The Brunch Dish »

Reviews of brunch dishes.

The Brunch Dish: GT Fish & Oyster Thinks Outside the Omelette

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[Photographs: Chelsea Ross]

Maybe it's just me, but I've never imagined seafood restaurants as being very brunch-centric. I mean, I don't think fishermen eat brunch and sip bottomless mimosas. But GT Fish & Oyster debunks my preconceptions by seamlessly incorporating seafood and fish into a brunch format, in one of the loveliest brunch settings in town. Chef Giuseppe Tentori reigns over the brunch menu like King Triton over his mermaid kingdom, resulting in the most nautical brunch I never knew I wanted.

A bulk of the concise menu consists of aquatic fare, like the almighty biscuits and lobster gravy ($17), easily the most extravagant item available. It's a funny juxtaposition, because biscuits and gravy seems to me like such a humble, frills-free dish. It's the peasant food of brunch. If brunch was served in Medieval times, serfs would eat biscuits and gravy. Leave it to Tentori to infuse pure class into an otherwise lowbrow dish. Served by the heaping bowlful, biscuits are dense and cakey, perfect for sopping up every last morsel of gravy. And you'll want to, because the gravy is absolutely brimming with chunks of lobster, as if a lobster roll exploded in the gravy. It adds a briny flavor to the gravy, cutting through the heaviness, resulting in a chowder-like consistency and flavor. There's a poached egg plopped on top of the gravy, but since this is a classy dish, I'll call it chicken roe. The only other time I've had lobster and biscuits together, I was at a certain chain restaurant that practically force feeds biscuits to their guests. GT is far better.

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I've been on a quiche kick lately. Last week it was farmer-style quiche, and this week I guess it's fisherman-style. The smoked whitefish quiche ($12) is the prettiest quiche I have ever seen. Seriously, somebody take this quiche to the ball. Sliced with ninja-like finesse into rectangular blocks, the quiche boasts a crust that is razor-thin, yet still marvelously flaky. It's flavorful without overpowering the eggs, baked into a soufflé-like custard with a golden brown crown. As with the lobster gravy, the addition of the smoky whitefish serves to break up the decadence and even things out, a.k.a. make it easy to eat all of it. Whitefish is such an enabler. There's also a frilly radish salad with juicy slivers of grapefruit, a nice reprieve from the eggy onslaught.

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One important thing to know about me is that I like cream cheese frosting—too much. So it was a bit of a dangerous situation when we ordered monkey bread ($7) that came with a fricken saucer of orange cream cheese frosting. Normally I'd reserve my mannerless troll tendencies for home, where I can lick spatulas and mixers with reckless abandon, but I couldn't let the frosting go to waste. So you can bet that I spooned unacceptable amounts of frosting onto each fluffy nugget of monkey bread. And when that was over, I just started spooning it right into my mouth. Rock bottom? Cream cheese rehab? Forgive me, but the orange-y frosting is worth the public meltdown.

Seafood and brunch may not necessarily seem like the most obvious pairing, but at GT Fish & Oyster, the kitchen is opening eyes and mouths with its nimble seafood- and fish-infused menu.

GT Fish & Oyster

531 North Wells Street, Chicago IL 60654 (map)
312-929-3501
gtoyster.com

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