Seafood Bar Showdown

Marly Schuman

March 01 2016 - 9:00 AM

One of the biggest food trends of the past year isn’t really a trend at all. Seafood isn’t anything new, but seafood-centric restaurants have been sweeping this non-coastal city at an unusual frequency. From upscale eateries like GT Fish & Oyster, to peel and eat shrimp stop The Angry Crab, we have the full spectrum. Two of my new favorites couldn’t be more different, yet they’re both worth sharing.

Dive Bar is a Lakeview spot with any kind of seafood you could ever want, and it’s kind of a hidden gem. Cold Storage is West Loop’s newest addition to Swift & Sons, a trendy eatery with an unusual menu (and homemade hot sauce on the table!). Here’s the deal.

The Scene

Dive Bar: Casual, fun and more of a bar scene than restaurant
Cold Storage: Hip & trendy

Cold StorageThe Food

DB: Go for the healthy, bourbon glazed salmon but come back for the boom boom shrimp
CS: Share a few of the awesome sandwiches and don’t miss the specials a la plancha

The Standouts

DB: The fish and chips are probably the best I’ve had in the US (I lived in London for 5 months). They use a fresh tilapia, and the “chips” are thick cut wavy fries.
CS: Don’t miss the crab salad on brioche or the grilled calamari with pickled peppers.

The Drinks

DB: I’m a sucker for tropical drinks and these are  the best in the neighborhood. Skip the standard blended options and go for specialties such as the Guava Basil Cooler, with tequila, grapefruit juice, guava nectar and lime.
CS: The pina colada gives a nod to the classic, but with coconut lime sorbet. The drinks didn’t win me over, though. I’d go for a seafood-friendly wine next time.

Dive Bar ChicagoThe Verdict

Both restaurants are great in their own right and deserve some recognition. Dive Bar is definitely off the beaten path of Restaurant Row. Still, it’s worth a visit for some amazing deals, delicious drinks and quality food. Cold Storage has a more unusual menu and takes some chances. Sure, they don’t win all of their bets,  yet it’s a chance worth taking.