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What’s on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson’s new Queen West steakhouse

By Liza Agrba| Photography by Daniel Neuhaus
What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse

More on Prime Seafood Palace

“No matter how long you take, you can’t be prepared for something like this”: After six years and one pandemic, Matty Matheson's Prime Seafood Palace is finally open
Food & Drink

“No matter how long you take, you can’t be prepared for something like this”: After six years and one pandemic, Matty Matheson’s Prime Seafood Palace is finally open

Name: Prime Seafood Palace Contact: 944 Queen St. W., primeseafoodpalace.ca, @primeseafoodpalace
Neighbourhood: West Queen West Owner: Matty Matheson Chef: Coulson Armstrong Seating: 66 indoors Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

In line with Matty Matheson’s initial vision for Prime Seafood Palace back in 2016, this is, first and foremost, a steakhouse menu. But, for chef Coulson Armstrong, the through line is restraint. He eschews superfluous complexity (but not luxury) while pushing prime product to the peak of its potential.

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Matheson and Armstrong

Dark-amber grains of Kristal sturgeon caviar are served with a full suite of thoughtful accoutrements: house-cultured butter and crème fraîche, molasses bread, and brunoise-cut chives, to name a few. The steak selections include a meltingly tender A5 Wagyu and a 30-day-aged bone-in striploin. Upstairs, whole fish destined for a gorgeous crudo are dry-aged to umami and textural perfection.

Lavish indulgences notwithstanding, you can just as easily have a complete meal of simply prepared vegetables or barely embellished seafood. Matheson intended the space to be inclusive: come as you are, wear whatever you want, and enjoy the culmination of the six-year odyssey that was bringing the restaurant to life.

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
A dollop of cream infused with five-year-aged parmesan nests in ultra-velvety Yukon gold mashed potatoes. It’s all finished with a gobbet of silky chicken demi-glace. (Anyone else seeing the Eye of Sauron here? Just me? Okay.) $16.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
A 100-gram tin of Kristal caviar with a host of accoutrements: butter, spun and cultured in house from Hewitt’s Dairy cream; whipped and likewise house-cultured crème fraîche; brined and freshly fried kettle chips; chives; shallots; and brioche-based molasses bread finished with a brown butter glaze and Maldon salt. The full tin costs $500, but you can order an ounce for $100. Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
A crudo of (from the bottom up) wild king salmon, kampachi (yellowtail), and bluefin tuna, seasoned with mirin and sea salt. The salmon and kampachi are dry-aged in house for firmer textures and deeper flavours. The piscine trio sits on a punchy dressing of finely chopped caper, red onion, anchovy, chive and golden Sicilian olive oil. A grating of fresh wasabi is the final touch. $45 for the small (pictured here), $80 for the large.

 

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What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
It’s a good thing we have a pair of hands for scale here: these shrimp, from the Gulf of Mexico, are absolute units. They’re poached in a court bouillon, peeled and served on a shiso leaf with house-made cocktail sauce finished with grated horseradish. $55.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Here we have a crunchy-coated puck of savoury steak tartare. Beef from a Guelph-area farm is seasoned with a house-made chickpea miso, Kozlik’s Daily Dijon mustard and shallot. It’s plated with fried garlic, a generous coating of toasted sesame and lemon zest. Two pillowy slices of toasted and buttered house milk bread (not pictured here) come on the side. $40.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Left to right: steak tartare (with the toast this time), crudo, shrimp cocktail.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
A tender seafood boudin (sausage) of scallop, shrimp and ham is wrapped in napa cabbage from Matheson’s Blue Goose Farm, grilled and covered in lardo (cured pork fatback). A bright, zingy house-made ponzu sauce with yuzu and Osprey Bluffs honey makes up the dark base. $32.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
This is the Dungeness crab cocktail: BC crab steamed whole, picked and placed back in the head with chili oil and butter. In the ramekin on the right, we have tomalley (or crab fat) sauce with onion, vermouth and cream; the amber pool in the centre is oil made from roasted crab shells. Talk about nose-to-tail cooking (or whatever the crustacean equivalent of that is). It’s all garnished with Blue Goose chervil. $60.

 

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What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Front and centre are the pillowy Newfoundland-lobster-and-ricotta dumplings. Lobster cream—cream steeped with roasted lobster shells and aromatized with vermouth, tarragon and fennel—gets frothed last minute to cover the dumplings in an ethereal foam. $45.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Here we have an East Coast halibut filet with a stunning trout roe beurre blanc. Fish bones are dried over the hearth to serve as the base of a classic Japanese dashi with kombu and katsuobushi (dried, smoked tuna loin). Butter gets emulsified into the dashi for a silky consistency, and it’s all combined with coral jewels of trout roe, French tarragon, chives and green garlic. $50.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
A hand-dived Maine scallop doesn’t need much to be its best self. Here, it’s broiled, enriched with a Szechuan compound butter and finished with a squeeze of lemon. Notice the orange roe on the left: a briny, subtle part of the scallop that contrast wonderfully with its sweet flesh. It’s all topped with sprightly fava bean shoots. $40.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Amber Szechuan chili oil, Cheese Boutique stracciatella and neat shingles of lacto-fermented white asparagus are topped with Humboldt squid (that’s the giant kind) that’s been grilled over embers, sliced thin and dressed simply with lemon zest and olive oil. $30.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Here we have the 20-ounce, 30-day-aged bone-in striploin. All steaks are cooked over a mix of ash, maple and birch before getting brushed with “beef tasty butter”: beef garum, black garlic, cremini mushrooms and brown butter blended to an earthy, deeply umami-rich sauce. $125.

 

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What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
In another rendition of impeccably sauced steak on a plate, we have a 9-ounce Ontario filet mignon, crusted in black peppercorn and served delectably au poivre: that is, with a sauce of demi glace, shallot, green and black peppercorn, cream, and brandy. $95.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Here, Blue Goose breakfast radishes and hakurei turnips are the vernal sidekicks to a meal of meat and fish, but they’re good enough to stand alone. Under Matheson’s phone is a massive Yorkshire pudding made with Conestoga eggs and cooked in beef fat. Notice the gorgeous steak knives—they emerge, conveniently, from each table’s personal cutlery drawer.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
This is the key lime pie: a graham brown-butter crust and condensed-milk lime custard are topped with neatly piped Swiss meringue and a vibrant sprinkle of lime zest. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
PSP’s take on an ice cream sundae is a trio of house-made rhubarb, dark chocolate and buttermilk ice cream topped with grated Valrhona 74 per cent chocolate and a delectable caramelized-milk crumble. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Matheson, looking pleased as punch.
The drinks

The wine program centres on food-friendly varietals from Old World producers: your Barolos, Burgundies, Bordeaux and Champagnes. (Read: no funky, cloudy natural wines here.) Cocktails lean toward the classics too. Expect soda-based highballs and spirit-forward tipples with thoughtful nuance, like a negroni with a split base of subtle Dolin red and spicier Cocchi vermouth.

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What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
Drinks at PSP are built or stirred, never shaken, because all that racket would disturb the dining room’s palatial serenity. That makes constructing a cosmo somewhat tricky, but bartender Caileigh Crabbe solved the conundrum. She came up with a pre-batched version of the classic cocktail, made with cranberry juice, lime, Dillon’s vodka and triple sec. The twist? Using milk, it’s clarified like a consommé over the course of a few days, separating the lime solids and leaving behind a clean, clear, textured drink. $18.

 

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
This is a fairly classic negroni of Campari, Dillon’s Dry 7 gin and red vermouth. It gets a touch of intrigue from a split base of subtle, traditional Dolin red vermouth and a spicier Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. $15.

 

The space

“Everyone glows in here,” says Matheson—and glow they do, though you wouldn’t know it from the bare all-white façade. Designed by architect Omar Gandhi, who normally creates residential projects in the Maritimes, the nearly monochromatic room is all warm Canadian maple, creamy leather and brass accents under a high ceiling of arched maple slats. Intentionally cathedral-like in its serene grandeur, the space contrasts the traditionally hypermasculine steakhouse aura of red leather, dark tables and tuxedos. And check out the bathroom, where a custom sink depicting Lake Erie is dotted with a pin marking Matheson’s Fort Erie home.

What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse
What's on the menu at Prime Seafood Palace, Matty Matheson's new Queen West steakhouse

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