BY ANNE DESBRISAY
Who knew a first-rate clam chowder could be had in a sushi joint on Merivale Road?
I had come here for the (new-to-me) Oyster Bay Restaurant’s (new to them) lunch service. My plan was to check out the sashimi/sushi combo platter at this Japanese replacement for the long running MHK Sushi and Asian Fusion Restaurant. But Oyster Bay’s menu’s has a funny mix of things, so along with the usual raw fish and rice snacks of various permutations, you find spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine with seafood sauce, Thai beef carpaccio, and clam chowder.
The lunch combo ordinarily came with miso soup. For three dollars more I had the option to upgrade to the clam chowder. So lunch at Oyster Bay turned out to be a classic, creamy clam chowder with a sushi/sashimi chaser.
I’ll have more to say about Oyster Bay in a few weeks once I’ve thoroughly mined its long and disparate menu. But for now, know that both the soup and the sushi were total winners. Possibly the shock of discovering a really good bowl of Boston style clam chowder in a Japanese restaurant added to the pleasure… still, here was a generous bowl of fat clams, firm potatoes, onion, celery, carrots and fresh herbs – cilantro, basil, thyme – in a thick, clean-flavoured broth enriched with cream. Full marks.
The sashimi, nigiri and maki were pretty on the plate and cool and clean in the mouth. The cold fish was generously draped over perfectly calibrated, slightly warm and loosely packed rice. Again, top marks.
Looking forward to dinner… and the extensive oyster bar.
My soup and sushi/sashimi lunch cost $20.
Oyster Bay, 1519 Merivale Road, 613-680-5555
Open for lunch Tuesday to Friday : 11:30 am – 2:30 pm