In a city known for its meat, it’s refreshing to have a restaurant in Chicago entirely devoted to seafood. Recently opened Fish Bar in East Lake View fits that bill. Painted bright sea blue, this pull-up-a-stool and sit-at-the-counter “fish shack” is Michael Kornick’s and David Morton’s new, next-door neighbor to their DMK Burger Bar. Aside from the counter seating, the place only has three tables—giving it a total of 30 seats.
Everything at Fish Bar is simple. Simple décor, a simple one-page menu, specials written on a single chalkboard, and simple preparations. But the initial simplicity belies the chef’s skill in bringing out the best in every piece of seafood, all of which is sustainably caught. The spring menu featured white tuna carpaccio, shown above, the night I dined. Sprinkled with fresh dill, chopped hard-boiled eggs, capers and drizzled with olive oil, I could have been content with this dish alone. And a second.
Happily, most plates are small—perfect for sharing—and more was to come. Dining with a friend, we split everything, including tender octopus grilled with a nice char and adorned with lemon preserve-infused olive oil and dried chile. Nothing more needed except a cool glass of sauvignon blanc or Riesling (the only two types of wine offered except for a white Sangria). Or maybe a craft beer or sweet tea.
My friend’s number 1 choice was the oyster po’ boy. Me, not being a big fried-food eater and never having been to New Orleans, Fish Bar’s rendition was my first po’ boy experience. And, well…it was really good. Three huge, fried, lightly battered oysters (we asked the kitchen to cut our sandwich in half) come nestled in a toasted bun along with remoulade and spicy cole slaw, producing a decadent crunchy/creamy contrast in every bite.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved everything my friend and I tried. And I’m thrilled Fish Bar is an easy walk from my place. I will be back.
2956 North Sheffield Avenue
(at Wellington Avenue)