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Jul 22, 2013 07:40 PM

" Fisherman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant " - The 'other' giant lobster specialist in town

This 'other' GTA's Giant Lobster Specialist had been well covered by members of the other food blog that begins with a 'Y'. However, based on my recollection, no chowhounders had written any detailed review about this super popular seafood place!

After recently moved to its new location further west on Steeles, this restaurant, notorious for pushy service and setting a time limit of 2 hours per sitting, is now located in a huge modern cavernous space with curved walls. Wrapped around these walls were array of 27 fish tanks, all housing giant lobsters and king crabs, up to 11 pounds in weight!

Our party of 5 arrived at 6.00pm and the place was already packed!. We ordered one of the 'lobster' set dinner and augmenting it with a couple more dishes. ( there were also more expensive 'king crab' set dinners for 2 to a party of 8 or more ).

The dishes included:

- Complimentary Soup of the day ( Pork and Chinese root vegetables )

- Fried jumbo size BC oysters with black pepper and honey sauce.

- Stirred fry Angus beef filet mignon cubes with cashew and garlic chips

- 6 pound lobster prepared Hong Kong Typhoon Shelter style ( spicy )

- Poached 'Choi Sum' in seafood broth topped with BC clams & Tobiko.

- Steamed whole live French Turbot with ginger, scallions and cilantro.

- Fried rice with lobster Tamale

- Complimentary Black Sesame soup dessert.

First off, be-warned! Sizes of the dishes were huge! Next, prices including those of the lobsters and King crabs, were very reasonable especially when compared to their 'other competitor' in Richmond Hill.

However, as foodies, we were all here for the taste!! And it was here that things started to fall apart..

The oysters, though crunchy and moist inside, has too thick a batter and the black pepper used in the sauce was way too overwhelming! All we can taste was the burning sensation of the pepper! The Emperor's version is way way better!

Stirred fry Angus beef cubes were of high standard. Full of smokey wok-hay flavor, this dish was at par if not better than Maple Yip's. Best dish of the evening.
The poached 'Choi Sum' vegetable dish was a delight. Simple, delicate and flavourful, just the right dish to offset some of the more 'intensely flavoured' dishes.

The steamed French Turbot unfortunately was way overcooked. For sure, Maple Yip's Chef Ho will weep if he sees how they treated such fine product! BTW, O'Mei, the only restaurant close by serving this fish, also beats Fisherman's version hands down.

Fried rice was a bit dry but flavourful.

The star and supposedly, climax of the evening was next! The giant lobster was cooked 'Hong Kong Typhoon Shelter style'. Fried using a mixture of minced garlic, scallions, cilantro, chilis and fried silver ray fish, the end result should be a taste bomb! Unfortunately, the way it was executed, the dish was a major disappointment!! Under seasoned, bland and greasy, fortunately, the huge size of the lobster pieces allowed the sweetness and moistness of the meat to be retained. In comparison, O'Mei's version (s), though $5 more expensive per pound, had flavour profiles that were way more superior and well worth the price premium!
The only selling point of Fisherman's lobster offering was its ' shock and awe' gimmicky tall tower presentation!

Lastly, after spending mega-bucks on the main meal, the lumpy and gooey black sesame dessert soup offered at the end was a total travesty!! Considering O'Mei hands out 4 complimentary and utterly 'yummy' desserts, they should head over to O'Mei and steal a page from them!!

IMO, trying to use gimmicky and showy presentation to offset the rather mediocre tasting food might work on a few non foodies. However, anyone with a more discerning palette can easily see through this smoke screen. I, for one, will not be taken in and as such will not be returning in the near future!

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  1. They always try to upsell the set dinner. Most of the tables end up with 4 or 5 boxes of leftover to take home.
    Most dishes are oily and overcooked.
    The black sesame soup dessert was a joke. Couldn't be worse.
    Set menu for 2 can feed 4 and the one for 8-10 will feed 12-14.
    What a waste of the expensive ingredients.
    I won't go back.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ace123

      Hello ace123! Foodies do think alike!!!
      However, I'm really surprise to find so many 'Yelpers' giving it 4-5 stars and saying the lobster preparation(s) are tastier than O'Mei?!
      In fact, comparing Fisherman's offering to say the Emperor and Maple Yip. The latter can do a much better job!!
      I first reported on them 2 years ago, Guess they have gone down hill quite a bit. Too ambitious and overload for the kitchen after this huge expansion?

      1. re: Charles Yu

        No way can it be better than O'Mei.
        I can taste the delicate flavour of lobster in O'Mei's dishes, be it steamed, HK typhoon style or Maggie sauced.
        In Fishman Lobster Clubhouse, I can see the lobster mountain but the taste is wayyy off. I think they do a very good job in building mountains!

        1. re: ace123

          BTW, I've noticed a new opening called ' Fisherman Wharf Seafood' across from Casa Imperial!! Wonder anyone has tried it?

    2. Oops! Left out photo of the fried rice!

      1. Charles,

        Thanks for the review, I can tell by the presentation that they have put some work on it compared to the typical Chinese restaurants.

        Is the lobster $15/lb or was it part of the set?

        If so, that is pretty expensive. I recently had a very nice dinner at a restaurant on the second floor of Oriental Centre at Brimely/Sheppard, the name escaped me but the place escapes me now. Their lobsters are $5.99 a lb and there's an option for the Typhoon Shelter Style for $5 more. We had a 5 pounder so the total cost was $35. You have to order a couple of dishes to get this special price.

        Overall, the lobster was tasty and the the value simply cannot be beat. Take a look at the pic I'm attaching and try to give it a try and let us know how it stacks up to the places you've tried.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ragged25

          Wow!! Based on your photos and description, sounded like a really great deal!!

          For our 'set dinner', Fisherman limits the size of the lobster to 5 pounds. Option is available to increase the weight of the beast if one would like to splurge! Additional cost is $16.99 per pound!! Ouch!!

          FYI, O'Mei's Giant Lobster, 4, 5 or 6 ways, the current price is $21.00 per pound. Sounded steep, but considering the way one gets to savor 4 different unique ways of tasty preparation and the Tomale Fried rice is included. Its not bad! Do not forget a 3-4 course complimentary dessert is also included as well!. Totally stand alone! No extra dishes required. However, most would order a veggie dish to go along!

          Yes! If one knows where to look, there are a lot of great deals around town right now!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            The dinner was $70 tax and tip all in. Not in the picture was a complimentary soup and two desserts. A goji berry/lychee jello and a chilled dessert soup with papaya and white fugus. Both were surprisingly good.

            Service was really good there too as our plates were changed at least 6 or 7 times as we were working through the lobster. I received similar service at Emperor in the past, to a point where you almost wanted to tell them that your dish is fine and does not need changing every 5 minutes...haha.

            But Charles, you seriously should give it a try.

            BTW, they have a ton of other seafood dinner sets and prices are reasonable too, including an Alaskan Crab/Giant Lobster combo that looked very inviting.

          2. re: ragged25

            Hi ragged 25,

            I was just a oriental centre for lobster for $5.99 per pound and a few days later we went to fishman lobster clubhouse..

            Lol....I have a lot to complain...their service tactics is very deceiving...

            1. Force up sell
            2. We order a set dinner for which include a 6 pound lobster. But we were surcharge $17 as the lobster was 7 pound. They ran out of 6 pound lobster. Conniving way to upsell?

            3. They don't accept credit cards and debit cards. No mention in front of door! You have to carry wads of cash in order to eat there!

            1. re: qpzqpz


              These tactics were at Fisherman or at the one at Oriental Centre? Btw, I just learned the name of the place LHL Seafood Restaurant.

              I had dim sum there today and I had no problem paying by Visa on a $45 bill.

              1. re: ragged25

                Hey ragged25,

                This was at fisherman lobster. Very expensive but does not take credit card.

                Yes, LHL takes credit card and they have specials on giant lobster for $5.99 per pound. So funny, I was there for dimsum today.

          3. ditto what the other posters have said. the waitress was pushy about up-selling the set dinner. this place is all hype. yes the presentation has a wow factor (see mountain of lobster) but the food is just OK.

            charles yu is 100% spot on about this place using "wow" as a smoke screen.

            just an FYI. you need to place a reservation days in advance. forget about walking in and getting a table. we tried that one day and the hostess told us to come back at 10pm. what a slap in the face. might as well tell us to NOT come back that evening. what's more funny was that they were serious! my friend got a phone call at 10pm asking if we still wanted a table.

            worst of all is that they accept only CASH. no debit. no credit. there were no signs posted in either english or chinese. and of course the manager gave the bull**** excuse that the machine was down/they haven't received the machine yet...blah blah blah. tax evasion much?

            2 Replies
            1. re: blitz

              So many complaints and negative reviews! And yet, the place is always packed and extremely popular!! Absolutely mind boggling!!
              Surely, we chowhounders cannot be the only people who can see through the smoke screen?!
              Your last remark. Sounded like 'Richmond Court'!!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Hey Charles,

                I agree despite negative's always packed.

                People got suckered into the food presentation!

                Give it will really understand blogger have bad reviews.

                Food presentation: A+
                Service: F minus

                Ps. Bring at least $300 cash to eat there. Also, dinner for 3 feeds 5 people (not 3).

            2. The original comment has been removed