Aaah, love. Heart-thumping, gut-wrenching, the I’m-yours-you’re-mine-forever-and-all-time kind of love. Romantic love can ebb and flow; the monotony of everyday life, laundry, and bills can sometimes cool the flames. For me, planning my wedding with my Mr. Wonderful has become a fine, manic line between complete obsession and pulling myself back towards reality in fear of becoming Boring Bride: she who only communicates about THE WEDDING and forgets about the sentiment behind the event.
Some may scoff at the concept of “dating anniversaries,” but I think its important as a couple to remember and celebrate the origins of your coupledom. Since this year’s dating anniversary with Aaron was our last to fete before our marriage, it was even more meaningful to us. Aaron surprised me with a reservation at Wellfleet, which bills itself as an “occasional restaurant.” I’d read about Wellfleet a few years ago in a Chicago Magazine article that highlighted such spots (Efrain Cuevos’ Clandestino dinner parties also come to mind). Wellfleet’s dinners are held every Friday at The Fish Guy, Chicago’s solution to fish mongering.
The Fish Guy, Chicago.
The Fish Guy, otherwise known as Bill Dugan, has been in the fish business for many years and has earned a stellar reputation in Chicago. Not only does the Fish Guy sell the freshest seafood in the city, but it also holds monthly sushi classes (led by Chef Leo Bariso), provides seafood to some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, and offers delicious take-out options like lobster rolls and fish tacos. The night that Aaron proposed, he brought home fresh oysters on the half shell and caviar from The Fish Guy. So, of course, I was extremely excited for this unique experience.
Wellfleet September 2008 Menu.
As we pulled onto Elston Avenue, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Once we walked into the doors of The Fish Guy and realized that we were actually eating in the shop itself (with the fish removed from the counters), we eased in and popped open our bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Bill was extremely friendly and interested in our celebratory occasion, and was glad to talk about his career, ecological issues that impact seafood, and most importantly, the beautiful food that we enjoyed. Each dish featured The Fish Guy’s freshest selections, and each was simply amazing. Some, like the Chilled Heirloom Soup, were light and delicate, while others, like the Arugula Salad with Cortez Shrimp and Green Goddess dressing, were complex in flavor and totally addictive.
Scallops with Pico de Gallo, Wellfleet.
Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup with Bay Scallop and Herb Swirl, Wellfleet.
Arugula Salad with Cortez Blue Shrimp and Green Goddess Dressing, Wellfleet.
Sashimi of Faroe Island Salmon, Lemonfish, Mano de Leon Scallop, and Rooftop Shiso, Wellfleet.
Golden Trout with Parma Pomme Puree, Wellfleet.
We were simply over the moon all through dinner. Aaron remarked to Bill that the sashimi reminded him of “a melting brass doorknob.” In general, this simile would be labeled as the hallucinogenic type, but Bill seemed to get the gist. The sashimi was velvety-smooth and would convert all raw fish phobics. I actually hugged both Bill and dear Chef Leo on my way out, and with sincerity told them this was the best meal I’d had in a long while.