FISH LEGEND

Fish Legend

For my father-in-law’s birthday the Hubby and I recommended dinner at Fish Legend, a new Sichuan restaurant in First Markham Place (FMP) that opened this year. The restaurant specializes in stone pot fish, where a large stone pot (go figure) filled with broth and fresh fish is cooked at the table. My first encounter with this dish was in Mississauga and it’s a great experience for anyone who enjoys fish soup.

Atmosphere: As is the norm, parking at FMP was difficult to find and the restaurant was full of diners. Which most tables hosting a bowl of simmering soup, the steam built up inside the dining room. We were settled into a comfortable booth near the back of the restaurant. I liked how each table was separated by either a partition or aisle. Each table had a built in stove, similar to the grills at Korean BBQ restaurants. The restaurant decor was traditional with lots of wood, screens and Chinese style paintings.

Service: Like many restaurants in Markham, there were servers at Fish Legend to accommodate English, Mandarin and Cantonese speakers. The Hubby spoke to the first server in English, who showed us to our table. Then I asked questions about the menu in Mandarin, and we asked for water in English. I found service felt more hectic and tense than it needed to be. There was a lot of staff manning the dining room but service was more reactive than proactive. The staff stood around, ready to be needed and then rushed to each table when they were called. Not bad, but it didn’t create a relaxed atmosphere with people rushing around. Each table was equipped with a call button.

Food: There was no menu, just an ordering sheet that had very limited descriptions. The two signature dishes at Fish Legend were Boiling Water Fish and Stone Pot Fish. This was the first time I saw the ability to customize the type of fish used for boiling water fish on a menu. Since we wanted to the try the stone pot, we decided against two fish entrees. Fish Legend also offers crayfish coated in a Sichuan sauce, a dish we had in Suzhou this summer. Next time, I’d love to try Fish Legend’s version.

For the Stone Pot Fish, the fish options were listed by price/lbs and we were given weights of the fish available by the server. We chose to go with a live catfish, which would be cooked bones and all. The fish soup continues to cook at the table and can be treated similar to hot pot. Fish Legend offers a selection of typical hot pot ingredients at $1.99-$2.49 per portion. We decided to try the tofu skin and handmade noodles.

The heavy pot full of fish and chilies. I found the fish fresh and tender but there were many bones that required caution while eating. The flavour of the broth was authentic, leaning more towards numbing than spice, but still had a good level of heat. I really enjoyed the tofu skins and noodles, which soaked up the broth after cooking. Next time, I’d order fewer dishes and more side dishes to hot pot.

Other dishes we tried that night were chicken with dried chilies, pea sprouts and a stir fried lamb and green onions. I order chicken with dried chilies at every Sichuan restaurant I visit and this was the first time I had to deal with more bones than meat. My best guess was that chicken wings were used. Seasoning and flavour were fantastic with lots of heat and numbness that kept me eating despite my lips burning and having to pick out tiny bones. The pea sprouts sauteed with garlic were young and fresh. Although the menu listed lamb with green onions, the dish arrived with normal onions. Delicious, but not what we expected. The onions added a sweetness that was a nice compliment to the rest of of fiery meal.

Fish Legend
Fish LegendFish Legend
Fish Legend
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