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