Toronto Day 1 : Lobzilla 4-ways

E is an easy to please man. He requires only one thing each time we travel back to Toronto – his giant 10 lb lobster. And who was I to deprive him of this fancy feast?  We rounded up family to head to Omei Chinese Restaurant in Richmond Hill to feast on their delicious Lobster 4-ways.  I’m sure I could probably find it closer to Boston, but it just feels right to have to wait for this mega meal ’til I’m surrounded by friends and family.

Our lovely 8.25lb friend was shown to us when we were seated at our table. He was then quickly whisked away to the kitchen – never to be seen again in whole form.  The pricing has stayed relatively the same over the years at about $19/lb (they prepare it 4-ways as their specialty).  Split among 6 people, it afforded a pretty sizable portion for each person.

The first course is a delicious Garlic Steamed Lobster with Vermicelli. The thicker arm pieces are hacked lengthwise, topped with fragrant garlic, steamed and placed atop a bed of vermicelli – whereby the juices are allowed to flow over the delicate noodles and perfume them. This is usually my favourite course out of the 4 different methods of preparation.

The second course is Fried Lobster Legs prepared with spicy salt (Jyew-Yeem). Lightly doused with flour and then flash fried with chilis and a spicy salt mixture, these crispy babies are like lobster-pops! I usually treat myself to a few legs of lobster-lollies and suck on them for a few minutes to get all the flavour out. What a ingenious preparation to get an extra course out of an otherwise inedible portion of the lobster.

Next up is the Maggie Sauce Wok-Fried Lobster Meat. The larger, meatier chunks of lobster are granted this treatment with the signature Chinese (MSG-laden) Maggie Sauce. I rarely allow myself the treat because I’m trying to go All-Natural/Organic and Maggie sauce is probably the furthest you could come from that philosophy. But it’s just so good I cannot deny myself a few morsels. The Wok-Hay (Air of the Wok) is incredibly in this preparation and you really can taste the heat coming off this dish.  Don’t wait too long, or else the aroma dies down and the lobster becomes more pedestrian.

The final course is Lobster “Brain” (Tamale) Fried Rice.  Chinese never let anything go to waste, and I’m so happy this is especially true when dealing with Lobster Tamale.  One of my favourite parts of the lobster is its rich, green tamale (“brain” in the head region of the lobster). It’s like the ‘foie gras’ of the sea IMO (not necessarily the Monkfish Liver, as is often claimed to be such).  It’s luxurious feel on the tongue lends well to this treatment of frying and pairing with the ubiquitous staple of Chinese meals: Rice.  Fried Rice is a great final course because if you’re not full on 8lbs of lobster by now, you sure will be by the end of this course!  Fried garlic is sprinkled on top to cut any hint of ‘fishy-ness’ as well as to lend a textural contrast to the rice.  Never soggy, a fried rice is pretty much a perfect one bowl meal.

But in case you weren’t full, they have some delicious desserts (count them: not one, not two, but FIVE courses) to round out the meal. My favourite this time around was the sesame balls (aromatic and nutty with the freshly toasted sesame seeds), followed by the Tong Sui or “Sugar Water” made of taro root and tapioca.  The other courses were Tong Sui of Red Bean, a mango and coconut confection, as well as fried dough dusted with sugar.

Unfortunately, this time the lobster wasn’t up to their usual standard. It was still really good, but lacked that polish to make it one of those ‘parting the heavens’ moments. I’d still return though and would recommend it to anyone as a quintessential Toronto Seafood Experience. It’s definitely one of my favourite stops of my former home town.

Omei Chinese Restaurant

420 Highway 7 E Richmond Hill, ON

2 Responses to “Toronto Day 1 : Lobzilla 4-ways”
  1. Jared says:

    I like how they used tape to wrap the claw because it is so huge. The meal looks awesome and the pairing of the lobster and the cooking method goes very well together. Thanks for the recommendation. This will definitely be one of the stops when we visit Toronto again.

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