Friday, April 14, 2006

Don't Crush that Kingklip, Hand Me The Pecans

I had walked by Joe Fortes Seafood restaurant before and saw kinds of fish on its menu I'd seen nowhere else. Exotic (to me) species. I'm always on the lookout for things I've never eaten that sound edible. Recently meeting someone who used to be a chef there and having friends in town who appreciate restaurants and seafood put Joe Fortes on my list of places to eat at.
They claimed not to know the restaurant, but once inside, our guests Kiyoshi and Miyoko recalled having dined there in their years living in Vancouver. Named for a life-guard and swimming teacher from the early 20th century, the place had a late Victorian ambience I quite liked. Dark wood, brass and ferns. I could imagine Mark Twain emerging from the restroom, thinking of something clever to say, but lighting a cigar instead. Fumiyo complained about the noise. The website said it was a popular meeting place, particularly for oyster-lovers. Not being one of those, I studied the "regular" menu, the specials and the list of exotic fish, and decided on Pecan Crusted Kingklip. Would it live up to its royal name? First, we had a couple of big plates of Coconut Curry Tiger Prawns, with chiles, cilantro and lime. Delicious. The fine bread made a perfect sponge to soak up its delicate yet complex sauce. Fumiyo, still full from lunch at the Orange Club Cafe in North Van, thought she'd had better versions of the same dish elsewhere, but the guests were content with both appetisers and their entrees. Kiyoshi ordered the Trio of Fish and Miyoko ordered from the fish menu. She was in search of fish in sauce and the buttery sauce on her salmon was as close as the menu got to what she wanted. Fumiyo ordered the pasta with prawns and scallops, and ended up taking most of it home. My first taste of Kingklip was amazing. I'd never had a fish melt in my mouth like that. Then I discovered I was eating the mashed potatos. The fish and the potatoes were in a BBQ sauce that reminded me of an exotic BBQ brand of catsup from the 60s. Kingklip was supposed to taste like sea bass, according to what sites mentioned it on Google, but I could see no similarites. The pecan crust really added to the flavour combination. The wine pairing was perfect. I don't know if Kingklip is available in fish stores or in any other restaurant but I intend to find out. We all bypassed deserts and specialty coffees and after a considerable wait, the valet brought our car. On the news channel, a piece about Martha and the Vandallas. The piece opened with a comment to the effect that you don't normally sing in libraries, but Martha and her group sang at the Library of Congress today. I'd heard that my comedic heroes The Firesign Theatre were going to have their masterpiece Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers put into the museum along with Martha and this was a report about that event. Martha (or someone) said her tune Dancing in the Streets was the anthem of Motown (a chat friend suggested she was wrong- MONEY was the anthem of Motown) and then Phil Proctor appeared on the microphone, saying, I think, that he was happy that Dwarf was now in the Library of Congress because it meant he didn't have to keep it in HIS library. A news event I didn't expect to hear on a local Candian news station, and to my further surprise, news that friends who follow the Firesigns closely hadn't heard the news item broadcast in the States. Last summer when I was in Washington DC, I met a Firesign scholar named Schoolboy who was determinted to get at least one of the Firesigns great albums into the Library, and it appeared that he'd succeeded. Wonderful news on top of wonderful food.


At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too had Kingclip for the first time in Madeira this year. Wonderful! I do hope my fishmonger sells it, but I doubt it


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