With the Fraser River and the Pacific Ocean at our doorstep, we’re blessed with choice when it comes to fish. If you’re ready to deviate from the regular staples – fried fish and grilled salmon – the good news is there are lots of options. Here are our three local favourites.
Fresh Sheet: Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant
This delicate, rich fish is served on a bed of taro root mash with a side jicama slaw. Photo Credit: Lauren Kramer
The fresh sheet at Blue Canoe (140 – 3866 Bayview Street) changes daily and with good reason. With the public fish sales float right next to it, they – along with the other waterfront restaurants like Sockeye City Grill and Kove Kitchen – get the first pick at the freshest seafood available. If you see them serving up sablefish on the fresh sheet, though, make sure you stop by to get a taste of this OceanWise approved dish.
Executive Chef Sean Greenlay began adding more summery seafood dishes to Blue Canoe’s menu when he joined the restaurant in October 2015. Some of the additions include tuna poke in a mason jar, Thai curry mussels and a revamped fish taco with pico de gallo for the spring season.
The sablefish is another one of his additions – and it’s a good one. The soft, buttery fish is glazed with orange balsamic and served on a bed of taro root mash with a side of cucumber jicama salad for only $32 (pictured above). Chef Greenlay’s passion for serving fresh seafood dishes comes through in this delicious dish – it’s clear he’s determined to raise the bar on how the seafood is prepared and what it’s paired with.
Springtime seafood at American Grille
American Grille’s Danilo Ibarra has a tasty treat for Spring: tuna ceviche marinated in coconut milk, accompanied by swirls of fried plantain chips (pictured, top left). The fish tacos at American Grille, bottom left, are a combination of cod, ling cod and halibut. Photo Credit: Lauren Kramer
American Grille‘s (7571 Westminster Highway) Executive Chef Danilo Ibarra has two fabulous dishes on the menu perfect for the spring season. We loved the tuna ceviche ($15), served in a cocktail glass with a rim of celery salt containing chilled albacore tuna. Marinated in coconut milk, this decadent, rich dish, easily shared, is heady with the flavours of lime, cilantro, creamy avocado and jalapeno. It’s served with whirls of freshly fried, crisp plantain chips, ideal tools for loading up the tuna.
“The sashimi grade albacore we get here is so good, you can eat it raw,” said Ibarra, a Nicaraguan-born chef who infuses his cuisine with Latin American influence. His take on ceviche is fun, lighthearted and summery, ideal for a quick, easy meal.
Another dish perfect for two is the fish tacos ($15, pictured above), where he features a combination of halibut, ling cod and cod spiced with smoked paprika. Served in gluten-free corn tortillas, it comes with a pickled slaw of jicama, red pepper and jalapeno, avocados and a green tomatillo sauce.
Cantonese style seafood at Shiang Garden
Shiang Garden’s En Ping-style tilapia is served on a bed of glossy noodles with cilantro, ginger, spring onion and jalapenos. Photo Credit: Lauren Kramer
Situated on the third floor of a building deep inside Empire Centre, Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant (2200 – 4540 No. 3 Road) is clearly a favourite; its dining room is consistently packed with people throughout the day. A colleague steered me this way, suggesting I order the Enping-style tilapia, a whole steamed fish.
An order of a whole steamed fish isn’t unusual at a Cantonese-style seafood restaurant; it’s quite standard. Steaming the fish as a whole is one of the simplest ways of preparing the dish. This style of preparation is also a benchmark for chefs: a perfectly steamed fish has flesh that is just cooked at the bone but never dry.
Unlike other baked or grilled meatier salmon dishes, the Enping-style tilapia was a lighter and more flavourful dish. It was doused in soy sauce and topped with cilantro, spring onions, ginger and a surprising hit of jalapeno, which gave it a nice heat. It was a good shareable dish and an aromatic one as well.