From January 30 to February 12 Restaurant Week takes the Windy City by storm, encouraging participating restaurants to offer multiple course meals showcasing their food at reasonable prices (READ: prix fixe lunch menu starting at $22 and dinner starting at $33 or $44). It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore some new places and to try a few venues that may be out of your budget during the rest of the year!
But oddly enough, even after living in Chicago for over five years, I’ve never actually DONE restaurant week. When I mentioned this to Starr she immediately emailed me the list of restaurants participating with strict orders to narrow down my favorites and choose one.
As the obsessed-seafood-lover that I am, once I saw that GT Fish & Oyster, a 2012 Michelin Bib Gourmand winner rumored to have the best oysters in Chicago, was one of the options, I grabbed Starr and Katharine and headed over to experience seafood, New England style! Inside GT’s space is nouveau nautical, mixing in copious amounts of modern brass elements and light with a more traditional “Chowder House” feel. Complete with plenty of charming naval paintings.
As well as a few terrifying JAWS! You know #IHaveThisThingWithFloors and I really went nuts for the taupe and navy tiled marble at GT too. I’ve noticed a few Instagrammers laying their bowls of oysters on the floor to use it as a backdrop — BINGO! I’ll totally be snagging that idea on my next visit!
With oyster literally in their name, you had to expect GT would utilize them in their decor as well! Oysters are proudly displayed in an enormous glass case in front of the bar where you can happily watch the experts shuck all day long. For lunch we were seated under this tangled mess of a lamp sculpture that I just could not stop shooting. I had a lot of fun playing with my reflection in the silver bulb too.Katharine arrived in one of her loveliest dresses — emotional armor, no doubt, due to the fact that after being tortured with oysters just a week before, she would again meet them face to face that day at GT. GT even has its own line of sexy hot sauces!We started with an order of champagne that day for a very important reason (but honestly… who needs a reason?), STARR EARNED TENURE!! We were so fabulously proud of her after hearing all about the intensive process when she first told us at Summer House. So obviously the champs simply had to happen.Doesn’t Katharine look just splendid in this dress? You can check out the outfit details here.Cheers to you, Starr darling!!
Rockin’ my horribly chipped orange polish from this post. After champs always comes oysters. Everyone knows that…
So we asked for the freshest West Coast varieties and began helping Katharine mentally prepare for her second oyster experience (see her hilarious reaction to her first oyster here). I find oysters to be such fascinating edibles and am especially interested by the debate on whether or not they should be considered a vegan food.
After our failure to convert Katharine over to the beautifully marine world of oysters at Fig & Olive, we hadn’t expected her to take the dive and try them again just a few short weeks later. I mean, she really was quite underwhelmed by their aquatic flavor.
But being a brave woman and one eager for adventure (my favorite type of girl!), she decided to give them one more try! GT’s oysters are quite delicious looking, even if they aren’t your thing.And how apropos is Katharine’s bracelet for our nautical luncheon?**SQUEEZE** As opposed to the first try, this time Katharine sparingly garnished her oyster with just a little of GT’s homemade sauce love. Not an entire dollop of horseradish. All set and ready to go! **SLURP** **GULP** **SURPRISE**
At last Starr and I were victorious in converting Katharine over to the world of oysters! Ah, sweet victory. And considering that GT has the best oysters I’ve had yet in Chicago, I’m happy that she enjoyed them because if not there, than nowhere (at least in the Midwest). Are you ready for this? Down the hatch, as the naval folk say! Am I the only one who finds empty oyster shells beautiful? I’m fairly certain I shocked our waiter when he tried to take these away and I told him I “needed” them. Again, #bloggerproblems.
Starr began her Restaurant Week First Course with GT’s famous Clam Chowder, made with nueske’s bacon and house-made oyster crackers. Anything that comes served in such an adorable mason jar is bound to be delicious but…
This was HANDS DOWN the best clam chowder I’ve had in Chicago. As far as soul-soothing soups to warm you in February, it doesn’t get more satisfying or crowd-pleasing than this chowder.
But you already knew I had a thing for chowders…
Katharine and I both opted for the same first course of GT’s Seared Tuna Salad with red potato, egg, haricot verts all in cider mustard dressing. This was delicious but I was especially impressed with the quality of the tuna. There are several well-respected restaurants here in Chicago that will serve the poorest quality tuna on their Niçoise and it breaks my heart every time.
But not at GT. This tuna was treated like it ought to have been — perfectly rare with a beautiful frame of searing and the lightest of dressings. Absolutely divine! For her second course, Starr opted for the Oyster Po’Boy with kimchi and peanuts and served with fried onion and pickled vegetables. Um… can we just take a pause and just LOOK at this sandwich?
Is this not the sexiest Po’Boy you’ve ever seen? Starr was kind enough to share a bite and wow, I don’t think I’ve ever regretted not ordering a second entrée until this dish! The crunchiness, the POW of spiciness, and the butter bread made this the finest New England comfort food sandwich I’ve had.
And don’t get me started on those perfectly crispy onion strings and delicately pickled vegetables…But I certainly didn’t suffer with my entrée of Grilled White Fish and kabocha squash, brussels sprouts, apple ginger and a drizzle of honey. The crispy brussels sprouts and sweet squash married beautifully with the charred grill flavor of the fish making this dish both delicate and dramatic.
I normally don’t particularly care for squash and even still, I practically licked this plate clean!BUT everyone knows dessert is the most exciting course and GT certainly doesn’t leave Restaurant Week diners hanging!
Katharine and I fell head-over-heels for their sinful Key Lime Pie with raspberry meringue, vanilla whip and gin and tonic sorbet. I’m a gin and tonic type of girl so this sorbet won me over with its tart sophistication. And, as a girl raised by a native Floridian, I can be quite snobbish about Key Lime Pies — the perfect slice must have both a fresh citrus bite and a crumbly, buttery crust. GT nailed it with their concoction.
And can we all just take a moment to appreciate that gorgeous presentation?But I assure you, Starr absolutely adored her Chocolate Tart too complete with chocolate and praline ganache, candied hazelnuts, sugar cranberries, sage and cranberry sorbet.
Again, can we give GT props for the excellent presentation of their food and most especially their desserts? I honestly couldn’t eat my meal being as distracted as I was by all the beautiful things I wanted to capture on camera.
If you’re in the Windy City and are looking for a sophisticated yet cozy restaurant, staffed by some of the most attentive and enthusiastically positive people and serving some of the most delicious marine comfort food you’ll have one thousand miles from the nearest ocean, GT has you covered!