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May 6, 2009 10:10 AM

Rodney's By Bay -- Anyone been?

Has anyone tried out this place on Temperance Street yet? I loved Lemon Meringue so was excited to hear that the chef had a new place in the core...

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  1. They have been open less than a month and the place seems to have generated quite the buzz already. Went a couple of weeks ago on a Friday for lunch. The place is quite small and fills up fast, so I recommend reservations. Like Rodney's oysters abound. Good selection from both coasts and many sauces available from the shallot vinegar to extraordinarly hot. The menu is small but everything seems delicious. My group had mussels, fish and chips, and the burger with gruyere. The mussels were excellent. I had not had bacon it the broth before, but it added a nice salty smokey contrast to the silkiness of the mussels. My dish was the fish and chips. The coating was nice and crispy served in a newsprint cone. The chips were amazing, hot, fresh cut and golden brown. I did not taste the burger, but it looked great. My friend said it was cooked the way she ordered it. The only complaint was that the foccaccia was fresh and delicious but it was hard to keep the patty from sliding around. Only complaint is that there is no coffee.

    3 Replies
    1. re: fat potato

      Thanks for this great review fat_potato! Looks like I'll be adding it to my list of 'must visits'.

      1. re: Yum2MyTum

        Sounds great. Too bad the website seems to be down. Or maybe I just can't access it?

        1. re: jamesm

          I accessed 2 days ago and there was a broader menu than I had anticipated given the use of the Rodney's moniker. It must have gone down yesterday.

    2. Rodney's has a pretty great menu. I also liked the vibe. My favorite dinner place though is mercatto around the corner.

      1. I've only been once, but even still I would strongly endorse Rodney's By Bay. The atmosphere is very casual with blues music playing. Very appropriate to the vibe. The wine list is very well-chosen with many affordable options. Service was extremely professional, friendly, and timely. My only complaint would be the loudness of the room. The typical too many reflective surfaces problem. I find Rodney's to be an excellent alternative to Starfish if you're in that neck of the woods. It doesn't have the depth and breadth of Starfish, but with lower cost and great service, so what? Fun and casual hits the spot most nights.

        As for the food we shared the tuna tartare with wonton crisps. The 3 sauces were delightful and as a regular sushi eater I'd say that tuna was top-notch. For mains my gf had the fish and chips with homemade tartar. She's a huge fan of this simple dish and has declared their's the hands-down best she's had. Phew. When you drag a friend to a new place it's a relief when it goes well. I had the lobster roll with bisque and greens. This was a fun and informal dish which by virtue of it being essentially soup, salad, sandwich I wasn't expecting to be blown away by. I have to say that the greens were simply outstanding. I usually don't mention salads, but wow it tasted of spring freshness.

        I guess I have one other complaint. To the owners: Please serve the bisque either without a spoon at all so one may sip without shame or change the disproportionately large spoon relative to the bowl with something more dainty. Soup is difficult enough without the clown spoon.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Googs

          Does anyone know the price range of the entrees? The website does not list.


          1. re: LovesToEat

            They're all modestly priced for the quality received. The lobster roll with sides was $19.00 and the fish & chips $15.00. The app's come in shareable portions. Tuna Trio is $16.00. By-the-glass wines we had were Pinot Grigio $9.00, Sauvignon Blanc $10.00, and the beautiful Bogle to finish was $12.25.

            1. re: LovesToEat

              It seems like the prices are listed on the website now!

              btw they list the lobster roll with sides as $21.

              1. re: pinkprimp

                Thanks for this update pinkprimp. If these prices are for dinner as well as lunch, it's a great deal for sure!

                I will report as soon as I have a chance to visit.

                1. re: pinkprimp

                  I was looking at my VISA receipt when I wrote that. I guess the price of lobster's creeping up again.

                  1. re: Googs

                    A little bit, but not by much.

                    1. re: Googs

                      I guess listing "market price" on the website may be more helpful, eh? ;-)

                      Regardless, I can't wait to try both the fish and chips AND lobster roll (yes, both at the same time) soon!

                2. re: Googs

                  Wow Googs, thanks for the great review and all the information. I definitely will have to get on top of trying this place out. It sounds great! (And it revives Temperance post the Spice Cafe closing).

                  1. re: Yum2MyTum

                    You're only challenge will be not filling up on the delicious breads before you get your mains.

                    1. re: Googs

                      Was there yesterday evening. The food we had was a Tuna Tartar Trio App. It was really nice, the deepfried wonton that came with it where bland although the Tuna was fresh and Tasty 3 ways. I had the grilled black cod which was mild and tasty, flaky white meat, be carefull of the few spiny bones. My SO had a grilled Calamari which was tender and fresh. My only issue with our experience and this comes down to what you like. The Room is as loud as a live concert. The Room is small and has all wood, glass and marble finishings, Nothing at all to absorb. Highly reflective sound, small room, ear blasting decibles. If you enjoy the noise or can handle it than go to this place. The staff are great and the food really nice. Prices are very moderate (fair).................

                      1. re: Porto

                        The wonton are meant to be a platform with a contrasting texture. They're there to provide the fun in the mouth more than flavour.

                        1. re: Porto

                          Hi Porto - we went as well last night. How cool that they were playing all Springsteen for those of us heading to the concert after? Nice!!

                          The place was hopping when we arrived (sans reservation) - who knew that a newbie signless seafood resto in the middle of the financial district (a converted carpark) would be so hopping? During a recession??

                          Anyway, we loved every single thing about it - casual, cool vibe, amazingly fresh seafood, friendly "didn't miss a beat" servers, etc. Lovely little thoughtful details - fresh flowers in the ladies loo, furniture from reclaimed wood, purse hooks, etc. I would agree with others - the room is really loud so if you're interested in quiet conversation, wait till the after-work bar scene dies down. By 7:30, it was much more subdued.

                          And the food - we had the tuna tartare trio (very fresh fish, loved each of the preparations - one with ginger and maybe sesame oil, one with porcini and one with sambal oelek - and the crispy wonton), oysters (Pine Island, Uncle Willy and another West Coast varietal whose name escapes me), lobster roll and shrimp cocktail. The shrimp were sourced from Louisiana - gorgeous, jumbo shrimp, delicious. For me, the one weak-ish note was the lobster roll - the roll was great and there was lots of lobster but I prefer a more mayonnaisey preparation (a la Pearl Oyster Bar or Mary's Fish Camp in NYC). Still good but a notch below. We also had some fries - really good.

                          One of our dishes was inadvertantly dropped off at the wrong table resulting in no more than a 5 or 10 minute delay in us getting ours - without saying a peep (and we weren't even upset), they comped us the dish. Front of house and kitchen are working in synch, high marks all around.

                          I wish this place all the luck in the world. It's a great addition to the Toronto resto scene - reminiscent of the original Rodney's. LOVED it.

                    2. re: Googs

                      Googs: Totally agreed on the bisque, I laughed out loud when it arrived and kept thinking of your "clown spoon" reference! Loved the tuna tartare, enjoyed the black cod but surprisingly I still prefer the one from Lee the best, even the black cod at Zen last night couldn't displace the Lee one for me. SO loved the bread the lobster roll came in. We had a lot of fun with the oysters but still prefer Starfish over Rodney's.

                      1. re: fickle

                        Oh I agree there are better seafood places, but not in that price range and generally not nearly as fun a place to dine.

                        Ya know, I prefer RBB's tuna tartare version over Nota Bene's. Of course, RBB's is meant to be an app, but is just as large a portion as NB's and $4 less. Price isn't always the thing, but hey, when you like it better and the quantity is comparable, well then...

                    3. Went there yesterday for lunch. Had a great meal. Fresh oysters (Raspberry point, Kumamoto?, and another delicious one...) Wonderful clam chowder (not too many potatoes as filler..., flavourful, creamy base) and the best fish and chips I've had in a while.
                      Wine selections are excellent, lots of variety - and many available by the glass, also quite reasonably priced.
                      The restaurant has a great vibe, the staff were really friendly (and knowledgeable), and the food was fresh and delicious.
                      In response to some of the other posts, we didn't notice that it was too loud (although we were there slightly after the busy lunch hour)
                      We left Rodney's By Bay vowing to return soon.

                      1. I have been visiting Rodney's by Bay since day 2 of opening as it is located on the ground floor of the building I work at.
                        I have tried every oyster so far that has hit the board and they all were great, with my favorite being the Mystic and a close 2nd the raspberry
                        I love this place from the owner John, to each of his upfront staff serving the floor and bar.
                        Fish and chips are the best I have had in years, steak was nicely done, chowder as it should be, lobster role had me beging for more, fantastic new shrimp cocktail and a good selection of beers on draught and by the bottle.
                        If you like great food, friendly atmosphere and good listening music get there before everyone hears about this place as I am sure it will be line ups only :-)