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Lucille's Oyster Dive: Have you ever been to sea, Billy?

Have you ever been to sea, Billy?

Generous helpings of scrumptious sea critter, off the wall
Photo: Marianne McEwen

Lucille's Oyster Dive offers a perfect storm of maritime delights

Lucille’s Oyster Dive, a seafood joint and raw bar on NDG’s Monkland Ave., serves what could be the perfect hangover cure. Or would be, were it not already the culprit behind the hurt. What a devilishly delicious drink – or is it a dish? It’s a Seafood Bloody Caesar and we bloody loved it.

The "Caesar" part of the concoction – Clamato and vodka – is fairly standard; it’s the "seafood" part that excites. A succulent snow crab leg and luscious jumbo shrimp flank the celery stalk. A celery salt rim gets a boost from lemon pepper. The crowning glory is surely the cool, plump, salty-sweet oyster on the half shell, balanced atop the glass.

The owners ought to know raw. They operate Marché 27, the tartare bar on Prince Arthur (in addition to Greasy Spoon on Laurier). A daily selection of bivalves represents both coasts. Top Drawer oysters on our Caesars hailed from B.C. Normally a staunch devotee of the briny brashness of east coast oysters, I fell for these buttery, buxom bivalves. Clean, lush and not at all flabby, we ordered extras on the side.

Seafood is the reason to frequent this dive (a dive that pours craft beers, mind). Sure, there are turf options: steak frites, braised ribs. But with a stuffed swordfish surveying the scene and maritime memorabilia lining the walls, it’s clear where the devotion lies.

An app of seared tuna carpaccio was a throwback to the late ’90s. Crusted with poppy seeds, drizzled with sesame oil and sprinkled with tobiko on a bed of arugula and shaved fennel, the flavour and texture combinations stood the test of time. A cup of clam chowder was properly brothy, not gloppy, and offered equal amounts of clam, slab bacon, potato and corn.

An insanely generous portion of fish and chips, dunked in a bitter beer batter and served with homemade tartar sauce and minted pea mash, was a decently executed classic. The lobster roll boasted lots of meat in a light mayo and chive dressing (eggy bun courtesy of Première Moisson). The filling was in dire need of a good spritz from the lemon wedge, and I might have preferred a toasted, split-top hot dog bun, New England-style. But given the ample amount of lobster meat (not to mention fries), the price seemed right. Had we not already swallowed an ocean of nosh, we surely would have made room for warm sticky buns with vanilla ice cream.

Lucille’s puts on a good show as the upscale clam shack. It’s rugged, yet refined. It’s George Clooney in The Perfect Storm. So don your (fashionably) ripped jeans and your best hipster T-shirt, order an Okanagan Springs brew and discuss the finer distinctions of oysters from neighbouring bays.

Lucille’s Oyster Dive
5626 Monkland; (514) 482-1471
Dinner for two, before tax, tip and beverage: $50-$90

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  • by Maria Cecillia Silva - May 8, 2010, 8:07 am

    Here I am thinking I would have to go to the Maritimes to taste the fish dishes of the Atlantic Ocean , when all I have to do is go to Lucille’s Oyster Dive. I think I will skip the fishy drink but I deffinitlly like the discription of the other platters. The price seems reasonable and the location perfect for me. I guess I would have to say that it would be nice to see more places like this one become popular. It certainly is a healthy choice!

  • by David St Pierre - May 12, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Been to Lucille’s Oyster dive and have to admit that it’s charmingly quaint. By no means a big place, it’s inviting in it’s warmth, funky maritime aesthetic and boasts an exemplary assortment of beers, both on tap and bottle. And what with the paucity of decent sea-food joints in this particular hood/my stomping grounds – that is to say Southwest Montreal, it’s definitely a good place to hit if you’re jonesing for a quick fish fix or even if you simply need to retreat from the drunken (albeit fun) overcrowding that often typifies Ye Olde Orchard just up the street. I scoffed on their staggeringly huge serving of fish’n'chips and washed it down with a couple of ice-cold Guinness. The service was swift and attentive without being the slightest bit invasive and the overall feel of the place lends itself to extended leisurely lounging. With Lucille’s Oyster Dive, you get the best of both worlds – that cozy laidback pub feel and all the attendant perks that go with it (great beer, ambience, the game on TV!) without the one major drawback – substandard pub gruel!

  • by Bernard Pottier - May 13, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Am allergic to oysters. If I go to the dive, I get hives :-((

  • by Greg Klaiman - May 17, 2010, 9:14 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation of Lucille’s Oyster Dive. I went there this Friday May 14th 2010, and was truely seduced by super fresh seafood so fresh that (I thought we were on the waterfront!) and a charming service + location.
    Even did a blog review on this stunning dinner there:

  • by France Arnaud - June 21, 2010, 11:16 am

    I am shocked to see positive reviews. The service is slow and unfriendly, the hip aesthetic is overwrought and the food is moyen. Not to mention every time I go to the terrace it smells like fried food so much that I can’t enjoy my meal- do they have the fryer exhaust emptying on to the street?

    • by Jane - November 24, 2011, 1:39 pm

      I tried this place as well and found the seafood bland and portions small. I wouldn’t go back. Maybe the only place to get really fresh seafood is by the ocean!

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