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Restaurants

Cool City Oyster Yard

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Listed on July 8, 2013 / review policy

Cool City Oyster YardCool City Oyster Yard is now open off the east side lounge at 99 Sudbury. The name captures all the important things to know; it's connected to one of the city's mot popular venues; it's about as urban as you can get (the tracks are mere meters away and passing trains audibly rush by almost like a stand-in for a coastline); oysters are the main event, and, the yard is entirely al fresco, constructed from reclaimed wood skids.

Cool City Oyster YardCo-owners Marco Petrucci and Chef Michael Pataran are the same busy pair who are also undertaking the revitalization of the El Mocambo. The duo plans to take advantage of this new space as late into the season as possible. Currently, the patio is not all-weather-ready but plans for a permanent trellis and outdoor heaters will shelter diners from the elements before summer's end. For now just count your blessings on sunny days.

Cool City Oyster YardOysters brought in from Diana's and Daily Seafood are available in seven to nine varieties daily (try the plump Fat Bastards if you can). Listed at market price, dozens are discounted and served on trays with mounds of fresh horseradish and unique house-made condiments like JalapeƱo lime jelly, Bahamian hot pepper sauce and Japanese pickled shallot and cucumber vinaigrette.

Cool City Oyster YardThe Crawfish Boil (MP) with corn cob discs, kielbasa and fingerling potatoes is spilled out from a bucket for easy pickin' with bread on the side to mop up the smoky Creole spiced broth. Instructions on how to get at the best morsels are available for novices like me - bibs too. Tables are knowingly stocked with rolls of paper towel; it's a messy hands-on task to get through, but worth it.

Cool City Oyster YardThe raw Tuna Salad ($19), akin to a Hawaiian poke, is coarsely chopped and mixed with avocado, pumpkin seed oil, citrus zest, and hot peppers. But it's the most unsuspecting condiment that makes the rich, buttery components all sing together: a swish of koji salt (a fermented remnant of the sake wine making process, better explained in this LA Times article).

Cool City Oyster YardFor the table, cocktails are available by the pitcher ($45) along with draught beer and 750ml bottles ($19-$27). The wine list from Master Sommelier, John Szabo boasts an eclectic array of thoughtfully chosen bottles to go well with seafood.

On Sundays, a seafood-centric brunch offers up eggs benny or flapjacks with lobster plus an inventive caesar menu; in the evenings, there are Paella specials that will feed from two up to twelve. Other weekly specials like, Piss n' Spuds on Tuesdays see a 60oz Muskoka Weiss paired with a bucket of clams for $30.

Cool City Oyster YardPhotos by Tracy Zhang

Discussion

13 Comments

Rick / July 8, 2013 at 09:50 am
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Place looks amazing - Must go here.
Amanda / July 8, 2013 at 10:08 am
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I ate here last week and it was phenomenal! The staff were all knowledgeable and friendly, and the food was delicious. Try the crawfish boil! Try the fat bastard oysters (they are, as the name suggests, plump and delicious!). Try the octopus which just melts in your mouth. I will likely go back to try that tuna - yum!
Where's Waldo? replying to a comment from Amanda / July 8, 2013 at 11:06 am
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I really love those hyperbolic comments that sound like they're coming from friends of the proprietors!

In all fairness, the words "fat bastard" certainly do suggest plump, but I'm not sure that they suggest "plump and delicious".

Anyway, the food looks good and the place looks like it will have a fun atmosphere. Going to try it soon.
AC / July 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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Tried this place last week - great food and service. The Fat Bastards were my favourite as was the Lobster Club. The tuna was a bit bland however the grilled octopus was really good and a fun selection of cocktails. A definite recommend.
John replying to a comment from Amanda / July 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm
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How much did they pay you to write that?
chris gibbs / July 8, 2013 at 01:53 pm
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I ate here last week and was provided with excellent service from the oyster shucker/bartender named Misha (one of the funniest bartender's I've ever had the fortune of meeting btw)I'm definitely returning multiple times this summer...the crawfish is stellar and the vibe on a hot sunny day there is perfection. I felt like I was on vacation, which is a rare sensation for me in downtown Toronto.
Where's Waldo replying to a comment from Amanda / July 8, 2013 at 02:47 pm
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I would also like to point out that such fake sounding comments actually dissuade, rather than persuade, me to try a restaurant. Just some food for thought.
Jared / July 8, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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I went here last weekend and everyone really enjoyed the food. Our server wasn't the most knowledgeable on everything on the menu but we liked everything we got and I really liked the shrimp dish (forget the name of it but there was only one on the menu). Oddly enough, while the Oyster's were good, I much preferred all the other dishes.
magic city replying to a comment from Where's Waldo / July 8, 2013 at 03:40 pm
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you just made me want to go to the restaurant because you are an angry troll. i know monday's are tough, but come on son.
Where's Waldo replying to a comment from magic city / July 8, 2013 at 06:37 pm
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Ha, whatever mate. I already said in my first comment that I'm keen to try the place out. Food looks hearty and the place looks inviting. But what you call "anger", I call healthy skepticism. I also have an appreciation for genuineness, and that comment from "Amanda" just strikes me as being way too over the top to be genuine. John above seems to agree, so at least I'm not alone on this.

Anyway, whatever, who cares. If it wasn't raining and pouring, I'd probably be dining al fresco tonight at the Oyster Yard. :)
Al / July 14, 2013 at 11:54 am
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Was there this past saturday night(July 13th),we got there around 7ish, and the place was packed. So the wife and I sat at the bar, which was perfectly fine. Kinda provided the comical entertainment for the night.

I guess it was probably a bad idea to visit the same night after a good Toronto Star review came out for them. They were literally packed, with people waiting 30-45 minutes for bar seats.

Anyways, first impression, the staff were trying their best to meet the increased demand, and were very friendly.(some overly friendly, I'll get to that in a bit).

The seafood was very good, but that is just the suppliers, we had 2 dozen oysters of 3 different variety, and were very fresh and delicious. Not too crazy about the 3 types of condiments they provided, i just like them natural.

I had the crawfish boil for my entree and again, the crawfish was nice and fresh. However, the creole sauce that they made it in, wasn't what I expected from a 'New Orleans' crawfish boil. I spent 1 year living in Louisiana, and their crawfish/seafood boil has a different flavor, more spicy.

In general, the food is very good, but are they better than Rodney's or Starfish for oysters? that is up for debate.

The kicker here was, we got to the place around 7ish, and didn't leave till 10pm. That was how long it took for us to get our drinks(3 beer), an order of oysters, clams and crawfish boil. The sardines we ordered never showed up, and by 10pm we were tired of sitting there waiting for food.

Note to the overly friendly oyster shucker, sure customers enjoy a pleasant and friendly bartender/shucker, but when your kitchen is backed up, and the customers are waiting for your oysters, maybe its time to focus on getting the orders completed, instead of chatting with the folks just in front of your shucking station.
The rest of your customers waited 2+ hours for the orders, which included oysters. While the folks that were in front of you got theirs instantaneously, this leaves a bad taste for the rest of the customers.
Jacquie / July 15, 2013 at 01:15 pm
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WORST SERVICE EVER!!!
Nicole / July 25, 2013 at 11:19 am
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I ate here last night. Our reso was for 7:30pm and we didn't leave until close to 11pm because that's how long it took to get our food.

It took a while to get a drink after ordered (between 15-20 minutes), two entrees were mixed up and one plate of himachi had to be sent back.

The lobster dish, crawfish boil, shrimp and salman tartar were fantastic dishes.

I felt pretty bad for the staff all night as they were severely under staffed (I would imagine the kitchen was too)....so it lead to pretty bad/slow/inconsistent service the entire night.

To make up for it our server bought a bottle of vodka and sent us two free rounds through the end of the night (for the entire table of 10)

It just comes down to service, really....

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