The porridge is: hot! … The oysters are amazingly fresh and the mussels are scrumptious. Appetizers can be hit or miss.
After the amazing oysters at downtownfood (see previous post here), I got a craving for oysters that would not subside. As I do not consider myself one to gorge on $3 oysters, I set out to find the best oyster deals in Calgary! First on my list was Big Fish, a restaurant specializing in seafood. They have a 2 for 1 oyster Monday special so that is when Michelle from foodstyleaholic and I decided to go! (Of course Richerd and Helen came along too. Food-lovers tend to congregate.)
2 dozen oysters $35.40 (Normally $2.95 each)
There were two types of oysters. On the upper left side were the deeper shelled West coast oysters (You can tell them apart by the dark “rings” on the oysters). On the lower right were the East coast oysters. They also came with four different sauce: tabasco sauce, house ponzu, caper chive mignonette, and a four-chilli cocktail.
All of these were really fresh! The West coast oysters had a stronger flavour and were meatier. I personally liked the East coast oysters for the refreshing cucumber finish. I tried all the different sauces and liked the caper chive mignonette the best. The ponzu was not bad either but the four-chilli cocktail was way too overpowering even at one single drop.
Before we started eating, I noticed that one of the oysters looked very funny. Now I’m not an oyster expert but does that look like an oyster to you? I pointed this out to our server who agreed that “yeah that’s not even an oyster… ” and took it back to the kitchen.
We got this instead.
I was a very happy camper.
We were asked if we would like another 2 dozen oysters and while we were thoroughly tempted… we decided to wait until our appetizers arrived.
Crab and Bay Shrimp cake with citrus caper aioli on grapefruit, fennel, and seaweed slaw $14
We each decided to pick an appetizer to share and this was my pick. I am sorry my friends, I let you down. I don’t know what I was expecting when I read the menu but I was not expecting these two tiny crab cakes. Okay, if they’re small, they better be packed full of flavour, I thought. Unfortunately, these were not. The crab and shrimp were soft but really unmemorable. As I was eating this, I thought back to my friend Paul’s fish cakes back in Japan… how about an honorary blog post for his restaurant, Fusion cafe? Now there’s an idea… anyways, these were obviously not that special.
Creamy East coast chowder with yuzu oil $9
This was Richerd’s pick. The chowder was, like the name says, very creamy! You can see the yuzu oil on top of the chowder but I did not taste it at all. That was somewhat disappointing since Richerd is a big yuzu fan and it was the main reason he chose this dish. The hunt for a good yuzu dish in Calgary continues!
Feature Soup: Lobster Bisque $12
We were all excited when we read about this special. I actually didn’t know what “bisque” is but the lobster part sounded delicious. Bisque is actually a smooth and highly seasoned soup of French origins. It can be made from crab, lobster, shrimp or crayfish. I expected this to be really amazing but it was average. Michelle compared it to mildly lobster-flavoured pumpkin soup. We did like the crackers on the side.
Fresh B.C mussels steamed with white wine, leek, and creamy green curry $14
This was the star of the appetizers! I think there were at least 20 mussels in this dish. All the mussels were fat, juicy, and full of flavour. I really liked the “soup base” here and we were all spooning more green curry onto our mussels as we ate them. Out of all the dishes we got (minus the oysters), this was the best value and also the best tasting. A must-order!
Open faced fish tacos with roasted chilies, guacamole, and oven-dried tomato mango salsa $13 + Extra Taco $4
These were pretty good. I did find the tomato mango salsa a bit overpowering as I could not really taste the flavour of the fish anymore. This had a slight “kick” to it. Decent fish tacos but not amazing like the mussels were. Now that I think about it, the flavour of the fish was similar to canned Thai chili tuna!
Maple Bourbon Pecan pie $9
By the time dessert came around, we were quite full. I ordered this myself but could not finish it and had to get some help. This was REALLY sweet. I have never been a big fan of cavity-inducing sweetness but this was too much even for Helen. And she has a sweet tooth! However, the praline vanilla bean mousse on this was divine.
The service was attentive but there was one thing we thought was a bit weird. When changing plates or taking away glasses, our server would come from behind us and take the plate without saying anything. Perhaps an “excuse me” or “let me take that for you” would have been better? I did not notice it until Helen pointed it out but it’s definitely a bit strange having someone reach out from behind you. Other than that, our server was quick and knowledgeable about the food.
Next time I go to Big Fish, I think I’ll stick to oysters and the mussels. (Anybody want to go for one dozen oysters each? :D)
Big Fish Dockside(http://big-fish.ca/)
1112 Edmonton Trail NE