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#1
Posted May 3rd 2011, 10:20am
Had a pre Bulls game dinner at GT Fish and Oyster last night. Dinner was the unfortunate highlight of the evening.

The Boka folks do their best to channel The Neptune Oyster House in River North and for the most part are succesful. I am very happy to have a place like GT Fish and Oyster in our town. The menu is a collection of small plates and they advise diners to order 2 or 3 dishes per person and share. The offerings are split into hot and cold plates and we tried a variety of each. The consensus at our table was that the hot dishes were superior to the cold, with the exception of their most excellent oysters.

We started with the Fish Dip, a must have according to our server. The fish dip itself was great, smoked haddock with all of the umami that you hope for from a dish like this. Unfortunately they served this dish with taro root chips that just didnt hold up. They were like extra thin potato chips that just crumbled in your hand. A ritz cracker would have been better. I hope they figure out some other way for people to get the fish dip in their mouth because it was really tasty.

My least favorite offering was the Foie Gras and Shrimp Terrine. The miniscule terrine was served on a piece of toasted brioche that overwhelmed the tiny portion placed on top. The apricot chutney, imho, further overpowered the dish. I missed the taste and mouth feel of the terrine itelf. This was a miss.

We also had the Baja Shrimp Bruschetta which was very good but slightly out of balance with large amounts of avocado dominating each bite. I really enjoyed the shrimpy parts which were refreshing little bites bursting with citrus and cilantro. Overall a nice dish, just slightly off

The oysters were sublime. We had a selection of all of the offerings which were impecibly fresh, masterfully shucked and drenched in liquor. Served with your choice of hot sauce, a ponzu mignonette or gt's take on cocktail sauce, i recommend going bare. The ponzu was the best sauce option, but the star was the oyster and i saw no reason to foul the generous liquour overflowing each shell. My very favorites were the Kusshi and Tatamagouche. Everything else was a very close second. These were damn good bivalves.

Hot entrees were awesome. I loved their version of Clam Chowder for everything that it is not. This was not your typical gloopy, thickened mess. This was a delicate creamy smoky bacon enhanced version like nothing else that i have had in chicago. Next time Ill order a bowl.

The lobster roll was also terrific. Not overly mayo'd, perfect bun and lots of sweet lobster meat. Just great.

Also loved the Crab Agnolotti which was stuffed with dungeness crab and topped with a black tobiko. The broth was a close second to the chowder and I could have eaten a whole bowl. Really nice.

Finally, we tried the crab cake which was also really great (read NO FILLER) When done correctly a crab cake is a thing of beauty and this one really hit the mark. Served with a very sharp pepper aoili and delicious pickled onions. My only complaint is the size which can either be attributed to how delicious it was and my desire for more, or thrift.

Overall, I really liked this place. they are going for an elegant Nantucket vibe with the place and it is really nice yet casual. Communal dining tables and friendly, knowledgeable service. It ain't cheap--but what is afterall. I love this kind of place and it really hasn't existed in Chicago until very recently. I am looking forward to a return.

GT Fish and Oyster
531 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60654
312-929-3501
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#2
Posted May 4th 2011, 7:17pm
Thanks for the post, iblock9. I have been looking forward to visiting Giuseppe Tentori's newest restaurant, and your post just made that desire a lot stronger.
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#3
Posted May 5th 2011, 9:08am
Place sounds good, prices dont look to bad portions really small for what ya pay?

http://gtfishandoyster.wordpress.com/

Sporty name to...GT sounds fast. :lol:
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#4
Posted May 5th 2011, 9:44am
Had the lobster roll, lobster mac and cheese and ahi tuna poke. All very good, but the damage was just over 50.00 not including tax and tip and I left still hungry... The prices seem fine until you actually see the portion size, very meager. I understand the rent area is pricey, and there isn't much competition sadly downtown for this type of eastern seafood dining, but I simply felt most items should be priced a few dollars less.
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I'm not picky, I just have more tastebuds than you... ; )
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#5
Posted May 5th 2011, 10:18am
FoodSnob77 wrote:Had the lobster roll, lobster mac and cheese and ahi tuna poke. All very good, but the damage was just over 50.00 not including tax and tip and I left still hungry... The prices seem fine until you actually see the portion size, very meager.

I can't compare GT to its (similar in some ways) counterpart Fish Bar, since I haven't been to GT, but I can say that I found the lobster roll at Fish Bar to be a very satisfying portion rich in lobster meat for $18.
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#6
Posted May 7th 2011, 11:39am
We ran into GT Fish and Oyster last weekend after Art Chicago and found it a little odd. The prices were really high for the portions we received. We only had light nibbles like the clam chowder (which was delicious), a couple oysters and smoked salmon. I think I like the Fish Bar a little better because it's more my style. I'm from a place where seafood is not treated like a commodity but a staple so I have a hard time associating seafood with "high society" I guess.
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#7
Posted June 13th 2011, 6:15pm
Image

This Deep Cove oyster was so beautiful, I could hardly bear to discard the shell. I tasted it for a long time after slurping it.
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“We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
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#8
Posted June 20th 2011, 10:11am
Can anyone comment on the noise level at GT? Have reservations for a birthday/anniversary dinner and wondering if it may be a little too loud. All of our restaurants are deafening so when I get out I prefer as quiet as possible (I guess I'm 33 going on 70).
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#9
Posted June 21st 2011, 3:01pm
It's pretty loud, I went in on a early weeknight to get my carry out and had to almost scream my name to the bartender to get my meal... Does anyone else agree with me that gf fish as well as fish bar are both overpriced?
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I'm not picky, I just have more tastebuds than you... ; )
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#10
Posted June 21st 2011, 3:10pm
Hey everyone, this is Kevin Boehm, one of the owners of GT. Overnight last night, we did extensive soundproofing work, which will continue this week. I agreed that it was too loud, and the results so far have been very good.
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#11
Posted June 21st 2011, 3:21pm
kevinboehm wrote:Hey everyone, this is Kevin Boehm, one of the owners of GT. Overnight last night, we did extensive soundproofing work, which will continue this week. I agreed that it was too loud, and the results so far have been very good.


Kevin,

That's great! I'm looking forward to my innaugural visit to GT Fish & Oyster in the very near future.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#12
Posted June 22nd 2011, 9:40pm
We went on Saturday night and were very happy to sit at the table up front by the door. A great opportunity to watch all the people that wanted to be seen. And, boy, do a lot of them want to be seen. Great people watching.

That was the best clam chowder we have had in years. Someone at our table claimed he could eat a gallon of it. Not to be missed. I won't be able to replicate it, but I'm going to try to for our New Year's Eve dinner. If I get close I'll go out and buy some little jars to serve it in to surprise our friends. (Of course, Kevin, I won't object if you want to give out the recipe.)

It was loud, but we had a good time. After you are done with soundproofing, maybe you can put in another women's bathroom. I can't remember the last time I stood in a line that long. It was the talk of the line and many women contemplated using the men's room.
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#13
Posted June 22nd 2011, 10:50pm
santo_grace wrote:
It was loud, but we had a good time. After you are done with soundproofing, maybe you can put in another women's bathroom. I can't remember the last time I stood in a line that long. It was the talk of the line and many women contemplated using the men's room.


Speaking just for myself, I have no problem with women using the men's room anywhere. You may regret it, might not be as pristine as what you're used to (to quote Rita Rudner, men seem to be happy if they hit anything at all) but as far as I'm concerned go for it, won't bother me. I grew up in a family of eleven with one and half bathrooms and went to Vassar College where just about everything was co-ed including bathrooms.
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trpt2345
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#14
Posted July 1st 2011, 2:31pm
Had dinner here last night for celebratory birthday/anniversary with the girlfriend. Sort of up in the air today about how I feel about the place. Might be a little bit of a hangover that's clouding my feelings today though.

First, it is still loud. We were sat along the windows by the bar and we had to yell at times. My ears are still ringing a little bit today. Table was ready when we got there and a $25 gift certificate was waiting since on Opentable I had explained what the dinner was for. Service started a little strange, GF wanted a sweet cocktail but not the one that was on the drink list. I asked if the bartender could just whip something up and the server never really went and checked just talked her into the drink she didn't want. It was heavy on the basil. I ordered a Manhattan and it was served up without even asking and without cherries. After this though service was stellar, drinks always kept full and server was attentive without being obtrusive at all.

We ordered what I thought was quite a bit but actually ended up perfect amount for two people. Oysters, Shrimp & Foie Gras Terrine, Scallops, King Crab, Gnocchi, Crab Cake, and Mussels. Standouts were the oysters and the scallops. Our consensus this morning was that all of the seafood was top quality but some of the sauces kind of missed. And it definitely wasn't cheap. Pacing was perfect, probably five minutes between each dish.

We'll probably be back to use the $25 gift card for lunch when we find ourselves in that area but I'm not sure about going all out again there anytime soon.
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#15
Posted November 19th 2011, 2:39pm
Any recent reports?
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#16
Posted November 19th 2011, 6:42pm
I was at GT last night and enjoyed the meal, although it didn't blow me away. But first, let's talk about the noise issue ... I went in expecting this place to be very loud - it was a Friday night and the place was jam packed. So I was shocked to find GT very conversation friendly. Shortly after being seated, we noticed thick padding underneath our table top, and I assume the padding was added to eliminate sounds from bouncing off the wood floors. I'm not sure when this was done, but whereas I couldn't here people across the table for a large part of my Thursday dinner at Lao Hunan, I had absolutely no such issue at GT.

As for the food, we started with a dozen oysters and I was hugely impressed by the quality of these gems. I can't recall each one we had, but we mixed east and west coast.

But other cold options didn't excite me as much. The sunfish ceviche with chimichurri was really nice, but that was because the chimichurri was really tasty. The sunfish added nothing to the dish and I really would have liked to know what it tastes like on its own. Tuna poke was fine, but nothing you haven't seen a thousand times before. The only other dish I recognize from the online menu is the bbq eel which was served with a potato and octopus salad - I liked the flavors and al dente texture of the potatoes. One thing nobody at our table enjoyed was the foie gras and shrimp terrine - none of the flavors stood out and I found it to be rather boring.

As for hot dishes, I thought the clam chowder was very good ... good broth, not too much cream, nice flavor, nice size clam pieces, and very good Neuske's bacon. Lobster roll was also nice - nice chunks of perfectly cooked lobster, very lightly dressed, and served on a buttered and toasted bun which I suspect came from Nicole's Divine Crackers. The lobster meat itself didn't have quite as much flavor as the best lobsters I've had, but it was still tasty. The lobster roll was also served aside some terrific onion strings. PEI mussels might have been the best of our hot choices. The mussels were plump, perfectly cooked, and served with toasted ciabatta and a delicious and slightly spicy Italian tomato sauce which highlighted some very nice tasting tomatoes. This is one of those sauces where you will be doing everything possible to get every last drop.

Service was efficient and friendly. So overall, I enjoyed GT and would return, particularly for the oysters and mussels (maybe the chowder too).
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#17
Posted November 19th 2011, 10:45pm
According to a post a few above yours, the soundproofing was done in June.

Thanks for your report. It sounds like the raw bar and hot dishes are the way to go.
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#18
Posted November 20th 2011, 4:01pm
I've been a couple of times in the last month and I would echo much of what BR said. The noise issue seems to be resolved as the room didn't seem particularly loud either time I was there. It wasn't quiet either, but no one needed to shout to be heard. The oysters are definitely awesome, right up there with The Publican and Balsan (places that IMO really do them right). I've probably had equal success on the hot and cold side of the menu. The lobster roll I had my last it e in was quite good, as were the fish tacos. My favorite thing on the menu is definitely the oyster po boy sliders. I could easily make a meal of those.
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-Josh

I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
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#19
Posted November 21st 2011, 12:40pm
We went with a big group (10 of us at one of the large tables) two Sundays ago for a birthday of a good friend. There was a little bit of drama with making the reservations and some adjustments, but overall my friend got everything settled. Upon arrival, our table was ready, but we waited for more of the group to arrive in the bar area and ordered a nice bottle of rose to share while waiting. Everyone was very gracious and accommodating.

Space was very well done, I enjoyed the time to scope out things a bit (also pleasantly surprised to see two TVs in the bar area as it was the end of a good Bears game - sounds like they aren't always on, but glad to see they know us Chicagoans do not like to miss our Bears).

Given our large party, we tried MANY things. I don't know how I feel about the somewhat forced "shared plates", esp. when in such a big party - not every dish is going to make it around such a large party - but we soldiered on and did get to taste many things. Our party was not into the raw bar / oysters that evening, so mostly stuck to cold/hot "apps" and "entrees". Generally found most items to be quite tasty - the fish and chips were incredible - I would go back alone for a repeat )

Prices were a little high given the smaller sizes, but we were out on a Sunday and kept the bar tab in check, so we didn't get too out of hand.

Finally, upon sitting down and getting settled, we noticed a small envelop tucked into one of the table arrangements. It was a $20 gift card to the birthday person, to be used on a future visit. That was very nice, esp. given some of the issues during the reservation process and I'm sure my friend will make good use of it.

miss ellen
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#20
Posted November 27th 2011, 2:52pm
We went on Friday, it wasn't terribly busy on Black Friday, so even though we arrived early for our reservation, they were able to seat us immediately.

I had an OG Johnny lemonade (strawberry, ginger beer) which was good (my original choice of blackberry was out), whereas my husband's Harvest lemonade with apple cider and pomegranate was great.

We started with a dozen oysters of which the Penn Cove were the best. All were fresh, meaty, and satisfying. The pork belly sliders with peanut and kimchi were also excellent. I really enjoyed the shallots and buttery buns contrasted against the rich pork belly. Less successful was the tuna poke, which needed soy sauce. The preserved mango slices and cucumber slices were difficult to eat as well. Overall, this dish didn't really taste like Hawaiian poke. We finished with the lobster mac and cheese with English peas. This was a tasty and straightforward dish. I questioned the use of shells instead of elbows, and I felt the sauce could be a little thicker, but I liked the panko crust and perfectly cooked lobster. This was also a bit difficult and messy to share. Overall, a good lunch choice near our hotel, and convenient.
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#21
Posted November 29th 2011, 2:48pm
I really like the idea of that gift card. That's hospitality, *and* smart business. Kudos.
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#22
Posted December 2nd 2011, 8:54pm
We had lunch at GT Fish & Oyster today and really, really liked it. We ordered four dishes and all four were big hits.

We started with the clam chowder, served in a Ball jar, and it was excellent, with a great balance among the three flavors: clams, bacon, and spices. Next was the crab cake, which was unusual in shape (rectangular and long) and exactly what a crab cake should be - loaded with crab, with very little filler added. It's one of the best in Chicago. We then had the scallops, two large sea scallops done exactly as we requested ("cooked through"), accompanied by a couple of slices of great "candied bacon" and served over pureed acorn squash. Our final dish was the mussels, which were excellent - perfectly cooked (tender and moist, not at all rubbery), nice sized (larger than many), and bursting with flavor. I am sometimes leery of ordering mussels in a tomato sauce (especially a relatively spicy one like theirs) because the sauce can overwhelm the flavor of the mussels, but at GT Fish the flavor of the mussels stood up quite well. These were some of the best mussels anywhere.

The service (Frankie) was excellent and knowledgeable; he was very helpful by advising us about the menu (including its progression from lighter dishes to heavier ones) and the portion sizes ("small plates", although the mussels portion was quite generous). The room was very pleasant and quite elegant (NOT overly noisy, even though it was almost full the entire time we were there).

The only oddity was one item on the menu - the king crab legs. We were told that it consisted of an 8-10 ounce portion size and the price was $42. I asked to confirm that I heard correctly, as the price and portion seemed way out of whack. I otherwise might have ordered them, but, well...

Anyway, we had a delightful lunch and it made us want to return soon to try it for dinner. Great place.
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#23
Posted December 3rd 2011, 5:39am
We were told that it consisted of an 8-10 ounce portion size and the price was $42


We tried half the menu in July and it was our favorite thing, the presentation is great and the seafood really shines. Our main complaint of GT was that besides the oysters and the king crab, all the other dishes were unnecessarily complicated and masked the prime seafood they offer.

We received the $20 birthday gift card and haven't redeemed it in six months. We have been to Fish Bar a half a dozen times though because in my opinion the preparations are simpler, seafood just as good and the prices much lower.
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#24
Posted December 3rd 2011, 2:07pm
I can't remember where but I feel like I either heard or read somewhere that the supply of king crab in the market is way down this year, leading to higher prices everywhere.
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-Josh

I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
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#25
Posted December 3rd 2011, 2:44pm
jesteinf wrote:I can't remember where but I feel like I either heard or read somewhere that the supply of king crab in the market is way down this year, leading to higher prices everywhere.

I wasn't aware of that, and it would certainly explain it. Thanks for the background.
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#26
Posted December 15th 2011, 10:27am
jesteinf wrote:My favorite thing on the menu is definitely the oyster po boy sliders. I could easily make a meal of those.

You're apparently not alone. The James Beard Foundation named this one of their top ten dishes of 2011 - high praise.
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#27
Posted December 15th 2011, 10:51am
The James Beard people are obviously very wise. :wink:
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-Josh

I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
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#28
Posted February 21st 2012, 9:23pm
going to make it of here this week ,pics look great.
i cant wait :mrgreen:
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philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
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#29
Posted February 29th 2012, 7:24pm
the fried oyster po boy,is outstanding
had some great blue points.&eel was tasty
i will be back for sure :mrgreen:
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philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
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#30
Posted April 28th 2012, 5:58pm
One more BIG nod to the Oyster Po'boy slider. WOW
Outside of that, oysters are really good, but I think Publican does a better job of delivering with liquor.

Bento box? No thank you. Beautifully presented, but pretty obscure and unsuccessful. Cantaloupe and hamachi (what little there was)? Also, I know it is asian, but chop sticks w/ the way the food was presented really made for frustrating eating and I'm Korean.
Crab cake. Lots of crab, strange flavor. not my cup of tea.
Foie gras/shrimp terrine. Underwhelming. Too much going on and really missed foie, although it was physically there
Duck confit. Duck was kinda of flavorless. Broth and garbonzo beans did not add or compliment dish.
Mussels were OK. Absolutely fresh and toasted bread expertly prepared, but once again flavors dull.

Overall, really expensive, beautiful product prepared well, but underwhelmed by flavors and creativity.

Although, I would go just for the Oyster Po'boys. They have half price oysters after 10PM. I wonder if they might be convinced to do the same for the Po'boy.
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