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Ossingtons Newest-One Word PERFECT

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jonnyrosen May 23, 2011 08:51 AM

Had the pleasure of attending Oss's newest restaurant and let me tell you it was well worth the wait.

Welcome to Oss Fishbar and please don't change a thing. Dined there Sunday eve.

Had a few questions about the wine list that is incredibly well priced and also just incredible. No white over 60 and a several by the glass around 10.

The ever so helpful sommelier recommended the first glass and brought over a taste for both myself and my girlfriend. It was great. He did the same for two other glasses of wine always telling us a bit about the wine and that if we did not like it he would bring something else. What great service and what great wine. Each glass was great. The Chenin Blanc was my personal favourite while my girl friend most favoured the sauvningon blanc. And we both agreed the Austrian wine was pretty good as well.

Our server (also turned out to be one of the owners) was equally as helpful. It is clear he has not left his east coast hospitality and friendliness out east and has a true pride and passion for both the fish he serves and what he does.

He subtly convinced me to join my girlfriend in trying my first oyster. Glad he did so.

After the oysters we moved to the anchovy crostini and the shrimp cocktail. The flavour of the anchovies and onion exploded on the first bite. The shrimps we large, fresh and succulent and the classic cocktail sauce was just right.

We then moved to the sardine. If you like sardines you will love their's. Perfectly and simply grilled. I still don't know how they do it at 8.

We finished up with the locally grown asparagus and the panko crusted calamari. Again simply put. Perfection.

Sadly at this point we were both full and unable on this visit to try the tuna or qual. But don't worry we will on the next visit.

I can not think of one bad thing to say about this place. Great food. Great Service and well priced.

My only fear is that this place will soon have lines like Libretto. I really really hope they take reservations.

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Fishbar
217 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7, CA

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  1. prima RE: jonnyrosen May 23, 2011 08:56 AM

    Sounds like it was a great experience, with great food, great wine and great service. ;-)

    Fishbar takes reservations for groups with 6+ people. First come/first served for groups of less than 6 people.

    1. e
      Epicure33 RE: jonnyrosen May 23, 2011 02:13 PM

      Thanks for the review, looking forwad to trying it!! Nice thing about Ossington is while waiting for a table I love getting a blood orange margherita at Reposado! the empanadas aren't bad there also!

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      Reposado
      136 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      1. prima RE: Kagemusha May 23, 2011 02:47 PM

        It's hard to find a cocktail sauce that's just right, Kagemusha. There's an art behind the perfect balance of ketchup and horseradish.

        http://fishbar.ca/the-food.html

        Ambitious menu on FB page, which has more choices than the online menu on the website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fishbar...

        To those who have dined at Fishbar since it opened- are fish tacos or oyster po boy sliders on the current menu? They don't seem to appear on the current online menu.

        3 Replies
        1. re: prima
          Kagemusha RE: prima May 23, 2011 03:30 PM

          Nice but nothing especially notable.

          1. re: Kagemusha
            b
            bluefirefly RE: Kagemusha May 23, 2011 05:17 PM

            Busy weekend! Didn't have time to post but ate there on Friday - no fish tacos or oyster po boy sliders. The current menu on the website is more accurate than the one on Facebook. I really enjoyed the dishes...especially good to support a company that uses local/sustainable seafood. Just too bad they don't take reservations as someone noted except for more than 6.

            1. re: bluefirefly
              prima RE: bluefirefly May 29, 2011 04:12 PM

              Thanks, bluefirefly. Hope they bring on the fish tacos and fried oyster po boys soon.

              Glad you enjoyed the disehs.

        2. s
          Sui_Mai RE: jonnyrosen May 25, 2011 06:51 AM

          Is this run by the same people as Salt? Interesting to hear the raves considering Salt is such a miss. I guess that's good news if it's the case.

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          Salt Wine Bar
          225 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sui_Mai
            prima RE: Sui_Mai May 25, 2011 12:06 PM

            William Tavares is "the concept builder and creative mind behind Fishbar". William Tavares and Albino Silva own Salt according to ChefDB. http://www.chefdb.com/pl/20501/Salt-W... Someone who commented on the following article suggests Mr. Tavares is no longer associated with Salt. http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail... Maybe someone who knows the scoop will pipe in.

            http://fishbar.ca/how-we-started.html

            David Friedland is the Chef, Jaime Duran is the Front of House/Manager/Sommelier, and Mark Moore (formerly of Oyster Boy) is the Oyster Specialist.

            http://fishbar.ca/who-we-are.html

            http://www.chefdb.com/pl/23813/Fishba...

            Didn't realize Salt is often a miss. Haven't been.

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            Salt Wine Bar
            225 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7, CA

          2. t
            table4onthefly RE: jonnyrosen May 25, 2011 04:34 PM

            I've been following their progress for a while; super excited to go there for the first time. *imagines Dundas West Restaurant Crawl starting at Campagnolo -> Black Hoof -> Fishbar -> Libretto -> Enoteca.

            Maybe when I invest in that 2nd stomach I've been eyeing...

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            The Black Hoof
            928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

            Campagnolo
            832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

            1 Reply
            1. re: table4onthefly
              d
              DDD RE: table4onthefly May 26, 2011 06:45 PM

              Had a nice meal there tonight. Friendly service, very good oysters, a tasty scallop ceviche as a special and a nice assortment of wine glasses by the glass. Sardines were excellent. $135 for 2 with a glass of wine, no dessert (including a warranted 20% tip).

            2. pinstripeprincess RE: jonnyrosen May 26, 2011 07:27 PM

              how would you compare it to the other seafood spots around TO?

              2 Replies
              1. re: pinstripeprincess
                d
                DDD RE: pinstripeprincess May 26, 2011 08:41 PM

                I guess the most similar in my view would be The Atlantic - foodwise and pricewise. Although, the atmosphere in Fishbar is a little more stylized/trendy (distressed floor tiles, minimal/vintage lighting fixtures, heavy iron table bases). Both have limited menus of relatively high quality ingredients very heavily weighted towards fish/seafood in a small plates/tapas style presentation. Fits in well with the Ossington scene. Although, I don't think they take reservations (I wouldn't wait in line for it - but that's me).

                1. re: DDD
                  Flexitarian RE: DDD May 29, 2011 11:03 AM

                  I totally agree, but would wait in line for it. I was there last night and although there were a number of service glitches that should not have happened hopefully they will get this rectified.

                  I wish they designed it with some noise dampening material so it was't so noisy though. People do actually dine out to hear the person on the other side of the table.

              2. prima RE: jonnyrosen Jun 10, 2011 07:34 PM

                Had a chance to try Fishbar tonight, and sample most of the current menu.

                Pros:

                the Kitchen does a great job deep-frying the fish & chips, and the calamari.

                Fishbar is using high quality, fresh fish & shellfish. Oceanwise-approved seafood is marked with an Oceanwise logo on the menu. Most, but not all, of the seafood on their menu is Oceanwise-approved.

                Cons:

                There are timing issues, with our side dishes arriving 20 minutes after the mains. Service is friendly enough, but not exactly professional. At least one table has no cross-ventilation, resulting in a very warm environment, even when it isn't warm outside. Some stools and chairs are uncomfortable. Some arugula is seriously oversalted. Not sure whether Fishbar serves coffee or dessert, since no coffee or dessert was offered, and our bill was brought as soon as our side dishes were removed.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7471...

                Not bad, but not perfect, either.

                1. v
                  VP of Feeling Groovy RE: jonnyrosen Apr 24, 2012 04:02 PM

                  The OP and I must have gone to different restaurants. Or Fishbar has changed dramatically since it opened last year.

                  We found ourselves on Ossington on Friday evening to check out Bellwoods Brewery (will report on it separately). After a beer and skewer at the Brewery, we were in the mood for a little more food. Wandering up Ossington, we decided on Fishbar partly because we hadn't tried it before and partly because the menu looked interesting.

                  All in all, it was a pretty disappointing experience. The room looked charming, the servers were pleasant but not fabulous, and the food was unexceptional and overpriced.

                  The two of us had:

                  - the smelts. These were the low point - too salty and just not great. Maybe they weren't cooked enough, maybe smelts just aren't to my taste. I know they are fish, and are relatively strong, but they were too "fishy" in a bad way. The server gave us some house-made cocktail sauce to accompany the smelts and it did make them more palatable. Though the sauce was quite sweet; I generally prefer a cocktail sauce with more of a bite.

                  - the scallops with chorizo and something sweet - apple butter? $16 for 3 scallops?! That might be OK if the dish were amazing but it was not. The scallops on their own were lovely - well cooked, very nice. But the chorizo was vastly made up of 4 or 5 teeny cubes of way overcooked sausage. And the fruit sauce was a weird choice for the crispy chorizo and scallop. Again - $16 for 3 scallops and some bacon bits?!

                  - the calamari was the high point of our visit to Fishbar. Nice, crunchy breading and well cooked, not overcooked or rubbery. But decent deep-fried squid is not hard to find in Toronto so I wouldn't hurry back just for this.

                  Other than those little dishes, my sweetie had a watery, bland, overpriced prawn caesar. I had a decent glass of white wine. It is nice that they offer 3 oz and 6 oz glasses but the wine list was not overly interesting.

                  Overall, I don't regret trying Fishbar. But I won't be hurrying back.

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