Restaurant: The Boil Bar
Location: 633 Silver Star Boulevard, Scarborough, ON M1V 5N1
Price Range: $$$
While boiled seafood have been all over the States for quite a while, the concept just started popping up in Canada recently with Captain’s Boil (review here) being the first one in Toronto. But watch out Captain’s Boil, the Boil Bar have just recently opened in Scarborough (with a second location coming to Downtown soon) and it has been the talk of the town! At the Boil Bar, seafood are delivered to the restaurant at 3:30PM daily right before opening to ensure maximum freshness! Thanks to Yvonne from Sweven Media for organizing this grand opening night, I was able to sample some of the items from Boil Bar.
Just to recap, the concept of seafood boil is that the seafood is cooked in plastic bags with your choice of sauce, no utensils are provided and you are supposed to use your hands. One thing I really liked about the Boil Bar was that the restaurant provided a bucket for seafood shells, thus keeping the table quite clean!
So it is the battle of Captain’s Boil vs Boil Bar. Wanna know which seafood boil is better? Keep on reading :)!
Since this was a media tasting event, the menu was already set but we were allowed to order anything on the menu after the tasting. Basically there is a 3-steps ordering process:
- Choose the seafood: crawfish (seasonal), crab, king crab legs, snow crab, lobster, shrimp, mussel, clam.
- Choose the sauce: cajun, lemon pepper, house sauce, garlic, curry.
- Choose the spiciness level: a bit, mild, medium and super spicy.
We started off with the oysters, which are from Diana’s Seafood, meaning these were definitely plum and fresh! I recall that there was no accompanied condiments that you would normally see with oysters, however it isn’t a big deal as a dash of fresh lemon juice is the best condiment for oyster anyway ;).
No one likes raw garlic and garlic breath. Well I’m happy to tell you that Boil Bar won’t give you that! I love how the garlic sauce wasn’t overpowering with just a hint of heat – complimented perfectly with the well-cooked mussels!
These were a bit annoying to eat as I would get empty shells at times and have to dig through the bag for those tiny clams. Otherwise, the house sauce was flavorful but it was spicier than what I expected! I’m not too sure what kind of spices they used here, but there was a hint of cumin that lingered at the back of my throat – which was quite unpleasant for some foodies that I spoke to.
Side story: Yvonne (Sweven Media) helped me to peel off the shell of the crawfish because I was struggling… I’m not useless, I can eat and support myself – I swear (!).
Anyhow, to eat crawfish, after you peel the tail you must try sucking the head! It’s not gross at all, you are simply tasting the juice from the boil combined with some of the fat from the crawfish. While the crawfish was cooked well, I found that it was quite bland. However another foodie mentioned that the second batch was more flavorful than the first, thus I assume since the cook made a big batch for the tasting night, not all of the crawfish was able to soak up that delicious cajun sauce.
I swear I could have finished this baked lobster by myself.. but sharing is caring :). There was a thick layer of creamy cheese and mayonnaise on top of a perfectly cooked lobster. I love that they pre-cracked the claw, so I didn’t have to struggle so much to grab those sweet lobster meat out of the claws ;). I think it would have been even better if they sprinkled panko on top for some texture though. I noticed that other than the claw meat, there wasn’t much lobster meat anywhere else so do take note of that.
I didn’t find the lemon pepper sauce to be spicy and the pepper was almost nonexistent. They gave us extra lemon to add more flavor but I felt it wasn’t needed. I like that the sauce was light and enhanced the natural sweetness of the crab meat.
Other than boiled seafood, Boil Bar also serve dishes on a sizzling hot plate – similar to Aka Teppan (review of Markham location here and downtown location here). The portion here was smaller and I found that the meat – in this case chicken – was already cooked and the hot plate was there just to warm up the food. Nonetheless, I liked that the chicken had a light breading and the skin crisped up from the heat, while still maintained moisture on the inside.
My table already ate the corn before I could snap a picture – rude (I’m joking). The grilled sweet corn from Boiled Bar was similar to the one I had at MeNami. The corn was sweet and soft, but they weren’t as crunchy as the one from MeNami though.
Other than the seafood boil and teppan style dishes, Boil Bar also offer other snacks and Presotea Bubble Tea as well. My only complain of the night is the service. Actually, I dislike the service at both the Boil Bar and Captain’s Boil – Downtown location. The servers seemed like they hated working there and they weren’t attentive – even for a media tasting night, just saying.
So which restaurant is better!? *Drum rolls*
If you check my review of Captain’s Boil, I didn’t like it because the sauce was too garlicky and it was so overpowering that I couldn’t taste other flavor. In term of price, I checked the menu and the Boil Bar was a few dollars cheaper than Captain’s Boil. With that said, I wouldn’t come back on a regular basis as it’s quite expensive, but I can say that the Boil Bar have finally satisfied my craving for seafood boil.
Disclaimer: While the food was provided by the Boil Bar, I am not obliged to publish a review on the business. All opinions/thoughts are my own. For more information about my review policy, please click here.