I was an oversubscribed child of immigrants. I was registered in ALL the classes within a 10-kilometer radius of my house. I’m certain my parents wanted to ensure that I didn’t end up a degenerate – immigrant parents’ collective nightmare. So, as immigrant parents do, they put me in everything that they could afford - ballet, karate, swimming, piano, figure skating and Kumon, so that I never had to engage with the rest of the riff raff (read: normal children) that would undoubtedly lower me to the depths of social and moral depravity. For the record, Kumon didn’t help. Decades later I still get math headaches and sweat when I have to fuck with numbers and an Excel spreadsheet. However, my need to be constantly engaged in some kind of activity hasn’t changed.
It’s the long weekend and I need to get out and do stuff. More specifically, I need to EAT stuff. Long weekends are an opportunity to capitalize on downtown closures and head out to the ‘burbs’ for delicious sustenance. I have a hankering for seafood and pungent flavours. Today’s road trip takes me to Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant on the Scarborough/Markham border. (#ScarboroughRepresent) It’s time to enjoy the cuisine of the Chinese immigrants who know how to perfectly crispy fry shellfish and assemble them into towers that look like architectural feats.
I turn into a heart-eyed emoji face every time I see the images posted on Instagram and Facebook. I have been waiting to go here for some time and today is my *big day*. Fuuuuuuck yeeeeaaaaaa! However, there are only two diners at my table today. So, towers of lobster to feed 50 people is not happening. Instead, I turn my eye to my actual favourite sea creature to devour. Crab. Crab wins on every front for me. You crack open that mean, shrapnel-like shell to reveal fibers of sweet, tender white meat. Something about crab is just so much more satisfying to me than lobster. Maybe I like how hard I have to work for it. But, mostly, I am enamored by its ability to stand up to robust flavours and searing scoville heat despite its delicate flavor and texture.
After you’ve placed your order, the server brings you the sea creature that is ultimately sacrificed for your gluttony. It’s alive and wriggling and so, so fresh. I see it and say a silent thank you to the crab and literally cannot wait to devour it. We wait. And, we wait. And, we wait some more. It takes waaaay too long for my ass. However, as I’m waiting, I have time to observe that the room is crowded with boisterous diners. The look of excitement and absolute astonishment never stops as tables get their food. Two servers are required to hoist a giant platter onto a nearby table. TWO SERVERS! Then, soon afterwards, without any pomp or ceremony, my little crab heap for two appears. But, fuck, it looks so good.
It’s smokin’ hot, the crab is piled atop e-fu noodles, with lots of tender greens and whole cloves of powerful stir-fried garlic. This dish is small, but it’s mighty. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the delicious crab bits. And, without fail, it’s like an R&B love song in my mouth - all sexy and shit. This crab is perfectly cooked, deep-fried and lightly greasy on my lips. We eat the entire meal in virtual silence. Stopping only to mutter from time to time how tasty the crab is and to take a swig of Tsing Tao beer the perfect beverage for this meal.
The e-fu noodles, however, leave a lot to be desired. I know noodles are simply flavour absorption devices. But, damn, carbs are so fucking good – don’t mess with that shit. The noodles were pale, overcooked and limp. They lacked the spring and the characteristic yellow hue of egg noodles. The greens, however, were delightful. The side dish and the stir-fried greens in the crab dish offered bitter and refreshing bites, contrasting beautifully the sweet and oil slick crab.
Dessert is warm sweet black sesame soup, but it falls flat. It lacks viscosity and the rich toasty fragrance of sesame. I guess after eating excessive amounts of seafood, dessert isn’t most peoples highest priority… unless you’re me. I want to be dazzled and shit. I didn't even take a picture because it was really rather underwhelming.
Things to note if eating here, the restaurant takes debit and cash only. The menu is a bit pricey – so if you’d like to save a few bucks, go for lunch and order off of the lunch menu. It’s best to go with a group, but that said, I thoroughly enjoyed going as a party of two. I would definitely come back because the seafood is so fresh and well prepared, but the next time it’s going to be with a whole crew of people to take on that lobster tower.