I know I’ve made fun of Vegans before on my blog, don’t get me wrong, dietary choices are everyone’s right and freedom of choice and I’m not one to discriminate or judge ANYONE based on what they will or won’t eat… but c’mon… “VEGANS”. Bahahaha, man, I crack myself up sometimes. You can’t blame me for it, those idiots set themselves up for it sometimes. There are many kinds of diets and ways of eating that are observed, I, for one subscribe to a very personal and strict rules of dietary views; I’m on the all seefood diet, I see food, I eat it.
I recently hit up one of, if not the THE premiere seafood and oyster bar restaurants in Montreal, Maestro SVP. Situated on the trendy strip of The Main, Masetro SVP celebrates oyster season all year round; with up to 60 different varieties (chalkboard states the daily specials and arrivals). I’ve been here for the oysters before, but I’ve come back for the seafood.
We started off with the crab cakes. Plated with a sweet citrus sauce, these two tangerine sized monsters are all killer with no filler. Opposed to crab cakes from other places where they’re fried, the ones at Maestro SVP are pan seared – the light crust is ideal to maintain the delicateness of the crab, rather than inundate the cake with batter and oil that would completely overwhelm the palate with oil and muting the inherent sweetness of the crab. It’s like that cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition of Kate Upton in a bikini with a down jacket that’s barley on… Genius.
The tuna tartar was served with a side of fried crispy wonton skins, garnished with chili powder and wasabi. The fish was fresh and chilled to the bite, tart hits of citrus and pepper and bitter greens contrasted the soft bite of the fish as did the crunch of the wonton chips. Perfect little cubes of fish are such a pleasure to eat knowing someone took the time to meticulously prepare this simple yet extremely thought out dish.
A page out of the Mad Men menu that would only satisfy the palate as sophisticated as Don Draper, came the Maestro SVP Coconut battered fried shrimp. Explained to us by the owner – Ilene who was in the house that night – the recipe hasn’t changed in over 20 years since she started the restaurant. Why reinvent something that works, that’s tasty and isn’t seen anywhere anymore anyways? Any any any. Served with an orange-horseradish sauce, the shrimp was tender and timely cooked in parallel with the coconut batter. The sweet heat from the dipping sauce complimented each bite… coincidentally, “Sweet heat” is my middle name.
We also split an order of fried calamari. Smaller than other places, the fried calamari remains bite sized and less cumbersome and lets you remain sexy while eating your cephalopoda on a date… then again, I don’t know why you’d want to be eating calamari on a date and stank up your breath… unless the both of you eat them, then it’s all cool. Extremely light, the dish is served with a gin-sour cream sauce.
My friend had the shrimp sautéed in garlic served with parmesan risotto and haricot vert almandine. To say the least the shrimp were gargantuan, if they weren’t pink and looked like a shrimp, I would have thought they were cupcakes.
Perfectly cooked, the tender shrimp were lightly bathed in aromatic oil that was kissed by garlic. The risotto was creamy – as risotto should be – and the haricot vert, sweet.
My girl had the spicy grilled shrimp with fries risotto and asparagus. The sauce that was made with black garlic and hot peppers definitely woke up the palate; a certain tartness from the black garlic came right through the thick heat that was overly present. The asparagus were rather large stalks – indeed seasonal – seemed to be on the plate to be on the plate – uneventful and green.
The fried risotto were teeth-shattering crusty bricks that bit into a creamy bite of cheese and wine. The spectrums of both texture and flavours were explored, from the contrast of textures from the snapping shrimp to the crust then the velvet rice, to the sweet balsamic tartness of the black garlic to the heat from the sauce; all components were represented.
On mondays Maestro SVP has an “all you can eat” mussels special. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! Served with fries and mayo, your order of mussels comes with a choice of sauce. I started off with the classic white wine sauce. Aromatic in shallots and garlic, the brother complimented the mussels which were substantial and fresh. I finished one order and decided to hit another one to try the other sauce. After my second round of the basil and honey sauce, started to slow down. My valiant effort was halted before I could challenge the third sauce – the marinara.
There’s a certain refinement about Maestro SVP; lightyears away from your run of the mill fine dining restaurant that happens to serve a couple of seafood dishes on their menu. Prices aren’t very budget friendly to those who are in a pinch, but in the end seafood – proper and *FRESH* seafood – is something you ever want to skimp on; quality, always think quality. When I think oysters, Maestro SVP automatically comes to mind – their Oyster bar is something to behold; daily imports and the sheer availability of so many varieties, the staff is knowledgeable in the intricate nuances that makes each species different from the other. When you make your business all about seafood, seafood is your business and Maestro SVP makes it like no one else’s.