May 23, 2011
- small plates
- river north
- boka group
nothing too daring, but well executed and interesting dishes.
upscale nautical - very loud
a little more attention to detail could have been had during dessert course
- Wine / Cocktails:
I recently had the pleasure of dining at GT Fish & Oyster. It was a birthday celebration for a party of 10 and I made reservations the day before GT opened, so we were lucky enough to get one of the King’s Tables. The decibel level of the restaurant was somewhat uncomfortable – especially with a large party! I could only converse with the two people on either side of me and even then I’m sure my headache at the end of the evening was due to all the yelling I had to do to be heard. I personally like being in loud energetic atmospheres, so it didn’t bother me too much. Just be prepared, this is not a quiet intimate restaurant.
Our server was friendly and informative, although I cannot tell you how tired I am of having to be educated about how a “small plates” menu works. I think by this point pretty much everyone has experienced small plates and if not, it’s not really that hard of a concept to get.
My husband and I ordered the baja shrimp bruschetta, foie gras & shrimp terrine, brandade croquettes, black gnocchi, lobster mac & cheese with Engligh peas. The foie gras fell flat and for lack of better words, was not a pretty dish. I had seen pictures of this dish online prior to dining and thought that even though it didn’t look very good, it surely had to taste good… It actually had very little flavor all together, and the apricot chutney, while tasty and interesting, could not save the dish. Definitely one to skip. The bruschetta was delicious and texturally outstanding. The creamy avocado and grapefruit combo was a unique burst of flavor. This is also a rather “safe” dish, I think everyone in my party ordered it. The croquettes were exceptional; the fennel orange salad on the side was the perfect complement! I could have eaten 10 more! I thought the black gnocchi in carrot lobster broth with prawns and fiddlehead ferns was the absolute star of the menu. It was mouthwatering! The broth, while light, had such depth. I think I ended up spooning it up after everything else was gone. This is one of those dishes that you can’t stop thinking about – everything worked together so perfectly. The lobster mac was – lobster mac. Good enough, but a little too pedestrian for a place like this, especially after eating the gnocchi. The English peas were a nice touch.
Others at the table had the tuna poke, sunfish ceviche, crab cake, oysters, grilled mahi tacos and fish and chips. I thought the crab cake was slightly dry and fairly mediocre. My friend raved about the tacos all night long. My other friend said the ceviche had a little too much lime. The steak fries with the fish & chips were these immense and lovely potato wedges that were the perfect combination of crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
We skipped dessert in lieu of a birthday cake we brought ourselves. I was disappointed in how quickly, and with no fanfare, the cake was brought out and how even more quickly it was whisked away. This was a birthday celebration for two members of my party and they brought out the cake, my husband had stepped away so he missed the entire presentation. I thought servers are supposed to pay attention to that kind of thing – they wouldn’t bring an entrée out if a member of the party weren’t seated, why was this any different? I also thought the $3pp cake cutting fee was probably a dollar too much.
At the end of the night I think most people in my party thought the food was definitely excellent but a little too small and a little too much money. For about 4-5 plates per couple plus drinks, every couple ended up paying $165. Although I agreed with the table’s perception of the cost, I did have a lovely time and thought the food was delicious and the atmosphere exciting. My husband and I are definitely anxious to go back… with a smaller party, of course.
baja shrimp bruschetta, brandade croquettes, black gnocchi