Chef Giuseppe Tentori’s fresh-from-the-sea creations are the mainstay of GT Fish & Oyster, his new River North eatery. So it makes perfect sense that the restaurant’s beverage menu was specifically designed to complement Tentori’s classic and contemporary seafood dishes.
The restaurant’s wine list, for example, “is geared toward wines that pair with the type of food Chef is making,” says GT Fish & Oyster’s Jordan Egan. Yes, the list features some heavier Cabs, Zins and Merlots. “But we focus on white wine and lighter reds.”
Indeed, two-thirds of the well-organized list is given over to whites and Pinot Noirs. And there are also a fair number of Champagnes and sparkling wines as well. That’s because “bubbles with this [type of] food work really well,” Egan says.
I can’t tell you how many bottles our lively group of six consumed during the course of our multi-plate meal, but we selected Good Harbor Trillium ($46), a Riesling blend from Leland, Mich., to pair with our selections. Laughably, we chose this very clean white simply because we all have strong ties to the Wolverine State. Turns out, Egan highly recommends this lush artisanal wine, which is listed under “interesting whites.”
GT Fish & Oyster also offers a small cargo of signature cocktails. The drinks — which generally feature no more than four ingredients — also were designed to match Tentori’s fuss-free cooking style.
“We try and keep it simple,” Egan says. “That way the drinks don’t get too ‘out there.’ ”
A few drinks have already proven themselves standouts at the recently-opened restaurant, Egan says. Among the most popular are the Highland Daisy ($12 – Olmeco Altos Plata Tequila, Morello cherry syrup, Mathilde Pear Liqueur, lemon) and the Waitlist ($12 – Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain, lime, grapefruit bitters).
In keeping with the less-is-more concept, the eatery’s beer list is heavy on light- to medium-bodied brews “that won’t overwhelm the food or be overwhelmed by the food,” Egan says. Of course, there are a few dark beers — Three Floyds Robert The Bruce Scottish Ale ($6) or New Holland Dragon’s Milk Ale ($11) — that go splendidly with, say, oysters, or Tentori’s outstanding clam chowder. But the majority fall more along the lines of Kӧnig Pilsener ($6) or Duvel Belgian Pale Ale ($12).
The manageable beer list, as might be expected, showcases lesser-known imports, American craft and microbrews, although there is also Bud Light ($4) for the less adventurous.
“It’s an opportunity for us to get people to try something they might not ordinarily try,” Egan says.
GT Fish & Oyster
531 North Wells Street
Chicago, Illinois 60654