One of the reasons Claire and I went to Leslieville was to visit Hooked. Claire is a chef and she had heard from her colleagues about this great fish store. I haven’t been to many fish stores, but Hooked is an incredibly cool place. Its focus is on sustainably caught fish and seafood. The two owners, a husband-and-wife team, are professional chefs who really care about where their fish comes from. They buy direct from fish farmers and fishers across Canada. There is tons of selection, and the staff are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Overall it’s just a beautiful place to shop. They also carry a selection of sauces, marinades and pickles made in-store to complement your fish meal. Hooked even runs a teaching kitchen where you can take classes on fish preparation.
We picked up some oysters and fresh sardines for supper. It was a delicious fish feast, and only my second time eating oysters. The first time was after my father’s funeral 8 years ago, and I wasn’t a fan of the slippery sensation. This time I really enjoyed them! The taste reminded me of mussels, and I loved the salty brininess. They tasted like the sea. Dad loved oysters, and I think he would have been pretty proud to see his chef daughter cracking them open and the three of us knocking them back.
We broiled the sardines, and their firm, creamy flesh had an incredibly rich flavour. They were, however, on the large side (about 8 inches long) and full of bones. The meal was a long one – and at the end of it, we were all left with sticky fingers and plates covered in tiny fish bones. But it was worth it.
888 Queen Street East
206 Baldwin Street