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Dec 16, 2011 07:40 PM

'Fishermen Clubhouse' - A most impressive Chinese 'Seafood' Restaurant

Any fellow gourmands who would like to savor some high quality Chinese style seafood should give this Markham restaurant a try!

Located in a Markham strip mall just east of Midland on Steeles ( 4011 Steeles Ave.E ), I have never seen such an impressive array of seafood in a North American restaurant. Pretty common sight in places like Hong Kong but definitely a rare phenomenon in Toronto or Vancouver, for that matter!

As expected, the place was packed when we arrived. We were welcomed by 9 huge fish tanks at the entrance all packed with live seafood that included Alaskan King Crabs, Giant East Coast Lobsters, BC Dungeness Crabs, Geoduck Clams, Red Garoupas, French Turbots, Rock fish, Giant sea eels...etc. Seeing those live Garoupas swimming in the tanks, we know we are in for a treat!

Since both my son and daughter are not into steamed whole fish, we decided to have bi-valves and crustaceans instead. The four of us ordered the following:

- Stirred fry diver scallops and prawns with yellowing chives and sweat pea pods.

- Fried giant BC rock oysters with a honeyed chili blackbean sauce glaze.

- Stirred fry 4.5 pound lobster with Maggi sauce

- And lastly, for the carnivores in our party, Stirred fry beef filet mignon cubes with mushrooms, cashew nuts, string beans and minced garlic galore!!

- Both Soup of the day and black sesame dessert were on the house.

Before tasting the food, we were all surprised by the unexpectedly fancy and artistic plate presentation. A rarity in a non-fine dining Chinese cuisine establishment.

As for the food, all stirred fry dishes exhibited fine 'wok-hay'. The taste of the scallops and prawns dish resembling something similar to that found in a Michelin star restaurant in Hong Kong like Lei Garden. The stirred fry beef cubes was excellently done. I would rank it a close second to my favourite Teriyaki beef cubes with walnut dish of 'Emperor'. The fried oysters were super plumb and juicy. Perfectly cooked, the slightly sweet and spicy sauce was a great match. Again, a close second to my favourite 'Honey glazed oysters' of the 'Emperor'. Finally, the 'pieces de resistance' - a 4.5 pound lobster cooked only one way using Maggi sauce. Not as great as O'Mei's house special, however, this more than acceptable rendition got the approval of all my family members.

During our dinner, we noticed a lot of regulars ordering the ' Typhoon Shelter' style of preparation for the crabs and/or lobsters ( Tons of fried minced garlic and red chilies ). Guess we have to make a return visit for this dish??!!

Total bill came to $145 all inclusive of tax and tips. Service by the all female staff was friendly.

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  1. You know I really wish I was older when I grew up in Markham. Your posts would have made me a rather plump child. Thanks for yet another informative write up! I just have to wrangle up a few people who are afraid of anything north of Bloor to come with me.

    1. We've been going to this restaurant for awhile now...the lobsters/crabs done in the 'Typhoon Shelter' style is excellent. You have to return to give it a try. Besides minced garlic and chilies, they also have fried anchovies in there...yummy

      17 Replies
      1. re: commie

        Thanks commie!
        Any other dishes you would like to recommend?! How's their steamed whole fish? Execute as good as Maple Yip?!
        One question about the pricing of their lobster. I can see the price difference between their regular ones ( 1.5 -3 lbs ) vs their giant ones ( 4 lbs and up ). However, within the giant category, they have 'swimming' ones at $10.99 per lb and 'premium' ones at $16.99 per lb! Any idea what and why the big difference in price?! Thx!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Charles, is an english-only speaking person going to have issues ordering at this place? Those oysters look amazing.

          1. re: grandgourmand

            I recall the menu is bi-lingual although the English description is less precise. I also believe a few of the 'younger' staff do speak English. Worse come to worse, just follow the next table!!
            Beware! This place is ultra popular. Reservation is a must!! During weekends, they'll also restrict your seating to either 6.00 pm or 7.40 pm. Don't be alarmed if they hand you the bill hour an a half after your food arrived at the table!!!!

            1. re: grandgourmand

              The menu is bilingual English/Chinese and the service is OK. However this one of those Chinese ghetto places not unlike the Magic Wok years ago when it was still at Brimley near Sheppard. Food is a 10...amazing wok skill and known for their seafood. But everything else that could contribute to a memorable dining experience is around a 2 or a 3. I'm talking about parking, decor, table setting, atmosphere, seating, cleanliness, etc. I know these are not issues for some CHers', but this place takes these issues to another level, so this place is usually a pass for me. Parking at Maple Yip can be tight too, but offers a much better dining experience.

              1. re: T Long

                We have been going to this restaurant for awhile. Probably back when it first opened. Was not as crowded back then. And menu was mostly set dinners for 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10. Set menu would include clams, crab, fish - actually all seafood menu and we would order extra vegetable dishes on the side.
                The only thing is the tables are tightly packed and yes it is like the early Magic Wok where you are eating dinner and there are people standing /crowding the entrance and any available space watching you eat and waiting for you to leave.

                But overall, I would say that from a parking decor and cleanliness, I would still prefer this place to Maple Yip.

                Can't think of too many great places for dinner now a days. For dinner with parents where food and service are good, we now stick to Casa Imperial. We find Judy's and the replacement Ruby restaurant not as good as before.

                1. re: caitlink

                  Based on yesterday's experience. Apart from the closely packed tables, the decor, cleanliness and parking were more than acceptable to us.

                  Like you said caitlink, there are not too many 'reliable' great places for dinner nowadays. For us, our go to places are Emperor or Yang's

                2. re: T Long

                  Thanks for the full disclosure. Let's just say I wouldn't bring my mother there, but for a few friends that I know can focus on the food, could be worth the trip. Charles' pictures sure make it seem like it.

                  1. re: T Long

                    I can tolerate tight table setting, noisy atmosphere, tight parking, lousy decor...etc. However, I cannot tolerate the kind of bad service exhibited by 'Magic Wok's' servers. Cannot understand why people still go there to be abused?! Ha!
                    ( If it was Richmond Court, that I can understand, since I know for a fact that the owners pocketed all the tips. That's why all servers act like zombies! )

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      Charles, I know we disagree on Magic Wok. Our kids love the place. The grandfather chicken, mango beef, seafood birds nest and the glutinous rice stuffed chicken.
                      I would agree the service at the old Brimley and Sheppard location was horrible. But the 'new' location service is ok. They are efficient and will come around to check and make sure all dishes came. We never feel rushed.
                      I would say the food is still ok and one of the places we frequent.

                      What I've noticed is that lately while prices have not gone up, the portions have gotten much smaller. For example, Judy's cusinine.

                      1. re: caitlink

                        Ah! 'Grand father chicken'!! Love that dish! That's enough of an incentive for me to give Magic Wok a try again! I recall having that dish at ' Bayview Garden' on Hwy7 before they closed down years ago! Best rendition in town! I might also give MW's glutinous rice stuffed chicken a try and do a comparison with 'Brilliant''s version?!
                        Thanks caitlink!

                        1. re: caitlink

                          How would you describe grandfather chicken to someone who has never tried it?

                          1. re: prima

                            Hi Prima,
                            How about "Free range chicken poached/marinated in premium top soya sauce infused with rose essence Chinese rice wine ( Mui Gwai Lo ) then 'smoked' to kick it up a notch! Bammmmm!!! and Yummy!!!!"

                  2. re: Charles Yu

                    Their whole steamed fish is very good....although really depends what fish you order. They do a very good eel as well, and when they have it in stock their live scallops with garlic/black bean sauce were delicious. Their stir-fried beefs are very good, you already had their beef cubes. When we go, we usually get the jumbo lobster(7+ pounds), and have the lobster tomales be used for a fried rice course, quite interesting. They also have different soups you can pre-order, I think one time we had a wild water duck(?? not sure if that is the english name for it?) with herbs soup. That was pretty good.

                    A side note regarding fish....If you are a fisherman at all, and you happen to catch some fresh fish(Walleye, Bass) you can bring it to them, and they will cook it for you for a small fee. The owners are very big fisherman's. As you can tell by their wall decorations.

                    I am not sure about what the price differences is for the big lobsters.

                    This restaurant is definitely one that I don't go there for the atmosphere. We've had times been there and were given a 1.5 hour limit on eating as they were fully booked for the rest of the night, and even before we finished our dessert, they handed us the bill. But the service has always been acceptable, its just their place is rather small and gets very busy due to their popularity. In the summer months, its a bit better when they have their outdoor patio section open, and they can fit more people/tables.

                    1. re: commie

                      Thanks for the long reply commie!
                      We too were prompted by the waitress about using the lobster tomales for fried rice. However, since we are used to eating the O'Mei's giant lobster 4 ways which included the fried rice at no extra cost. Fisherman's clubhouse additional $7 for the fried rice did not sit well with us! Considering their $16.99 per pound for the lobster was already $2 more than what Emperor or O'Mei was charging for giant lobsters these days!

                    2. re: Charles Yu

                      the wait staff would only say the premium lobsters were of a different kind and well worth the extra money... its still a mystery to me what the actual difference is....
                      i prefer maple yip's steamed whole fish... and i also enjoy the service at maple yip more.....
                      at fisherman's they also do not provide table top deboning service for the fish.. they just plop down the plate and run....
                      I have l'il kids so i tend to make my reservation at 5pm when they have abit more patience.... but yes.. they will rush you out the door if you are closed to being finished.

                      1. re: plug

                        Dinner tonight. 6 adults and a toddler. We had a set dinner for 5 with the 'lobster' upgrade, steamed fish instead of fried, and added the fried rice with lobster tamale. Total cost was $195 incl. tax. The lobster upgrade (according to them and appears to be accurate) is the use of hard shell (cold water) lobster instead of soft shell lobster. Denser and more meat per wt. and we were quite happy with the choice to upgrade.
                        1. Oysters with Honey Glaze
                        2 .Fried Eel with green beans
                        3. Steamed Bass
                        4. Bok Choy
                        5. Lobster HK (typhoon shelter) Style - 6+ lbs
                        6.Fried Rice with lobster tamale
                        7. Black sesame dessert
                        The Oysters were excellent, fresh and plump and great flavour. The eel was also a very pleasant surprise as I have generally had subpar experiences with eel at chinese restaurants and usually stay away. This dish was delicious and the green beans were cooked perfectly. The steam fish was on the small side which was disappointing but steamed perfectly so no complaints about flavour and it was the toddlers favorite a long with the lobster. The bok choy ... well, I looked at it as a palate cleanser as it was just cooked plain (and I mean plain, they didn't even walk past the salt shaker on the way out of the kitchen). The lobster was the star of the meal, beautifully presented, cooked perfectly and very delicious (deep fried with chilli, garlic, and small fishes that I can't name, we chinese call these fish bak fan yue, although these were a little bigger than I normally find). I personally wouldn't have minded a little more chili heat but everyone else thought it was seasoned perfectly. The fried rice was fine, nothing really that special but at only $8.99, no complaints. Overall the meal was excellent. There were many deep fried dishes and some people might find it a little on the heavy side but for a special occasion it was fantastic. Plus there was that dish of vegetables as a palate cleanser. The dishes came out more banquet style (i.e. one at a time) which isn't typical of a non-banquet dinner but it worked in this case because the lobster came at the end and there was nothing on table to distract you from it. Yes, it can become a little 'one note' after a while because the lobster was so big but the flavour was good enough that we didn't mind, plus this meant the lobster never got cold. Oh, the meal also came with soup (very good) and the dessert is not worth mentioning really (nice texture, but a little bland in flavour). The service was ok, very friendly if a little rushed but plug is right, they really do just put the food on the the table and leave, but I usually don't go to a chinese restaurant for the service. However, the impression I got throughout the evening was a real concern that you had a good eating experience from menu selection to table space. The restaurant is small and tables are tight. Plus it appears that they are at full capacity everyday so make reservations. If you like really elegant dinner surroundings ... eat somewhere else. If you don't care as long as the food is good .. call ahead and enjoy. Parking is difficult as the lot is very busy but street parking is plentiful all up and down the street off Steeles Ave. CASH ONLY so come prepared.

                  3. Charles, may I ask how many you were?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lamaranthe

                      Four adults. 2 male and 2 female. Two had huge appetite!

                    2. We thinking of doing a big group dinner here, but I've never been. Has anyone been to Fisherman's Club recently? How was it?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cookiebaker

                        Here's the latest posting after their relocation to Silver Star Bvld.


                        So far, based on feed backs...etc, quality has been very consistent.

                        Due to variety of preparation style offered for their lobsters and crab. Enjoyment factor could range from Okay to Wow depending on ones palette and preference. In my case I would like to stick with the less greasy, traditional Sauteed with Maggi sauce option. Other options such as Typhoon shelter or Minced Salted Duck egg yolk coating though good but both involve deep frying, which I found a bit too greasy for my liking.