Pure Spirits is an oyster and seafood restaurant in the Distillery District. For those of you who don’t know, Distillery District is an area in downtown Toronto where they converted old Victorian Industrial buildings into artistic and hype restaurants, bars, cafés, art galleries, boutiques and more. Because the buildings are old, it gives the whole area a rustic feel meanwhile having a modern chic edge added to it.
Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill
17 Tank House Ln, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4
For my birthday this year, my boyfriend decided to take me to Pure Spirits to try something new. We enjoy seafood but we have better luck buying our own seafood and cooking it at home (or shucking our own raw oysters).
Once I walked into Pure Spirits, I was pleasantly surprised by the cozy and chic decor and friendly staff. Not to mention that spring is finally rolling around and we were sat in a nice booth right by the window.
Considering that this was an oyster bar, we decided to go for some oysters to start off the night. There were soooo many to choose from so I went to my default – ask the server for recommendations =P. He told us that he could get us an assorted dozen so it made life easier for us. We got 4 different types. Starting from the right side of the lemons going counterclockwise – Beausoliel and Malpeque (from the East), Kusshi and Kumamoto (from the West). Even though the Kumamoto was probably the smallest kind, it was by far our favourite. Basically, if you don’t want to try a variety, just stick with the West Coast =P.
Personally, I prefer my raw oysters clean and simple. Some lemon juice and a touch of horseradish is enough especially when the oysters are fresh. However, if you like your condiments, they provided the typical cocktail sauce, mustard-based sauce and a citrus cucumber sauce (refreshing, but doesn’t really do anything for the oysters). I recommend going au naturel.
I went for the black cod and dungeness crab paella – $35. The saltiness of the chorizo and paella was perfectly balanced with the fresh and mild flavour of the cod. The skin of the cod was also perfectly crisp and flavoured. I also enjoyed how much seafood I got with this plate. When I thought I was out of cod, I found crab, then I found squid, then I found chorizo. It was like never ending supply of seafood and pork =). My only complaint was that I wish there was more cod. When you run out of cod and is just left with the paella and chorizo, the salt kind of overpowers the dish. Luckily, I was pretty full by the time that happened =), but just a heads up for those of you with big appetites.
My boyfriend went for the bouillabaisse – $31. Try saying that three times fast =P. This plate was loaded with seafood as well. The best part about it was how fresh and light the dish was. I loved the combination of the monkfish and potatoes on the cheese coated baguette, a very complete combination of flavours. However, as mentioned, this dish is really light in texture and flavour, so for those of you know like you spices and strong flavours, I would go for the paella instead.
For those of you who have followed us for awhile, you know my obsession with crème brûlée. If I see it, I have to have it and this was no exception. There’s actually nothing perticularly different or unique about this one, no fruits, no different flavours added, just classic and delicious. I really liked the contrast of the really cold custard with the warm crusted sugar. The contrast was more drastic than any other crème brûlée I’ve had in the past. I would skip on the biscotti though, wasn’t that crunchy and didn’t do much for the dessert.
I hope that you are inspired to try something different and new the next time you head out to a restaurant.
Enjoy the warmer weather!