Starfish  Mon-Fri lunch 12pm-3pm, dinner 5pm-11pm  Sat dinner 5-11pm, Sun 5pm-9pm       416-366-STAR (7827)

This is the place for oysters in Toronto. Starfish is a true hidden gem, known mostly by Torontonians who have a secret love affair with oysters.   When you walk through the door you feel like you are part of the Starfish family, everyone is so friendly. Best seats in the house are at the bar, where you get to watch the fasted oyster shucker in the world.  The proprietor, Patrick McMurray, holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most oysters shucked in 1 minute (33 in total).

The menu changes daily depending on what oyster is in season. I ordered my oysters as my entrée dish, one of each variety they had.  In the meantime I was getting hungry, so I decided to order fish tacos and mussels.  Beer battered catfish tacos with pineapple, jicama (Mexican Turnip), and a dollop of peanut chili sauce wrapped in a house-made flour tortilla.  The catfish was delicious, moist and crispy but overwhelmed by the pineapple and peanut chili sauce.  This dish just didn’t impress.  P.E.I mussels steamed in white wine, garlic and cream served with a side of devilishly good house-cut fries.  The dish smelled delicious but I couldn’t believe how dried out and old the mussels looked and tasted, not to mention many of them were just barely open.  Those mussels went right back.  Take two.  My new batch arrived looking so plump and juicy.   Bravo, satisfaction.  A couple minutes later my oysters made a grand entrance.  I eat them completely naked for the ultimate sensual delight. Oysters are said to have aphrodisiac qualities and are loaded with vitamin E and zinc.  They have high dopamine content; dopamine is a vital element that governs brain activity and influences sexual desire.  I noted each oyster’s distinct flavours so I could share them with you.   Green Gables – grassy, seaweed;  Colville Bay – tremendous sweet/salty flavour, firm texture; St. Simon – Salt hits your taste buds with a bang, meaty; Jersey Rock – like you just walked by freshly cut grass, breezy; Mersea Point – ocean seaweed , sweet, creamy; Menai Strait – pungent, strong, copper; Clarenbridge Bay – salty, cucumber, summer; Kumamoto – big deep melon, grassy, meaty flavour, a favorite; Blue Point – salty, creamy, even flavour throughout; Wellfleet – first salt, then a soft cream lightly fills your mouth leaving behind mineral metallic.  I am bewitched.

Must try the Starfish Caesar garnished with a clam.  The house champagne is beautiful and works magic with the oysters, doesn’t break the bank either. A good choice for red drinkers is a Pinot noir from California.   It is floral and berries that tango with clams.

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