This past Saturday, I was invited to a media tasting event at the Grand Opening event of The Boil Bar in downtown Toronto. Having had success in their uptown store, The Boil Bar has expanded a flagship store near the busy intersection of Yonge & Bloor at 664 Yonge Street. You can get there by either walking from Yonge & Bloor subway station or Wellesley subway station. What is different at The Boil Bar’s seafood boils compared to other ones is that they infuse alcohol into their seafood boils and cocktails! We were all looking forward to trying out these alcohol-infused seafood boils! 🙂
The event began at 6 p.m. and even when I arrived, there were familiar foodie bloggers and instagramers shuffling dishes full of seafood this way and that in order to capture the perfect photo. I can learn a lot of food photography styling from these guys!
Yvonne of Sweven Media was one of the staff hosting the event that night. She did a really great job at decorating the entire place! The restaurant had a large dining space with various booths and tables for a comfortable dining experience. The nautical theme was present throughout the restaurant, even with some creative Spongebob sketches in the fake “ship windows” on the wall. As it was also the Halloween weekend, there were fake spider webs and balloons all hung around in the colours of the Halloween spirit — these balloons came in use later in the evening.
Yvonne urged us to get a cocktail first from the bar and to sit whenever we liked. I sat with some three foodie friends and it was a great time dining with them all evening!
I chose the Caesar Seafood Cocktail. When all of the Seafood Cocktails came out, everyone clustered around these unique cocktails to take a photo. I had never seen any cocktail presented like this! It was truly creative and made you want to take a photo no matter if you were a food blogger/instagramer or not: There was a freshly deep fried soft shell crab on top of each Seafood Cocktail!! It was held up together with some mini plastic sword toothpicks and was incredibly cute — its eyes were made with olives also put together with the plastic swords. There were also two fresh shrimps tacked on to it as well. I waited patiently for mine since the Mojito Seafood Cocktails seemed to be the first ones out of the bar.
The wait was worth it! I felt like mine was one of the larger sized soft shell crabs out of the all the other ones (not that size really mattered), but I also thought mine was the cutest! I mean, just look at those big olive eyes! In any case, I loved sipping on this Caesar Seafood Cocktail topped with a soft shell crab.
The fried soft shell crab was really nicely fried. I was actually really impressed with how after being fried, it didn’t fall apart. It also stayed put after being assembled on top of the drink (I remember when I went to eat this on a burger at Fresh Off The Boat, it fell apart easily and that wasn’t even perched precariously on top of a drink — and that’s not to say it wasn’t delicious; only that soft shell crabs are easy to fall apart after being fried). I also really liked how fresh and firm the shrimps were! (This was a prelude to the similarly delicious shrimps that we ate later that night.) The big stalk of celery in this Caesar was also fresh and juicy! I munched on it often throughout the night to break up the seafood dishes.
Anyway, enough about the drinks, let’s get on with the food! The first “snack” to be served to us that night were the Fanny Bay Oysters. These fresh oysters were very plump and meaty! There was a bit of dry ice on the platter too to give it some chill.
The French Fries, although regular-sounding, were very good! We were all hungry so we munched on these quite a lot — regretfully so because we were SO full by the end of the night with food — keep reading. 😉
The Lobster Bisque didn’t come with Garlic Bread as it said on the menu (not a big deal) and it was actually really good! I loved how creamy and rich it was. I especially liked the little shrimps on top of the bisque that gave the bisque more character and deliciousness. Hard to describe but I just really liked this lobster bisque!
The Deep Fried Broccoli wasn’t as deep fried as the name implied. It was really nice to have this veggie dish. I liked how it was slightly seasoned with what tasted like crumbled vegan cheese on top to give it some flavour. Don’t quote me on that though; it might have been just regular dried cheese bits, or something. 😛
After these snacks, the seafood components started arriving! Yay! The first entree to arrive on the table was the British Clams in a Sake Boil. There were bits of garlic in it too and this seafood boil bag of clams was absolutely amazing! The sake wine fit the clams perfectly flavour-wise and the garlic was perfect. We all really liked this one!
The Halifax Baked Lobster was split in two so each person got to have their own half. Yum! I love lobster. This was baked with lots of creamy cheese on top of it — although I am a huge fan of creamy cheese, I did find that the creaminess of the cheese overwhelmed the flavour of the lobster. The lobster meat itself was delicious though!
The British Columbia Mussels with Sweet Corn and Sausage were in a garlic and mild spicy sauce. It was definitely a tad spicy.
We also had shrimps too in a similar sauce — this wasn’t put on the menu to signify what sauce it was. Like I mentioned before, I really loved these shrimps! They were fresh, really firm, meaty, and plump! You can’t get better tasting shrimps than these. 🙂
The British Columbia Dungeness Crab wasn’t part of a seafood boil but prepared in a stir-fried fashion with Signature Sauce and mild spicy sauce. The spice clung on to the shell of the crab so it wasn’t terribly spicy. I found that the piece that I got was a bit dry. The others said theirs were juicy. Thus, this one was just okay-tasting to me.
By this point, we were all really, really full. The fullness had to do in part because the dishes all came at a rather slow pace — much slower than most tastings I’ve been to — and when you eat slowly, you usually feel fuller over time (for me anyway!). The owner came around to ask us how we were doing and if we wanted to try more dishes (there were actually at least three or four dishes that hadn’t even come out yet), but since we were so full, we said yes to try two more dishes before we were done for the night.
The second last dish was the Cheese Baked Beef Rice. This arrived on a hot sizzling plate where you would pour sauce and toss it around on the plate in order to mix everything together. Yum. It smelled absolutely amazing. I loved how cheesy it tasted and the beef was really good too! This was a new item on their menu.
We finished off with the Cheese Baked Udon. (Come to think of it, we had a lot of cheese-infused dishes that night.) It was pretty good and the cheese was saucy enough. However, Raymond and I thought that the udon tasted more like noodles than udon, which is supposed to be more chewy in texture.
After this, we did receive one more round of oysters — we had asked for this in the very beginning. Also, there was a prize “draw”! What the balloons were used for at the event was that they actually contained hidden prizes for us to win! We all popped the balloon that was tied to our chair and tried to see if the paper inside of it had signified us winning or not. Someone won a $40 gift certificate to the restaurant and there was one more prize that no one was able to claim. What a fun way to give out prizes! 🙂
After all this, it was already 9:30 p.m. and I had to leave (transcript duties awaited me). The others still stayed until the rest of the night to finish off the grand opening tasting.
Thank you again to Yvonne, the entire Sweven Media team, and certainly the staff and owners at The Boil Bar for their generous event and service. We were all so full and couldn’t even finish eating everything on the tasting menu that night.
The Boil Bar has been operating out of this Yonge location since September 25, 2016 and is giving 15% off their bill for a limited period of time. If you haven’t tried eating seafood boils yet (and getting messy with your hands), this may be a good time to do so! 🙂
FTC Disclaimer: Although Sweven Media and The Boil Bar reached out and invited me to a complimentary tasting to review this restaurant, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the companies.