Table Hopping: Seafood is fresh today at MH Fish House
The decorative pallet of flaky salmon with lentils in a squid ink red wine reduction is deceptively filling despite its diminutive size ($28). | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
MH Fish House
670 Bank Lane, Lake Forest
5:30.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday—Thursday; 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.
(847) 208-8303 or see mhfishhouse.com.
Updated: January 23, 2013 11:28AM
“We are sea-to-table,” said Larry Flam, general manager of MH Fish House in Lake Forest making a play on the current trend in the farm-to-table movement.
Opened just a few weeks ago on the second floor of the centrally-located Market House on the Square restaurant, MH is its own restaurant with separate entrance and phone number, as well as unique focus. Helmed by chef Dominic Zumpano, it concentrates on bringing the best in seafood from around the country and the world to its guests.
“On the west coast you only get west coast seafood, on the east coast only east coast. But Chicago is such a crossroads that we can get the best from both coasts plus from overseas,” said co-owner Mark Westcott.
The “best” effort extends from getting the freshest catch of the day, which some days comes from as far away as Holland, to the charcuterie which includes making their own bacon.
“We put in that effort to make sure that it’s the best quality product that we can put on a plate,” said Zumpano.
Cultivated customers motivate them, according general manager Larry Flam. “It’s a discerning crowd. They can eat anywhere and they travel so they know what great restaurants are. We want to keep them close to home with the same quality,” said Flam.
Quality, plus a few well-thought out comforts. Like the fact that every single bottle on MH’s 80-bottle wine list is available by the quartino (4-ounce pour) or by the glass, ranging from $8-$25 per glass to $25-$125 by the bottle.
For a ‘flown-in-that-day’ seafood starter choose any combination from a variety of oysters (1/$2.5 or 6/$14), stone crab claws (5/$29); and littleneck clams (2/$11). Warm appetizers include the tandori grilled octopus which Zumpano cooks for four hours sous vide, sealing in the juices via an airtight plastic bag and water bath. The distinctly sweet flavor of the tandori spice, a Moroccan sweet spice, is heightened further by the pistachios and orange slices, then made decadent with house-smoked bacon ($13).
For seafood with a meat-and-potatoes heartiness, try the meaty pan-seared diver scallops and handmade gnocchi with cippolini onions, sweet peppers and chicken jus ($33).
The decorative pallet of flaky salmon with lentils in a squid ink red wine reduction is deceptively filling despite its diminutive size ($28).
And desserts are pure masterpieces at MH so be sure to leave room for delicacies such as lemon cream garnished with toasted pine nut tuile, French meringue with toasted pine nuts in olive oil powder served with raspberry jam and a dollop of raspberry sorbet ($8).
MH’s apple maple-bourbon panna cotta is served over cinnamon sugar cookie crumble, topped with poached and fresh apple, bourbon-maple foam, apple cider and bourbon jelly, apple sorbet and an apple chip ($8).
“We know that there are a lot of choices in the market place and people can eat anywhere so we really want to make sure that we engage every guest. Hospitality is really important to us,” said Flam.
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