What's All The OctoFuss About?

I finally made it to Sink|Swim, the first restaurant offering by the Scofflaw Group, that celebrated its first birthday earlier this month. Sink | Swim is a seafood driven eatery with a fun nautical décor, headed by Executive Chef Matt Danko, who’s carved out a well thought out menu offering coastal eats, predominantly in a small plates format. The restaurant aims to provide you with a solid, pescetarian dining experience, although there are many items on the menu that are non-seafood related. With that, the restaurant also offers a carefully crafted beverage program comprising of cocktails such as the Santa Cruz Hurricane, which I tried.  A delicious blend of Letherbee Gin, Lucky Falernum, Peychaud’s Bitters, passionfruit, lime and East India Sherry. Having just returned from a vacation in Portugal and being on a port wine kick, I was ecstatic to have its close substitute (sherry) included in my drink!

I’m also always happy to begin a tasting with oysters, which we did with a half dozen of east and west coast shuckings, served both Roman and Moscow style. Now you can get $1 oysters anywhere in the city these days, but can you get them topped with a little caviar and crème fraiche? These were divine!

We moved on to our small plates order, which was the Garlic Panisse (Chickpea Fries) and Smoked Octopus. The mini fried chickpea and pecorino logs served with lemon and fine herbs was like biting into air. Probably the lightest and airiest appetizer I have ever had! I was worried I would fill up on these so I moved on to the Octopus – my favorite from the meal here. The consistency of the octopus was a smooth-chewy, giving it an almost sausage like consistency with smoke flavors emitting through. The grilled potato, baked beans and crème fraiche was also a unique combination, and added a sweet and sour hint to the entire dish.

With all of the seafood tastings I’m doing, I’m trying to ensure I’m getting my veggies in, so we ordered the Crushed Cucumber Salad on the side, for consolation. Now I know I’m supposed to entice you with fish recommendations, but I would understand if you went to Sink|Swim just for this salad. Nothing like I’ve had before; a mix of crunchy seaweed, chili, dill, crème fraiche, cress and lemon was way more than just a veggie serving. The dish had such a refreshing coolness that you could probably quench your thirst with it. I can’t wait to have this again soon.

Then came the Pan-Roasted Halibut in malted milk with shitake and roasted garlic, which was also brilliant.  The sunchokes added a very fun texture to the whole dish, and the Halibut, which was amazingly tender, seemed to have soaked in the flavors of the sauces in the perfect amount.  The Fish & Chips were also delicious- fried Atlantic cod with Kennebec chips and malt vinegar, was nicely done.

For dessert, it was their Brown Butter Panacotta, which was served with fruit, sunflower seeds, malted milk and orange. How could I be expected to forgo that?! Plus you couldn’t get more seasonal than this. This dish presented the smoothest custard with a smoky maple flavor combined with stone fruit to put all your sugar cravings to rest.  A ridiculously delicious dessert!

And my favorite part…at the end of the meal we were served taffy in a mini paper boat. What a cute way to keep the nautical vibe going! If you’re sufficiently intrigued, Sink|Swim will be participating in Chicago Chef Week this year to be held from April 17-April 22, where they will offer a four-course prix fixe menu with optional drink pairings. The menu is on their website if you want to check it out. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to check out this Logan Square gem. 

Sink | Swim
Neighborhood: Logan Square
Address: 3213 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: (773) 486-7465
Website: http://www.sinkswimchicago.com
Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:00am-2:00am, Sat: 11am-3am, Sun: 9am-2am
Price: $2- $28