes Upmarket Under New Mgmt.

Check out this article in today's TO Star. It's very welcome news. If this place is good, I'll be there often. Now, I seldom go to fish shops in Kensington.

WORTH A TRIP | living

Kensington shop has fresh new take on fish

Jun 11, 2008 04:30 AM
Corey Mintz, restaurant critic

On the two blocks of Baldwin St. between Augusta and Spadina Aves. there are four fish shops. Run by Portuguese Canadians, they often have identical stock. There are always piles of red snapper, mullet, salmon and skate on ice. There's usually decent tuna, clams and mussels. And there is always, always, always salted cod.

There is never fresh cod and the crabs look shell-shocked. One shop is changing that. New Seaway Fish, under new management, is stepping up to the plate with sushi-grade pieces of fish, catering to a changing demographic in the neighbourhood.

This is great news for any resident of Kensington who ever had to run down to the St. Lawrence Market for a piece of black cod. Gone are the bins outside filled with 30 pounds of B-grade limes. Owner Kim Chou has installed a new, glistening white-tiled counter and labelled and priced all the iced fish. A stand-up fridge showcases the different products they're now carrying, such as gorgeous hunks of ruby tuna and salmon ready to slice and dunk in tamari. My favourite, escolar – a Southeast Asian fish also known as snake mackerel – is sold here as butterfish. This juicy, white Atlantic catch is a perfect snack, sliced thin with a sprinkling of sea salt and lime. There's braised octopus, BBQ unagi and unago, too (fresh and saltwater eel, respectively), at prices far below the clip-joint gouging of St. Lawrence. Chou stocks nori and rice for customers who want to make sushi.

New Seaway Fish, 195 Baldwin St.,


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  1. Fantastic! I can't wait to head down there (perhaps this very weekend) and give the fish a look-over. I always refused to purchase fish at Kensington market, because it looked well past its prime, but also, if I can smell the fish a block away, there is no way I am eating it.

    1. It certainly is a ray of sunshine in that market, i picked up some good sized shrimp for a fair price about a month ago and a big piece of monkfish, the variety of fish they have is inspiring, the guys running it are nice (although not very helpful when I asked for tips on removing the membrane from the monkfish -- language barrier?) and it looks like they kept on one of the old guys from the previous operation, they sell pre-made sushi too if you want a quick snack...I'd go back again...

      1. i dropped in a few weeks back and actually noticed a huge lack in variety... very little product at the time but that could have easily changed.

        very glad to hear about anago (unago sp?) as i gorged on that in jp. also appreciated that they were carrying kumamoto oysters (i'm not an east coaster fan as much) but hard to get a read on the quality of things like oysters without cracking one open.

        3 Replies
        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          I don't usually go to any fish shops in Kensington because of the strong fishy smell, but I did check this store few weeks ago. What got my attention was there was a guy selling sushi at the store front.

          Agree with pinstripeprincess, there wasn't much choices at the time. Seeing the sushi chef preparing sushi at one corner and smelling the fish (not as strong as before) at the same time, it just turns me off. But definitely will check it again and hope they will have more variety.

          1. re: shir

            I gotta agree with you shir, there is a stinky fish smell (generally in the market around there) and it doesn't play well with the thought of eating sushi...

            1. re: Recyclor

              Before he sold Sakawaya and bailed on Canada, Koki Oguchi told me he bought his fish from a Kensington vendor, although I'm not sure which one.

        2. Same old stink, slightly nicer decor. I was excited by the prospect of this new fish monger, alas the quality and variety has not changed.

          If you want sashimi quality fish, your best bet is Bill's Lobster down on Gerrard. Immaculately clean, rare items, almost all items still swimming. From Live French Turbot and Drypack Scallops to Lobsters and Langostines. You can even get Soft Shell Crabs here to make a Spider Roll!

          Bill's Lobster
          599 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA