Counter Culture: Little Fin, a “seaside-style” gourmet seafood counter, officially drops anchor today


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Image: Little Fin

Ever eaten a lobster hot dog? Well, with Little Fin now open, a brand new gourmet seafood joint next to The Chase, you’ll definitely have your chance.

And when we say “now open,” we mean it literally. Unless you count yesterday’s soft launch, today is the first day of operations for the seafood “seaside-style” dispensary at 4 Temperance Street. The latest initiative of The Chase Hospitality Group, the same owners who brought us The Chase, of course, but also Colette Grand Cafe earlier this past summer, Little Fin is a different format than local seafood aficionados may be familiar with. Rather than a sit-down, tables-and-chairs restaurant—there’s neither tables nor chairs at all, in fact, although a thirty-seat patio will open this spring—it’s more like a lunch counter with a decidedly hip twist. Even the language used at Little Fin highlights its fine dining options with a certain edgy attitude. Using tongue-in-cheek menu headings like “Sauce-Sea” for its sauces, “How We Roll” for sushi and other items, or “You Salty Dog” for its beer and wine selection, the fact that you’re not in just any fish-and-crab shack is pretty immediately apparent.

Another unique feature of the place is its mix-and-match sensibility. Rather than offering by-the-plate menu items, it’s almost a charcuterie-style approach to seafood. Choosing from those menu categories—“How We Roll” is where you’ll find that lobster hot dog we talked about, by the way—patrons assemble their own meals, individually tailored from Little Fin’s selection of main courses and side dishes.

Some of those dishes are surprising even before they enter your mouth. For one, you’ll notice jet-black buns among at least a couple of menu items. These are challah buns dyed with bamboo charcoal, prepared at Colette, Little Fin’s Parisian sibling on Wellington Street. You’ll find this bread housing a veritable tower of ingredients in the form of Little Fin’s Fin Burger, a cheeseburger drizzled with sea-urchin sauce that’s so big, so jaw-unhingingly huge, you may need to rest up a bit after eating one. With executive chef Nigel Finley steering the culinary direction of the place, a name known to the Toronto food scene as The Chase’s fish and oyster chef, the taste might seem a bit familiar, too.

Little Fin is open Monday to Sunday, 11:00 am - 8:00 pm, at 4 Temperance Street. Give them a call at 647-348-7000.

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