Introducing: The Commodore, a seafood-focused spot in Parkdale
Name: The Commodore
Contact: 1265 Queen St. W., @TheCommodoreBar, commodorebar.ca
Previously: Wasabi, a short-lived vegetarian sushi restaurant
Co-owners: Jon Vettraino and Jason Romanoff
Chef: Jon Vettraino (F’Amelia, Splendido, 416 Snack Bar)
The food: A seafood-heavy menu of small sharing plates (oysters, a seafood tower, calamari ragu risotto and smoked mackerel rillettes), plus a few bistro classics with modern ingredients (like the grilled bavette with potato purée which comes with a choice of shiitake mushroom gravy or uni butter).
Pork cheeks and tongue are cooked sous vide for three days, then topped with maple-caramelized apples. $12.
Romanesco gratin gets a kick from roasted garlic and pecorino. $8.
Swordfish crudo is topped with pickled sea asparagus and mustard seeds, Trinidad peppers, shiso leaves and crispy chicken skin. Vettraino sources his fish from Fisherfolk and Hooked. $13.
Duck confit tourchons are topped with Kewpie mayo, chilies, scallions, peanuts and mint, and served on a tapioca starch, rice flour and coconut cream crêpe. $12.
Pumpkin pudding, topped with a graham cracker crumble and torched marshmallowy meringue, is served in an antique teacup. $8.
The drinks: A short wine list of affordable bottles is complemented by Ontario craft beer, including seasonal draught from Nickel Brook, Left Field and Oast House. The cocktail list is heavy on the classics (French 75, Vieux Carré) with four house specialties (like the on-tap Bobby Burns made with scotch, sweet vermouth and benedictine).
Lolita: earl grey–infused rye, Islay scotch, Amaro Nonino, egg white, lemon, sugar. $12.
The space: “We wanted it to look nautical without being kitschy,” says Vettraino, “so no lobster traps or fish nets.” Marx Kruis, who designed Bar Isabel, transformed the 35-seat spot with faux-vaulted ceilings painted white to make the room feel more like a ship’s hull. The lights that hang above the bar have real maritime cred: they were salvaged from Captain John’s now decommissioned ship.