Monday, April 18, 2011

GT Fish & Oysters

GT Fish & Oysters is the new project by Boka Restaurant Group (Rob Katz, Kevin Boehm, Giuseppe Tentori (CHEF). They also opened Boka, Landmark, Perennial Virant, and last year's hottest restaurant -- Girl & the Goat). Like most of Chicago, we enjoyed G&G, and was excited to find out their newest venture is seafood (esp. raw oysters)! As much as I hate to fight the crowd, I was too ecstatic to wait. As soon as the phone lines opened, I wanted to book a reservation.

The decor is described as a Cape Cod fish house, but fancier. Large boomerang shaped table created by Boka Group's design team, 555 International and a surfboard company; chalk paintings with interesting lines; Japanese buoy-like glass ball hanging, held by a thick black rope, stuffed tarpon, etc. The exterior is supposed to give the restaurant a New England cottage feel. (note: descriptions found on various web sites)

In opposite order...

Cheesecake with huckle berries & graham cracker-like crumbs: We loved the fluffy texture -- something in between tofu & whipped cream. It was the most interesting, delicious cheesecake we've ever had -- closer to european/japanese pastries than american's dense desserts. We liked that the crumbs weren't attached, so you had the option of eating the cheesecake with or without them (difference is sweetness). This is the perfect type of dessert for us. We enjoyed it with tea (decent, pretty in a see-thru pot) & coffee (ok).

Grilled Mahi Taco - achiote, torreados, smoked crema: The fish was tender & perfectly cooked, with a nice flavor, but standing against so much tortilla -- we felt like the flavor was lost. Either the fish & condiments need to be more pungent, or the tortilla needs to be smaller? Either way, this is not an exciting dish that I'd order again.
Sunfish ceviche - chimichurri, jicama, avocado, radish: It was good ceviche, but I'm not sure what all of the rave is about. It's not something I'd be excited to re-order.
Clam Chowder - Nueske's bacon, house-made oyster crackers: now this was amazing -- a lighter, more brothy version of typical clam chowder, filled with clams, and along with crackers, added various textures to the intense seafood flavor. I've never been a huge fan of clam chowder, but the Bobcat apparently is. He said this is the best clam chowder he has ever had, and he'd be excited to order this again.
Lobster Roll - lobster salad, toasted roll, fried onions: I don't think I've ever had lobster roll, but I've always been excited about the idea of it. I'm afraid this might've set my bar too high, because it was incredible. I'm not sure what I loved more -- fresh lobsters slightly enhanced with a light dressing & veggies...or the toasted, buttery, incredible bread... or the combination of the two. The side of fried onions is also delicious, but I thought adding it to the roll took too much away from the lobster. If there's a lobster roll eating contest, I'd love to put down 5 of these in one sitting.
Fresh Oysters offered the day we were there...
We started with 6, but ended with 12. These were incredibly fresh & delicious oysters -- arguably best we've ever had. Better than what we had at Dominican Republic (STRAIGHT from the ocean), in Baltimore (right next to the port), in Maui, etc. INCREDIBLE.

As described on many sites, the service was extremely attentive, informative, friendly. Waiters are teamed with food servers, water pourers, etc. But everyone was informative. The only time we had to wait was the additional order of oysters, and getting our coffee/tea. We should've clarified that we wanted coffee/tea with our dessert. Instead, dessert came first, so it was just sitting there while we waited (possibly losing a lil bit of deliciousness). It ended up being because they had to brew a fresh pot of coffee for us, so it wasn't their fault at all.

Even though this was obviously a hot restaurant that people were waiting for, I didn't feel like they were rushing us at all. They wanted us to enjoy a great dining experience, which we really did.

I'm so glad I snagged another reservation in a few months, because this place deserves regular visits. LOVE!

GT Fish & Oyster
531 N. Wells, Chicago, IL

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