People have been telling me about the extraordinary fresh fish at Boston Fish Market in Des Plaines, Illinois, but I had no idea what I was going to encounter when my friend and I went to lunch there recently.
A Chicago business that moved to the suburbs in search of a bigger facility, Boston Fish Market has been in business for a long time and are experienced fish processors. They claim to process hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish each week from around the globe.
The fish is sold to restaurants, grocery stores, and to the public in their storefront — right next to the receiving dock. 🙂
But let’s get to the restaurant part. The menu is extensive with lots of preparation options. We ordered an appetizer version of the mixed mussels — and this is what we got for $20! My friend had told me we could share this, but there was enough here for a family. Assuming your family eats mussels…
You can see that the serving plate didn’t even fit on our small high-top table.
I ordered fried oysters, asking the guy at the cash register how many oysters would be in the serving. He replied, “Do you want a pound or a half-pound?” I asked him how many were in a half-pound and he said six. It’s very hard to get good fried oysters here in the middle of the Midwest, but even I was kind of overwhelmed by the number of crispy nuggets with a silky center. And they weren’t tiny — you can see from the comparison with the lemon and the sauce cups.
The restaurant has family-style tables in order to accommodate all the diners that crowd in here for lunch and dinner. This photo was taken at 1:43 pm, and you can see that the line is gone but the place is still pretty full.
It’s not a “cheap” lunch, but the portions are enormous and can easily be shared by a group of four people. I plan to go back another day in the morning before the lunch service starts and get some fresh fish for our dinner. I also recommend going during the shoulder times before or after the busy lunch rush. There’s an outside patio which alleviates some of the crush inside during the summer, but it’s a very popular place, despite its unprepossessing exterior.
1225 E. Forest Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60018 (847) 296-1111 (847) 803-2100
Hours: Open daily from 8:00am to 8:00pm, closed Sunday.