Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pearl Diver: Goodbye Starfish Oyster Bed & Grill

Starfish was the place to go for oysters, but when owner and World Champion Oyster Shucker Patrick McMurray transformed the fabulous Starfish into Pearl Diver three years ago with a new menu, new casual décor and new Chinese partner, so changed the unique character of the place. But tastes changed, particularly McMurray’s. Five years of running a second restaurant, Leslieville’s lively Ceili Cottage, convinced McMurray of the superiority of pubs over fine dining, so he and partner Rudy Guo remade Starfish into Pearl Diver. Oysters are still shucked at the bar, but beer has now replaced Starfish's great wine list with the exception of a tasty but expensive Domaine des Chaboissieres Muscadet Sevre et Maine. The cozy banquettes are gone. In their place are wooden church pews which Patrick found on Craigslist from a Buddhist Temple that bought an Anglican Church, which are now organized into booths and separated by confessional screens. Fortunately, the shucking station, with bivavles peeking out from under the resin cover on the bar, has remained the same. The food and service are adequate, but doesn't doesn't hold a candle to the undeniable quality and charm of Starfish. Such a shame. If the world is our oyster, it's up to us to find the pearls. We're going to keep looking or go see Patrick at the cottage.

Oysters are still shucked at the bar but I miss the old Starfish

A dozen oysters: Malpeque, Daisy Bay and some from New Zealand 

Grilled Rosemary Focaccia

Pearl Diver Burger with dry-aged beef, caramelized onions, smoked cheddar cheese,arugula, pickles, PD secret sauce and frites

Fish & Chips: Atlantic Haddock, sweet and sour slaw, house tartar sauce and frites

Grilled Whole Sea Bream served on the bone with grilled lemon

Moules in a coconut cream sauce with ginger, chili, lemongrass and cilantro 

Frites with the moules...of course

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