pixelbunny's picks

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Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill

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For our second Summerlicious date, Mr. Pixelbunny and I went to Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill. We both love the Distillery District for its architecture and atmosphere, so we couldn’t pass up an excuse to be in the area.


The Atmosphere

To get there, you walk in through the main gates and turn left at the first lane way. Walk down a short distance and it will be on your right. We got a table outside so I can’t really comment on the inside. Because the floor is basically an old brick road, be prepared for unevenness when you’re walking about. Also, because of the unevenness, your table will be a bit crooked.

There’s lots of tables outside with large umbrellas to help shield you from the sun. The chairs are wide metal chairs that are perfect for sitting back and relaxing with a beer, but not all that comfortable for dinner. It’s actually a little difficult to sit upright because the back of the chair is so far reclined. So just remember, chairs are great for patio-ing, not so great for meal times.


The Food

Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill - Watermelon Mint Lemonade
Watermelon Mint Lemonade Mocktail – $5

I started off with the watermelon mint lemonade. It was cool and very refreshing, due to the amount of fresh mint leaves that was used. You can definitely taste the watermelon and mint, with a hint of lemon.


Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill - Blue Raspberry Fizz
Blue Raspberry Fizz Mocktail – $5

Mr. Pixelbunny ordered the blue raspberry fizz. The neat thing was its aesthetic. You can see the layer of blue raspberry on the bottom, completely separated from the red layer. However, make sure you mix it before you drink it! Otherwise, you’ll get a large dose of extremely sweet syrup from the blue. A little bit fizzy with the tartness of raspberries, but still too sweet for me.


Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill - Fresh bread and butter
Complimentary bread and butter

After we made our orders, they brought out a basket of fresh bread and butter. The bread reminds me of ciabatta bread and I received two white, and one whole grain. The butter is a whipped butter so it’s super fluffy and light, making it very easy to spread. They’re both very fresh and tasty, and I tried very very hard not to have more than one.


Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill - Grilled Octopus
Grilled octopus

For my appetizer, I chose the grilled octopus. It’s served with a smoky babaganoush, endive slaw, and chimichurri sauce. What I liked about the octopus was that it was cooked just right, tender and juicy, not dry and chewy. The babaganoush had a slightly smoky flavour to it that went really well with the octopus. The endive slaw was a little on the soggy side. The sprouts that were served on top were definitely fresh as it had that fresh “crunch” to it. The chimichurri sauce was good on its own, but not a great pairing with the octopus.


Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill - Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon Fillet
Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon Fillet

My entrée was the pan seared atlantic salmon fillet. Unfortunately, at first glance when the dish was set before me, all I could stare at was how charred and solid the salmon was! I was really wary about how the salmon would be because it looked and moved like a solid brick. I cut it open, and to my relief, it was still moist inside. Just a side note: I do prefer my fish to be slightly undercooked because I find it much more juicy and tender that way. The way I found this salmon was not to my liking. It was seared much too long and the entire outside of the fillet (both the skin and the fleshy side) were both dry and crispy. Although the inside was still moist, it’s still over done for my liking. I didn’t mention any of this to the waitress because I wasn’t sure if this was the kitchen’s intention. However, after watching several salmon dishes walk past my table to other guests, I’m pretty sure that this is the way it’s meant to be served. Some may like it, but for me, I wasn’t a big fan of it.

The salmon was served with roasted jewel potatoes, sautéed kale, and a romesco sauce. The potatoes were great, the kale very good, and the romesco sauce a really good pair with the salmon, helping to moisten the salmon a little more.


Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill - Strawberry and Rhubarb Crème Brûlée
Strawberry and Rhubarb Crème Brûlée

Dessert was the strawberry and rhubarb crème brûlée. First, let’s start with the garnish: it’s a slice of peppered shortbread. It’s a slightly dense cookie, but the pepper is a really interesting flavour to it. You have the sweet and savoury of the cookie, but an added touch of heat from the pepper. Brilliant! The crème brûlée itself is very good, with a smooth and silky custard and a hardened sweet shell on top. The strawberry and rhubarb part is actually a purée that’s found at the bottom of the crème brûlée. I thought the combination was ok, but I would have preferred the crème brûlée by itself.


Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill - Mussels
Mussels in Traditional Sauce ($17) with Sweet Potato Fries ($6)

Mr. Pixelbunny wasn’t all that interested in the Summerlicious menu, and instead, was fixated on the Monday night special: all you can eat mussels! He ordered them in the traditional style, which was steamed mussels in a garlic, tomato, shallots and white wine sauce. The mussels were sweet and juicy, with some large ones and some small ones. The only complaint was that they weren’t cleaned all that well because quite a few of the mussels still had their “beard” (the stringy, thready part). He also ordered sweet potato fries on the side, which were pretty awesome. You could they they were cut straight from the sweet potato and not processed at all. They were a little over fried for my liking, but they had a great, sweet and soft inside, and generously sprinkled with coarse salt.


The Verdict

We found my Summerlicious picks to be so-so, and made me wonder how their meat dish fared. I’m not a fan of how they prepared their salmon, but I did like the way they grilled the octopus. It’s definitely worth their daily specials should you choose to go.


The Place

Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill
17 Tank House Lane, Toronto, ON

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Written by Jessica

July 16th, 2013 at 11:53 am

Posted in Food,Restaurant