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