Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews The Chase Fish & Oyster

The Chase Fish & Oyster underwhelms the palate but seduces the eye.


Published:

The Chase Fish & Oyster transports to the Hamptons; lobster rolls are an eyeful at the casual iteration of The Chase

I’m completely stumped. All these years of eating for a living and I cannot figure this one out. How come The Chase (both upstairs and downstairs) is so hot it’s sizzling? Just try getting a table. The service sucks and the food is ho-hum. We can’t even talk to them about our reservation without being driven crazy. Having booked a table, we have occasion to call twice to change it. Both times I sit on the phone for what feels like ages while they figure out my reservation. Both times after I tell them it’s for downstairs, the reservationist makes me wait a while and then asks: “Is that for upstairs or downstairs?”

So we arrive for dinner at The Chase Fish & Oyster. This is the ground floor of the splendidly refurbished Dineen building. Fish  & Oyster is the casual branch of the fancy place on the fifth floor. We booked for 6 p.m., we said we were pre-theatre, and when we get there they tell us to go have a drink at the bar ’cause our table’s not ready. That’s great. A little muscle and we get a table, but who likes starting a relationship by getting pissy?

And pissy is how we feel when they bring the apps. Autumn seafood chowder has about as much flavour as something from Mrs. Campbell — and about as much seafood in it. Oyster po’ boy sliders are equally unfortunate. The oysters in their deep-fry jacket have been overcooked.

The king crab rosti is big beautiful chunks of sweet fresh crab — wrapped in what they say is rosti, but resembles mashed potatoes. Oops. The unfortunate rosti sits on a fine little slaw of shaved Brussels sprouts with a river of pale green chive inflected sour cream. The lobster roll, surely a beach shack’s iconic entrée, has so little flavour we’re thinking to send out a search party. And yet the people are flocking, rather like lemmings.

But what a gorgeous nautical room, beach bar beautiful with colourful spinnakers hanging from the ceiling and big retro fans. It’s all very Ralph Lauren, preppy seaside pretty. I think I get it. It’s like my grade seven home ec teacher taught us: The eye eats first.

 

The Chase Fish & Oyster, 10 Temperance St., $100 Dinner for two.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

First Look: Lbs., a new lobster-centric restaurant at Yonge and Adelaide

First Look: Lbs., a new lobster-centric restaurant at Yonge and Adelaide

Lbs. is looking to democratize lobster to the masses while maintaining a high-end dining experience.
Posted 10 hours ago
An L.A. import in Parkdale and Doug McNish are turning vegan food into the hottest grub in town

An L.A. import in Parkdale and Doug McNish are turning vegan food into the hottest grub in town

Last year’s Toronto Vegan Food and Drink fest first intro’d locals to the resto, and since day one, the narrow space has been packed. Outside, hordes of cool kids in vegan (and real) leather jackets lounge, waiting for the two-hour queue to dissipate.
Posted 2 days ago
First Look: Dirty Bird lands in the Annex

First Look: Dirty Bird lands in the Annex

Kensington Market staple The Dirty Bird has opened a new outpost. The new location at Bloor and Bathurst can seat 29, which is nearly double the size of their previous spot.
Posted 2 days ago
What to Eat this Minute: Taiwanese toast is a lesson in decadence

What to Eat this Minute: Taiwanese toast is a lesson in decadence

Thick-cut bread doused in ice cream and strawberry sauce at Petit Potato.
Posted 3 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module