Wellfleet at The Fish Guy Market

December 16 2006 - 6:52 PM

Wel_oystOn Thursday evenings the Fish Guy Market on Elston closes its retail fish shop and transforms into Wellfleet fish restaurant. Tables are set out between the refrigeration cases and tea lights and candles create an unorthodox atmosphere for a 6 course dinner, though some courses are plated and served together.

The candlelight effect is terrific but the presence of Bill Dugan and crew is equally engaging. Anything you want to know about anything with gills he can explain and he takes you through the evening’s dishes with a genuine enthusiasm.

The menu changes every few weeks but mechanical bull for sale the service and level of preparation of the dishes should be constant. Given that they’ve only been at it for a short time it should even improve. It’s BYOB and a couple of different bottles would give you a nice range considering the several courses.

The first course came as a plated combination of three large oysters in an “Asian style,” a soy and radish treatment. It was a very clean way to serve a very fresh oyster. A ramekin of creme fraiche covered a layer of cauliflower puree and a healthy portion of Illinois sturgeon caviar – Joel Robuchon style. I enjoyed the cauliflower puree but would have liked toast points or something on which to spread the very rich and very tasty dish.

etWel_duckWel_plate_1The next plate was cold house smoked duck breast over arugala. The duck
was a very nice dish. I may have preferred a more fruit focused
treatment of the salad rather than the Parmesan flavor. The duck had a
very light smoky flavor and the portion size was quite large.

The main course was a poached main lobster with a tangerine butter and potato croquettes. The presentation also involved whipped potatoes. The tangerine butter was very faint but you really can’t beat fresh lobster.

A cheese and fruit course was a great way to relax after some great food and get ready for a quick walk next door to “the gallery,” a neighboring shop, where coffee and an award-winning cake awaited. I’m not a big fruit/chocolate person but the chocolate cake with an orange sauce was awesome.

Wel_dessThe total cost including tax and tip is $100 per person. One nice thing about it that it’s pre-paid and you don’t have to mess with a bill that inflatable obstacle course evening. While it wouldn’t seem to make too big of a difference one way or the other, leaving with a “thank you” and not being presented with a bill makes it feel more congenial and personal. It’s just another nice way that Wellfleet is something other than a traditional restaurant.

It was a very fun evening. Dining in a transformed retail environment was special and the food was all top notch. Considering some of the rarities in the store I’d love to see more unusual offerings. I’m looking forward to going back.

4423 N. Elston
Chicago, IL 60630