Friday, September 24, 2010

Calumet Fisheries

Earlier in the week we took the car out (sounds like no big deal, but our parking spot is not by our apartment) to go apple picking, and whenever we take the car out we try to take advantage and go to places that are otherwise too difficult on public transportation or too expensive in a cab. So...Calumet Fisheries, here we come.

CF is on the south side of Chicago, on 95th Street by the Calumet River bridge. The bridge was up when we arrived, kind of cool. Peter has been once before and wrote a little something for me, but now it's MY turn.

Before going in we took a peek around back at the smokehouse. They smoke all their own fish right in there.

It's not a big place. Just a counter to place your orders, some fryers in the front room and a bit more of a kitchen in the back. No seats, no bathrooms, just get your fish and go find somewhere to eat it.

Here's a better look at the menu:

We ordered a half order of fish chips (NOT fish & chips), a half order of fried clams, and a quarter pound of smoked shrimp. There's plenty to look at while you wait for your food, including a wall pasted with lots of recognition from various websites, newspapers, tv shows, etc. I like this sign on the wall:

This one's not bad either:

That's right folks, Calumet Fisheries won a James Beard Award this year. As legend has it, the owner had to look up who James Beard was when he found out.

And of course there's the breaded seafood ready to fry and the smoked fish to admire.

Order's up! Time for a picnic on the hood of the car.

We could have sat inside the car to eat, but it was kind of warm out. Plus we saw some other people doing the same thing and it looked like a good idea. Here are some close-ups of our spoils. Fried clams:

Smoked shrimp:

And the fish chips:

I know this place is known for their smoked fish, but if I had to pick a favorite - if someone was holding a knife to my throat demanding that I choose one type of fish that I liked best at Calumet - I would say the fish chips. They were very lightly breaded and white and flaky on the inside. The smoked shrimp were amazing though.

I should note that besides the typical menu, hours, and directions pages on their website they also have pages for James Beard, Anthony Bourdain, and Blues Brothers. Anthony Bourdain visited Calumet while filming his Chicago show (last season I believe). And part of Blues Brothers was filmed right at that bridge. Any place that smokes their own fish, has won a James Beard award, has been paid a visit by Bourdain, and has been a part of such a great more than ok in my book.

Calumet Fisheries
3259 E. 95th Street, Chicago IL 60617

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