Last weekend Sanaz, Johara and our friend Linsey went exploring to Calumet Fisheries. This little smoke shack might sound familiar as it was featured on Anthony Bourdain's visit to Chicago a few years back. I never really thought to make the drive down South to "95th at the bridge", but once Johara made the suggestion I figured -why not get out of the city. The drive itself isn't exactly scenic, and you might not want to pull out the Mercedes- since some of it can be sketchy. The white building is tiny, but you won't miss it as it's located right before the bridge. The line of cars parked on the side of the road should also be a give away. The tiny shop displays all sorts of crustaceans you can order by the pound, or full/ half order. The reviews, pictures of Bourdain, and articles boosting their James Beard award fill the walls. The reason this little joint is so well-known is because it is one of the few smokehouses left in Illinois. The fish is smoked on site with natural wood with no liquid or substituted fillers. They use oak logs to stoke their fire and to bring out their natural flavors.
The very friendly worker took pity on our camera's and complete blank faces when it came time to order so he did a great job of suggesting their popular items. He even offered to take us out back to see the smokehouses.
We walked out with 2 pieces of smoked salmon, smoked shrimp, and breaded oysters. I'm not sure I recommend the oysters (eating them in a hot car on the drive back to city wasn't as appetizing as we thought).
Just so you know the only way to go here is - to go. No seating in this little smokehouse.
Sometimes you need to get out of the routine of restaurants and BYOB's. Getting out of the city to enjoy great food is also about the experience and the adventure. I was surprised that I enjoyed smoked fish as much as I did. I probably would have never tried it if it wasn't for the lure of the excursion. I'd like to keep these trips going so if you have any suggestions for another field trip let me know.
I'm thinking a return trip to Hot Dougs is in order.