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'Salty Delicacies' at Starfish and Food & Wine Expo ( with brief overview of the latter

Charles Yu | Nov 19, 201106:42 PM

Accompanied by fellow chowhounder skylineR33, I paid a visit to the Food & Wine Expo after a hiatus of at least 5 years! Prepping ourselves not to expect any mind-blowing culinary encounter and experiences, our outing was actually quite enjoyable!

Unlike in the past, whence one can savour great wine like Le Pin and decent food like Roasted elk on potato pancake by Marc Thuet. This current show features mediocre new wines from both new and old wineries trying to make an impression in this highly congested market. More sophisticated wines can only be found in the LCBO Vintage booth. Some of those included a 2006 Chateau Palmer, a Chateau Talbot, a Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer....etc. Passable but no wow factor. However, the 18 tickets ( $18 ) they charged for a 1 oz tasting of the 'overly young and fair vintage' Chateau Palmer definitely deserved a sarcastic wow!!

Faced with unimpressive and over-priced food like plain tasting roasted duck breast by Brassailli, grilled Charizo sausage by Embrujo Flamenco, pre-made sushi from Edo, ordinary Satays from Springrolls and over-priced macaroons from Ruelo...etc, SkylineR33 and I decided to head somewhere else for food. However, before our exit, we decided to blow the rest of our vouchers on some Russian Ossetra caviar!! $10 a mini serving but a nice pre-meal snack!!

We decided on 'Starfish' which was still packed at 9 pm on a Friday evening. However, the super friendly wait staff managed to find us a table for two. Since 'tis the season for 'Flats', for our oyster starter, we settled for a mix assortment of European flats ( Scottish Loch Ryan and Irish Galway ) augmented by some US Blue Point and New Zealand Coromandel.

The Scottish Loch Ryan was my first encounter of this varietal and was utterly amazing! Resembling my other favourite flats - the English Colchester, this plump Scottish gem was not at all briny. The slightly 'crunchy' texture and the very sweet after taste was very enjoyable and addictive. It just made its way into my top favourite oyster list.

The other unfamiliar varietal we tried that night was the New Zealand Coromandel. A bigger form of the Kumomoto, this salty morsel has a creamy finish that resembled Foie Gras?! Interesting!

The Blue Point we ordered were all perfect specimen worthy of a photo before being consumed!

For entrees, we both ordered fish. SkylineR33 had the Lake Huron Pickerel, whilst I had the Georgian Bay White fish. Both fishes were cooked 'perfectly' with correct amount of seasoning, ultra-crisp skin and lovely moist flesh! Kudos to the chef!!! We both agreed Starfish cooked the BEST FISH in town! Better than Joso's, Malena, Zee Grill or even Chiado! Not to mention the very reasonable price of around $27 per entree! A similar fish dish will cost around $38 in Canoe!!

One last note! The service we received was super efficient and friendly! Even the shucker greeted us! As such, we cannot understand all the negative comments in the past about Starfish 'questionable' service?!!

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