When marine biologist Mike McDermid (on the right below), at that time working at the Vancouver Aquarium, started the seafood certification system, Ocean Wise ™, he created a movement that has engaged top chefs and restaurants from coast to coast. One of those chefs was Robert Clark who, as a conservationist, is a recipient of the prestigious Murray A. Newman Award, in recognition of his “invaluable contribution to understanding and conserving our irreplaceable Western North American aquatic ecosystems.”
Now, they’ve opened a fish shop and take away restaurant, The Fish Counter, that practices exactly what they preach. Delicious sustainability. According to Mike, they wanted to start a “farmers market for seafood”. And like a farmers market he takes great care to explain the different fish to each customer.
It was Robert who started the now wildly popular BC Spot Prawn Festival, his attempt to keep Canadian seafood at home. Every May for about six weeks, the ocean-sweet prawns are on almost every menu in the lower mainland. The deep pink female prawns dance in their live tank. Watch a whole array of fascinating fishing videos here.
Most of the shellfish comes from cold, deep waters off Read Island, a small island in the Strait of Georgia nestled between Quadra and Cortes Island near Campbell River. The salmon are troll-caught in waters even further north. It’s a who’s who of fishy excellence from the season’s first chinook to exquisite candied black cod. They also sell frozen dashi, the Japanese fish broth, tuna loins, crabmeat and a tremendous array of sauces and condiments.
Diners line up for take away and can stand at a bar to eat or find a nearby picnic spot. It can be very hectic and a lot of fun. One of the most popular items is the Oyster Po’ Boy but better than any New Orlean’s has to offer. Plump oysters are lightly battered and set atop a house-made spicy cabbage pickle (a.k.a. kimchi) with a healthy side of fresh cut fries. Sprinkle them with a bit of Spinnakers Brewery malt vinegar from Vancouver Island! It’s the best.
The Fish Counter
3825 Main St,
Vancouver, BC V5V 3P1
T: 604-876-FISH (3474)