Drop anchor at Boston Fish Market

Jim and Nancy do not disclose the fact that they will review a restaurant before they attend, ensuring their reviews are unbiased and uninfluenced by their position with the Sun Day.

While having dinner with some friends before seeing “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” we received a hot tip about an out of the way restaurant. Our friend Mary told us about a different type of place that is both a fish market and a restaurant all “wrapped up” in one. The name of it is Boston Fish Market in Des Plaines.

Boston Fish Market

1225 Forest Avenue
Des Plaines 60018
(847) 296-FISH

Directions: Take Rte. 47 South to I-90 East to Arlington Heights Road, North to Algonquin Road, East to Mannheim Road & South to Forest Avenue, East to restaurant.

Estimated Travel Time: 38 minutes

The restaurant is not hard to get to, but its location is off the beaten path. When you pull up to the building, you think you’ve arrived at a wholesale fish supplier. That’s until you see a line slinking out the door like an eel filled with people waiting to get in.

Nancy and I were discussing whether or not to attempt standing in that line with our bad knees. Being the compassionate husband that I am, I told her to “suck it up, buttercup,” and give it a try. To my salvation, the line moved quickly, and we were in. To our surprise, there was yet another line. While waiting in this line you can either grab one of their menus or take a peek at their giant menu blackboard to decide what you’d like for dinner. You then grab a drink from their cooler (beer, soda, water, or iced tea) and make your way to the man working behind the cash register. That’s where you give him your order, show him your drinks, and hand him the money or credit card. He rewards you by giving you a number and tells you to go find a table. When you find one, place your number on top of the condiment holder like a little flag.

FYI: If you want to bring in your own bottle of wine, they charge a corkage fee of $10 per bottle.

We just so happened to find space at a communal table across from their fresh fish counter. This is where you can bypass the restaurant line (do this at your own risk) and purchase from the fish monger such delicacies as baby octopus, giant shrimp, Branzino, and lobster tails the size of a small meatloaf, just to name a few. He will wrap up your purchase for you to cook at home.

Maybe we should start talking about our meal… The waiter brought over a basket of seasoned garlic crostini and water while we were waiting for our meal to arrive. Nancy ordered something she hasn’t had in years, the Fried Lobster Tail ($35.99), that was served with fries and coleslaw. When her dinner arrived she was amazed at the size of the portion. It was a huge mound of breaded lobster on top of fresh hand cut fries. Nancy’s expressions were reminiscent of a scene in the movie, “When Harry Met Sally.” I tasted her lobster and immediately knew why she reacted the way she did. They were succulent morsels of tender lobster tail.

Jim started his Boston Sea Party with a bowl of Boston Clam Chowder ($4.99). This was creamy and contained an overabundance of chopped clams. For his main course he ordered the Soft Shell Crab ($28.99), which was four soft shell crab critters on a platter. They were sautéed and seasoned to perfection and now are at the top of his list. This was also served with another platter of rice and sautéed veggies.

They offer three types of dining arrangements. There are communal tables in the market building, conventional tables in their attached tent, and outdoor seating (weather permitting). This is a no frills type of place that offers fabulous fish at fair prices. The portions are unbelievable, and the quality is top notch. While waiting in line, it’s fun to inspect the platters of food coming out of the kitchen.

The cost for our Boston Sea Party was $78.82, doggie bags included.

Jim’s take: This is now one of my favorite restaurants, and that says a lot since I’m normally a steak and potatoes kind of guy.

Nancy’s take: As you all know I am a seafood lover, and this restaurant is now my favorite “go to” place for seafood.

Have comments or restaurant suggestions for the Dining Duo? Send them an email at thediningduo@gmail.com.

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