Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fish Bar

Location: 2956 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657
Fish Bar on Urbanspoon
A Quick Word:
When I heard a New England style fish joint opened up in Chicago, I put it on my list of restaurants to visit.  Unfortunately, it took years to finally get here.  Fish Bar, located at the corner of Sheffield and Wellington in Lakeview, offers fresh seafood at a city price.  And that price isn't cheap.  Their menu includes classic soups and po' boys to the more adventurous ceviches and raw oysters.  The restaurant does have that "restaurant by the water" feel with coat hangers lining the wall  and sea-themed decorations.  The restaurant is small with minimal seating and no large tables.  It is difficult to come with a big group and even harder to have an intimate conversation with others.  It is mainly just a bar.  All the food I ordered was just OK... but because of the watered-down clam chowder and the high prices that college kids can't really afford, I could only give it a 3.5 mile rating.

A chalkboard menu explain the day's specials.
What I Ate:

Clam Chowder

The clam chowder at Fish Bar was very disappointing.  It is New England Style, but it was extremely watered down in my opinion and also lacked any chunks of clam and even potatoes.  The flavors were all there and the seasoning was terrific, but I could count the number of potato chunks on one hand and there was even less clams.  I was unsure if they ground them up so fine or if I just got an unlucky ladle of soup.  I assume everyone will still try the chowder, so let me know if you had a different experience.

Raw Oysters

The oysters were awesome.  They offered two different types the day I stopped by.  I decided on getting 3 of the east coast (Hurricane Harbor oysters) and 3 of the west coast (Chief's Creek oysters).  It is nice to compare the different flavors of geographically different oysters.  It came with a little cocktail sauce, horseradish, and of course lemon.  It also had a soy based garlic sauce that was an option.  I just added a little cocktail sauce and lemon and enjoyed them.  Make sure to slurp them from the shell so you get the extra "oyster juices" that collect in the shell.  I was a little disappointed in the price.  It was $15 for 6 oysters which is a little pricey but it is Chicago... they offer 1 oyster for $1 if you just want to try them.

Smoked Trout Sandwich

Now this was delicious.  The smoked trout sandwich is served on toasted garlic bread and filled with a wonderful array of vegetables that include lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and radishes.  It is topped with a lemon mayo sauce which is a great way to add moisture to the sandwich.  Fish Bar does not skimp on the trout, and in fact, I had huge chunks falling out because of the overloaded sandwich.  The trout is very mild, so don't be intimidated by the name.  The smoke flavor is prominent but the lemon and vegetables definitely masks a lot of the smoke.  I highly recommend this sandwich to anyone!  Sharing is also an option because it is a great size, especially for the price.

Mahi Mahi Slider

For $3, you can order one of their fried Mahi Mahi sliders.  These are made to order so the fish comes out very crispy.  It is served with a little cabbage, a sweet chili mayo, and a pickle.  The cabbage and mayo were almost non-existent in my slider, so the pickle was the dominating flavor.  Overall, these are simple sliders and only one- to two-biters.  If you are trying to save a couple bucks, I would suggest getting one of these and some soup.  But for a buck or two more, the other sandwiches are much larger.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Definitely order the oysters if you are getting a "to go" order for when you wait.  They don't allow raw food for take out so eat them while you sit and wait.
- Parking is pretty abundant during the day... the permits are not in effect from 6AM till 6PM so take advantage during those hours.

- Not a huge restaurant, so don't expect to have a huge table for a big party.  They don't take reservations and don't expect large groups to dine.  Just keep this in mind.

How far would I walk for this food?

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