Having heard many a thing about the Shore Club, a Vancouver based Steak and Seafood restaurant and lounge, I was thrilled when they opened a spot in downtown Toronto about two years ago. I had visited them a couple times pre baby and had an enjoyable experience with stellar service and quality food. Which is why I was thrilled when they invited me, the hubs and the Little Monkey to visit them for a meal during our recent visit to Ottawa! I had no idea they had a spot in Ottawa as well! Best part is that it’s right in the heart of downtown Ottawa- perfect for visitors like us!
Given that we had just arrived into Ottawa that evening we were glad that dinner reservations were already planned. Despite the serene VIA Rail journey, the Little Monkey had refused to take any of her naps so we were a bit anxious in taking her to a fine dining establishment in a cranky state. Luckily for us our walk over to the Shore Club was just what she needed to fall asleep! SCORE! I’m not going to lie, the hubs and I were excited to get some peace and quiet as she lay fast asleep in her stroller. I know our hostess wanted to play or atleast say hi to her as she kept walking by as the Little Monkey slept! Very cute! Not to worry she got her chance to play peek and boo with the little one towards the end of the evening.
Amidst the interior designs reminiscent of art deco ocean liners, lies some very cool paintings and displays. One that caught my eye was a larger than life painting in the private dining room (apparently by renowned Vancouver artist Shannon Belkin) of a shipping vessel braving the storms. I can’t help but also mention the ABSOLUT ELYX wall of glimmering bottles and bubbles, I used to work on that brand in a previous life and had infact been part of that display project (oh how our worlds collide!). As for being baby friendly, the warm welcome, the attention to the Little Monkey, availability of high chairs and the fact that there is a sofa in the washroom, means that kids can easily be accommodated. I used to think that the Shore Club was for business meetings and date nights but having the little one along made me see that it’s a great spot for kids as well. I particularly liked the washroom sofa as it’s a good place to take a kid for a quick timeout if necessary. Luckily we didn’t need to use it for that (but I did have to do a diaper change on our our change pad!) but it’s comforting to know that there is a spot for a breather, away from those enjoying cocktails at the bar or conducting multi-million dollar transactions.
We started off with a specially curated mocktail for me (I’m guessing some pineapple, maraschino syrup and a bunch of other goodies) and the hubs had a Moroccan Brown Ale by Spearhead. The chef surprised us with a tuna amuse-bouche while we waited for our appetizers of Spicy Popcorn Rock Shrimp (I love it so much!!! Perfect balance of salty and spicy), Scallop and Prawn Ceviche and Premium East Coast Oysters. I was very jealous that the hubs got to enjoy the Oysters whilst I watched on. That’s one thing I won’t cheat on during the pregnancy, don’t ask me why! You’ll notice we went heavy on the seafood as we know that there’s no failing when it comes to quality seafood at the Shore Club. It’s like you’re on the coast. In hindsight I should have got some Pan Fried Oysters for myself, but I knew I was saving space for a lot of dessert!
With so many choices we knew we had to spread the love between some surf and turf and let me tell you, it was a tough choice to make with so many great offerings. The challenge was trying out new menu items that I hadn’t sampled before, despite wanting what I had before! On our server’s (who was super attentive, baby friendly and charming all at the same time!) advice I got the Baked Arctic Char (though I really wanted the Pan Seared Ahi Tuna – oh pregnancy!) with Kalamata Olive and Roasted Tomato Tapenade. Ofcourse I threw in a side of King Crab legs.. how could I not? The hubby got the Daily Feature which was a Surf and Turf combination of Spice Rubbed Rib Eye with a butter poached Lobster tail. While the lobster tail was a bit smaller than expected we were surprised that there was a very delicious corn bread that accompanied the dish. It was like no corn bread either of us have had before. It had some pickled and spiced veggies in it which was a pleasant surprise. The sides are quite large, so keep that in mind. Ofcourse you can request smaller sides if needed but I tend to lick my creamed corn plate clean when it comes down to it, so we didn’t worry too much about it. The sauteed spiced mushrooms were also a nice salty addition to the dishes. All this was enjoyed with a bottle of Chateau de La Dauphine 2009. The Shore Club has some great cocktails and since I wasn’t able to enjoy them this time around, I opted for a small glass of red wine instead. Needless to say, their wine list is sure to please even the pickiest of connoisseurs!
Timing worked out perfectly as the Little Monkey was just waking up so she was able to enjoy some dinner as well. Our server quickly whisked over a high chair for her and brought out the kids menu. The Fish and Chips is what she decided she’d like so that’s what we got. She ofcourse loved my mocktail and I kid you not, the child ate the entire fish! When it comes to food we struggle with her so we were thrilled that she enjoyed her meal! I took out the batter and gave her the fleshy parts and it went down like cheerios! For a kids portion the meal was quite large and quite the bargain at just $10. I wasn’t expecting a kids menu at the Shore Club so it was a nice touch to our evening. Another thing to note is that you can customise the chips that accompany the dish… shoestring, thick cut or French fries… our little one loves the thick cut so that’s what we chose. Shh… we ate more fries than she did!
Oh my favourite time of a meal. I had not one… but three desserts! The Key Lime pie was by far my favest! It was tart, sweet and smooth and went down my belly very quickly! I’m extremely picky when it comes to Crème brûlée, so sadly the Shore Club Crème brûlée did not please my palate as it was more caramel like than I’d prefer. That said the Sorbet Trio was not only pretty but just what was needed on a warm summers evening! I could definitely use a key lime pie as I write this review! No lie!
I look forward to visiting the Toronto Shore Club soon! Perhaps our next extended family gathering or drinks with our friends for birthday celebrations? Glad to know that I can bring our Little Monkey along for the ride and not need to save our visits for adult only occasions! Have you been? Any favourite dishes I should be aware of for our next visit? By the way..