15 Whole Fish Dishes We Love in Chicago
By Sarah Freeman
May 14, 2014
There are few things more awe-inspiring and envy-inducing than a whole-cooked fish being carted through a dining room. The popular presentation not only looks more than good enough to eat, but is renowned for its flavor (a product of cooking delicate meat on the bones).
With more and more chefs offering whole fish on their menus, and Chicago's obvious lack of proximity to prime seafood, competition for the best fish in the city is tough. It has even sparked a friendly rivalry between chefs Cosmo Goss at The Publican and Erling Wu-Bower at Nico. "Erling is like my older brother, and we compete like brothers,” Goss said. “I always try to out do him, but as is the case with most older brothers, he tends to win most of the time.” The two talk on the phone about twice a week, the conversation usually revolving around what fish is coming into the restaurants and the planned preparation for them.
Goss changes his fish preparation daily, but usually serves it pan-roasted or deep-fried, while Wu-Bower encases his fish in salt before roasting it in the crust. These are just two of over a dozen whole fish preparations appearing at restaurants around Chicago; check out some of our other favorites below.