I'll start off by strongly recommending reservations at least a week in advance if you're looking for a specific date and time. I called on Tuesday to make a reservation for Saturday night, and with some sweet talking, managed to get a reso for 4 people at 6:30pm. And if you're not a fan of seafood or fish (raw or cooked), this isn't the place for you. You must enjoy eating many creatures of the sea if you're going to get the most of this restaurant. The price is also a bit steep (cha-ching went my brain when G told me the price for our half of the bill), but you are getting top quality food here. I would recommend this for a special occasion, even if that occasion simply becomes a once-a-year visit just because. Whalesbone is a small spot and gets a bit loud when it's full, but it's a fun atmosphere to enjoy with friends.
We sat at a shared table, which included our party of 4 on one end, and a couple at the other end. This didn't bother us in the least. We were also happy to see that a server we had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions was now working behind the bar at Whalesbone. Good sign.
We started off with a platter of 24 oysters. A mix of 12 East and 12 West coast beauties. Memory serves, both G and I fancied the West coast ones most. The 3 sauces provided included a red wine vinegar and shallots, a tomato-based spicier sauce, and a third which escapes me at the moment (likely due to the 2 bottles of wine shared during dinner).
We followed the same sharesy approach to the rest of our meal. I gotta say, all the starters on the menu were really appealing, but we settled on 3: scallops, swordfish and tuna. Each dish was distinct and included interesting combinations of ingredients that played well with the flavors of the fish (or mollusk in the case of the scallop). I'm pretty sure I could have polished off all 3 by myself, but then that would have just been sheer gluttony (but, I would have been a-okay with that).
We then decided on 1 entree per couple. G and I shared the Lobster Risotto, and our pals ordered the Walleye. I can't comment personally on the Walleye as I didn't try it, but there were only very positive Mmmmm sounds coming from their full mouths. To be honest, I was too focused on enjoying every morsel (and there were huge morsels) of lobster served over top the most wonderful risotto I've had in a long time. Creamy and wonderfully seasoned. As you can tell from the picture below, I immediately dug into the dish when it came out and only decided to snap a pic when a few bites of the risotto were left. I could have easily used my fingers to swipe every last bit of goodness on that plate, but somehow I restrained myself (even after we had polished off a lovely bottle of French Chablis).
For dessert, each couple ordered the Churros con Chocolate. I can't tell you how excited I was that this was on the menu. G and I tried this deep-fried goodness while travelling in Spain last Fall, and I didn't think we'd fine this in Ottawa. Two huge tube-shaped, deep fried dough sticks served on a plate with a small tub of warm chocolate pudding for dipping. Such a fun dessert to cap a great evening enjoyed with friends.
The next time you're craving some delicious seafood, you want to share a fun night with friends and you're willing to shell out a bit of do-re-mi, spend an evening at Whalesbone. You will leave there feeling happy, full and wanting just one more oyster for the road.
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