Tuesday, October 6, 2015Cloudy 15°C


Posted by Anna Rose Kowalski / Listed on March 9, 2012 / review policy

CatchCatch, which opened quietly early in February, boasts itself as the new it-spot for fresh fish in Toronto. From the owner of The Rushton, Francesco Pronesti's latest project incorporates sustainable fishing but lacks a flashy lure. I arrive at 744 St. Clair Ave West to find the front door locked. Inside, the bartender waves us around the corner to a nondescript door on Rushton Road. Throughout the night others attempt and fail to enter as I did, which is a bit awkward and disruptive.

The crowd is 40-plus and the music is a confused mix from my iTunes account seven years ago. I'm off to a rough start but soon our sweet (struggling actor) server arrives. His charm and knowledgeable banter promises smoother sailing ahead.

Appetizer: PEI Mussels ($9)
Arriving in an enticing display the mussels come with a classic garlicky aroma, and my mouth starts to water. I dig in and I'm not disappointed. There's no gritty feel; the shellfish are steamed to salty perfection. The secret is a lobster broth, which lends the mussels an almost sweet and tangy flavor. Chef Nigel Finley, a Halifax native, proves he's no novice when it comes to bivalves.

Mains: Sea Bream ($16) and Arctic Char ($16) with side of Brussels Sprouts ($7)
Catch TorontoThe Brussels sprouts arrive fluffy and picture perfect green. After a quick sauté in white wine the vegetable holds its firmness without being undercooked. Paired with hazelnuts and Parmesan, I want the bowl to possess the power of Mary Poppins' magic purse and never end.

Catch TorontoAfter my arctic char let down at The Westerly I'm hesitant to give the fish a second chance, but I decide to be the bigger person and dive in headfirst. I'm amazed at how juicy and brittle the fish is. The dish also houses roasted artichokes, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes and tarragon buerre blance. The dish is light but packed with sultry savor.

CatchThe hot fishy affair I'm having is duped by the sea bream that tastes like bad wedding fare. Bream is a flat yet succulent fish, but the kitchen has dropped the ball on this one. Coming stuffed with blue crab and no real taste, I'm underwhelmed. The attempt to infuse flavor with a crab stuffing falls flat.

Dessert: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich ($8)
CatchAt this point in the night I feel a bit let down, so I desperately await the dessert menu. However our server offers us a treat that isn't on the menu tonight — the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have no idea what to expect after the bream, but I'm praying for a buoy to get me back to dry land.

Bread, check. Peanut butter, check. Strawberry jelly, check. Vanilla ice cream, check. It's a delightful gooey mess that has upstages the rest of the meal. That may not be the best sign for a fish-centric place, but it sure helped temper my mixed feelings about the meal.




Sharon / March 9, 2012 at 10:31 am
Did you try any non-fish centric entrees? There seem to be so many on the menu.
mike / March 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm
ill be checking it out for sure. Just nervous about going to the STCLAIRDISASTER area
Mmse / March 10, 2012 at 08:18 pm
Absolutely delicious!!
Tim / March 13, 2012 at 04:36 pm
Hi everyone - a number of comments were removed from this post because they violated our comment policy. Specifically, the part of our comment policy that states "We will also remove comments that...serve merely as non-constructive insults to staff."

If you have issues with the quality of the writing on this site, it's appropriate for you to address that via a note to the site's Editors, not via the comment threads. Thanks for your understanding.
Marvin replying to a comment from Tim / March 14, 2012 at 08:26 am
OK, the food looks intriguing enough for us from the photos to stop by and try it. However, wending through poor prose to get to that conclusion is not fun.
opensource1111 / March 14, 2012 at 01:05 pm
Tim, my comment stated that I was eager to try the restaurant, and that it was too bad about other comments being deleted. Exactly how does that violate your comments policy? Also, a cursory review of the comments section in other reviews reveals an inconsistency in your enforcement of said policy. Practically, you are merely stoking the fires of our readers who are annoyed with this arbitrary (and seemingly thin-skinned) response to what fits exactly within the overall tenor of comments on this blog.
opensource1111 / March 14, 2012 at 01:09 pm
If you want to end this matter, then you can delete all comments previously posted, and close to any further comments. Or beter yet, remove the review entirely. It seems to have served little constructive purpose in any event, give the number and nature of the comments elicited.
opensource1111 / March 14, 2012 at 01:13 pm
One last thing - if I provide a "constructive insult" to your staff, will that be ok? E.g. "Your crappy writing style would be improved greatly if you thought through your comments before writing what appears to be a stream of consciousness blurb."
sal / March 14, 2012 at 01:26 pm
Here's something constructive. This blogger should take a writing course. Also should take a few years and maybe expand her palette. This way we wont have a blog that looks like its written by someone who is just parroting terms they've seen other food critics use without actually knowing what they mean or how to use them.
Adam / March 14, 2012 at 01:29 pm
Anna, you are 100% spot on! Good Work!
Wayne / March 14, 2012 at 01:39 pm
Nice review!
I've passed this place a few times in my travels but never ventured in..

Keep'em coming!
Stephen / March 14, 2012 at 01:41 pm
Mmmmmm... That arctic char sounds fantastic! Well done (:
Melissa / March 14, 2012 at 01:49 pm
I agree, PEI the mussels are a menu item are very good. Worth a return trip. Great review. The next time I go I hope to see the peanut butter dessert is on the menu!
Jenny / March 14, 2012 at 01:51 pm
Love this review and will definitely try the restaurant on the basis of this write up. Many thanks
Stevie / March 14, 2012 at 02:19 pm
Those brussel sprouts make me want to go there immediately!
Carson / March 14, 2012 at 03:07 pm
Great review! I would go just for that dessert!
joe-e replying to a comment from Jenny / March 14, 2012 at 04:08 pm
You must go to the same grade as Anna. The photos are top-notch, I must say.
rickie / March 14, 2012 at 05:47 pm
LMAO at all the author's self comments posted within ten minutes of each other..This is just getting sadder
Allie / March 14, 2012 at 06:07 pm
Mmmm, looks good! I'm not a big fish/seafood gal but the food here looks pretty tasty. I think you'd have to pursue me pretty hard to pay $8 for a PB&J sandwich :P.

Looks like @opensource1111 needs a snack...or maybe a nap.
Allie replying to a comment from Allie / March 14, 2012 at 06:08 pm
Jacquie / March 14, 2012 at 06:22 pm
ANNA your on your game :) :)
Elizabeth / March 14, 2012 at 09:11 pm
The mussels are good, but the rest of the food/dining experience was a little lacklustre. If I lived in this end of town, I'd probably go here now and then, but it won't become a staple.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from rickie / March 15, 2012 at 09:39 am
She sure likes to make up names like Jacquie (can't spell you're) and Melissa. Kids at play, I guess. I feel bad for the restaurant owner and the 'sweet struggling actor'. The meals do look appetizing.
Adam / March 16, 2012 at 10:20 am
Let's keep in mind that this is a food critique, not a lesson in literature. Thanks Anna!
RCGUY / March 16, 2012 at 11:46 am
actually, it was a food review that turned into a discussion on censorship.
Tom / March 16, 2012 at 03:11 pm
Thanks for the review Anna. It's too bad about all of the 'Grammer Officers' who decided to comment. I clearly understood everything in the review. I look forward to the next one!
Paul / March 16, 2012 at 08:40 pm
Thanks for the review Anna!
DL / March 19, 2012 at 11:58 am
The review really wasn't bad (or good). It's just a review on a restaurant. Some people will agree with the reviewer, some will disagree. There's nothing wrong with that, and that is the point of some of these comments, it seems. I know I had a comment deleted, and all I said was that I thought the reviewer was of two minds. You can't keep just the comments in your favour while shutting down everyone else's voice, not without looking childish.
DK / March 20, 2012 at 02:15 pm
I went there with some neighbourhood friends on Sat, March 17. We had reservations at 8:45 but had to wait outside for 10 minutes until our table was ready....luckily it was a mild evening. Once we were seated, we gleened over the menu and found it confusing....apps mixed in with entrees vs. the typical apps on left, entrees on right. We order drinks first and mull over menu some more. Drinks were good and healthy portion. Once we are ready to order, our waiter tried to explain the most dishes were meant for sharing but couldn't really articulate size portions. So, we ended up ordering an app and entree each and share it that way. Much to our surprise, there were some menu items sold out (this is fish bar.....how could that be???) If it was a steak bar, would they run out of steak? Anyway, once the order came it did not seem to meet our table's expectations....disappointing. Plus, it wasn't a cheap night out...we just ended feeling we spent a lot and not satisfied. Not sure I would recommend this to anyone.
Mick Taylor / March 20, 2012 at 08:46 pm
I was caught by Catch, but never again. Sorry we're out of the Halibut... Oh, sorry we're out of the

Sea Bass. You must be joking, should have gone to grab a filet o fish sandwich.

Way over priced for for what ya get.
danielle replying to a comment from DL / March 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm
Agree. Especially when blogTO lets looney and/or vicious trolls go wild in certain comments sections. I made a similar comment about the reviewer being of two minds and was shocked when it was deleted. Normally I never bitch about this site, as I'm very grateful we have it and consider it a terrific resource. In fact I find blogTO tolerant of a lot of negative and irrational comments toward it, so this whole redaction policy with regard to innocuous - and valid - criticism directed at the reviewer came as a very unpleasant surprise.
RCGUY / March 31, 2012 at 01:57 am
this is so old news now. Final word: stop censoring our comments.
Allan / July 18, 2012 at 08:35 am
I came on this site to get reviews and all I found were thirsty egos fighting over everything but their opinion of this restaurant. get rid of all comments not related to a "review" so people like me can really see what people are thinking about the restaurant.
Allan / July 19, 2012 at 01:26 pm
I went on a Wednesday night and sat outdoors. The service was terrific. We had the one pound trout which was seasoned well as well as the lobster linguini. We shared sides as well and the asparagus was tremendous. There was no charge for the bread, as previously suggested, but I found the dessert menu to be weak. The coffee was espresso, so delicious. All in all, a positive experience. I would venture there again.
Garneau / August 24, 2013 at 10:46 pm
I ate here last night and way better than the middling reviews led me to expect. I can count on one hand the restaurants in Canada that I've been to that actually understand how delicate you have to be to cook a fish well, and this place is up there. Just really great.
Margo / October 3, 2014 at 01:25 pm
The food is excellent. Try the Red Snapper and the shared side dishes were also very good.
MArc / October 6, 2014 at 01:45 pm
They recently regraded and redid their menus.

One of the best seafood games in town. The seafood tower is AMAZING.
Gordon / April 3, 2015 at 12:55 pm
Posted to their website:
"Catch is changing ownership and as a result, will be closed as of
Sunday March 8, 2015. We have had a great 4 years and appreciate all
of the loyal customers and excellent publicity and community partnerships.
I want to thank everyone for their overwhelming support. Our next steps are
to celebrate the upcoming 10 year anniversary of The Rushton and we look
forward to being a part if this great community for years to come.
Catch has gone fishing... but not for good!
Thank you,
Frank Pronest"

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