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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 :-)

                        1. I went a couple of weeks ago and both myself and the person I was with had the lobster roll (it was $21). The bisque and the greens that came with the roll were both excellent, however I was a little disappointed by the somewhat bland taste of the roll itself (maybe I just had high expectations since it was $21).

                          That being said, I echo what others have said about the place itself. The atmosphere was great, the servers were nice, and the place was packed. I don't recall noticing that it was too loud, but I can't say for sure about that. I thought the menu looked good and was nicely varied, although for a lunch place I thought it was a tad pricey (first courses about $10-15, second courses closer to $20). I guess that's what you get in the area, though.

                          All in all a good lunch place that I would gladly return to.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Strongbad789

                            Thanks Strongbad789 (awesome name), Phable and AHMC791 for the updated reviews. Planning on heading there next week for lunch. Will post about my own experience soon!

                              1. re: peppermint pate

                                Au contraire peppermint pate -- you rock. Thanks for your review!!! : )

                                And you too, Porto!

                                1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                  Okay, well now I'm blushing...

                                  Looking forward to reading your review - hope you like it!

                          2. Thanks, chowhounds, for your informative, descriptive, and evocative (I was getting hungry as I read) posts on Rodney's by Bay. I've been thinking of trying it and now will definitely make a visit!

                            1. Headed here today for lunch -- am thinking tuna tartare ... or the grilled calamari. I wonder if they offer the bisque separately from the lobster roll...

                              I will report back soon!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                IMO, just the tuna tartare is not enough for lunch. But it is delicious.

                              2. Thanks to everyone for their input on this place. I managed to go for lunch yesterday with a friend and post meal we were in agreement that Rodney's By Bay is a decent lunch place (highlight: calamari) ... but it did fall a little short of my expectations.

                                The service: Great! Very friendly, and eager for feedback.

                                The space: We both loved the space. The designer has a lovely eye for detail ... from the perfect chair/table height, to the marble bar, to the cute old fashioned glass bottles the waitress used to refill our glasses. Another place for people who get a kick out of details I would recommend is School in Liberty Village which has enough going on decor-wise to keep someone occupied for hours!

                                Finally, the food: Great poppyseed bread and luscious creamy butter to start set the bar high. We split the tuna tartare to start. While the portion was generous, I'd have to respectfully disagree with what seems to be the consensus here regarding taste and quality. My benchmark tartare is the one at Nota Bene. I'm fairly sensitive when it comes to fishiness and the fish just wasn't the freshest. It wasn't fishy or smelly, but it wasn't of the freshness I'd need to enjoy this kind of dish. As for the marinades, we agreed that the one with the porcini mushrooms was the tastiest. For some reason, we could barely detect a hint of the others; I was particularly let down by the jalapeno preparation which had zero kick to it.

                                For mains, I ordered the grilled calamari -- strongest dish of the day, I think. Fresh, perfectly cooked, smoky and satisfying. It was swimming in olive oil, so for those who are turned off by that kind of preparation, be forewarned. My friend had the lobster roll. He liked it -- I thought the roll itself was nice, but the lobster was over-mayod and a little too sweet, for some reason. And the bisque... well, with all that cream, of course it was tasty but I prefer a little more clarity of flavour to my bisque and it was fairly muddled.

                                All in all, I'd give the food a solid 7 out of 10, with the tuna tartare falling somewhere lower. Maybe a 5.5 or 6.

                                Note -- we were surrounded by tables of men who ordered fish and chips (what looked like an awesome, generously portioned dish) so perhaps we ought to have done the same.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                  Two Words- Rasberry Point

                                  Best oysters! Kumamoto's were also fresh and delicious. Hit Rodneys By Bay for lunch today and it was great. Good service, great food and reasonable prices for what you get.

                                  It is rather loud however, so not the place if you're trying to have a business meeting over lunch. But if you're looking for a fun atmosphere with great seafood- RBB is it.

                                2. I wanted to try Rodney's By Bay for dinner because of all the great comments in his threads. I went there last week and I was too timid to walk in because it was filled with people in suits. (I know it is close to Bay St...)

                                  Does any one know when is a good time to go if I want a quite dinner?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: tree25

                                    I find that it's usually quiet around 8pm, if that's not too late for you. Mind you, it's usually not filled with suits on weekends...though no need to be timid - they're quite nice, I promise!

                                    1. re: pinkprimp

                                      Thanks for your reply, pinkprimp. I went later today and it was much quieter. When I go there again next time, I will go later to avoid the after work crowd.

                                      The service was warm and nice. My server is very patient in answering all my questions. The place is small and really casual. I was dining alone and I never felt rushed. I like the way that they served water in glass jar with lemon and for refill, they put in a new lemon. This doesn't occur frequently. To start, I had the fish soup with jumbo prawns. It was flavourful with the taste of fresh fish and a hint of tomato. The prawns were hugh and tasty. I would order this again.

                                      Then, I had the mussels and frites. The mussels were cooked perfectly and were not chewy at all. Again, they tasted fresh. The fries were skinny and seasoned with salt. I actually like this version better than the one in Starfish. Although both of them were really good, I found the sweet potatoes fries at Starfish too salty.

                                      To end, I had a creme burlee. It was not the best one I had, but still really good. It is a simple classic version that with lots of vanilla beans. The creme was very smooth and the sugar top was not too thick so that the sugar would make the whole dessert extremely sweet. I would recommend this place if you want an alternative to Starfish or prefer a more causal seafood restaurant.

                                  2. I went two weeks ago for lunch and the place was still rammed! Reservations are a must and lots of bankers and lawyers were enjoying a pint and some oysters.

                                    I had the Lobster Roll ($21) pictured below. Yes, it was pricey and the dinner roll bun seems small. BUT, it was stuffed to the rim with lobster and it was actually easier to eat what you could with the fork first and then attack the sandwich. Bisque was very flavourful and the spoon was very big for such a petite bowl. I did appreciate the small spinach salad that came with.

                                    Oysters were great, very fresh and ranged from $3-4. We were really happy with our selection which went from small to large, some juicier than others.

                                    A great experience! I would go back.

                                    Lisa - The Hip & Urban Girl's Guide @ http://www.hipurbangirl.com