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There’s no better way to bid a fond farewell to summer than with an good ole Canadian East coast lobster supper– and no one better to host it than the man Food Trends respectfully calls “Dr. Seafood,” – the knowledgeable and hospitable Patrick McMurray himself. You may have heard of McMurray as that skillful Canadian who managed to get himself into the Guinness World Book of Records for shucking 33 oysters in one minute. Or perhaps you know him from his delicious enterprise called Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill here in Toronto where his love of fresh, pristine seafood reigns supreme (Hot Tip: You can belly up to the bar and order 100 oysters for $100 Canadian! An aphrodisiac’s express, eh??).
The East Coast in Toronto
On August 26th, this writer had the pleasure of joining about twenty some other seafood fanatics in a white picket-fenced off area (the laneway behind Nella Cucina) for Aunt Nella’s Big Ol’ East Coast Lobster Supper with Patrick McMurray. Good wine sipped out of Mason Jars, freshly shucked oysters (with Patrick wielding his signature, ergonomic shucking knife and metal mesh glove- move over Michael Jackson), and the Sausage Partner’s fabulous all pork sausage with accompanying pickles (Branson pickle being cleverly redubbed the Brampton Pickle after a suburb of Toronto) got us all started. A few superb Malpeque oysters with a spritz of fresh lemon juice got the party started right before we sat down to a Maritime feast in Ontario! (If you tried hard enough, you could almost smell the ocean spray…)
In his inimitable, down-to-earth way, Patrick explained how to tackle the crab boil that ensued- encouraging us to sip on the “bisque” once you pull back the crustacean’s apron before enjoying the buttery meat. We devoured these crimson-hued beauties, boiled and smoked, along with earthy chunks of homemade corn bread and sourdough from Patrick’s Starfish staff.
Lobster, Crabs and Sausage, Oh MY!
The evening’s dinner companions all dug in- one couple who lived in Sydney, Australia were particularly pleased to be eating the evening’s fantastic seafood with memories of seaside dining tripping off their tongues as they bathed another piece of lobster tail into drawn butter. A freshly roasted corn on the cob dipped in a small bucket of melted butter rounded off the excursion with the husband chowing down on some more “Naked Pig Sausage.” Four generous pieces later and he was reminded that we were primarily here for the seafood. “I can’t help it if it’s this good,” he said sheepishly. And who can blame the guy- pure pork, no fillers and just a smattering of grated onion comprised this sausage- honest to goodness sausage this. (Where oh where can we buy some por favor?)..
(Here are some great onion choppers for you!)
The Grande Finale
After some more conversation and a bit of a break, Patrick’s chef at Starfish Kyle and the team pulled out some freshly made, warm Ontario peach cobbler dressed up by vanilla ice-cream. Most everyone had two servings of this despite being more than sated- yes, it was that good. Sigh- to salute every season like this would be almost worthwhile to saying “see you later” to yet another short-lived Canadian summer. Thanks Patrick!
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