I should preface this post by saying I know very little about seafood. I’ve been to seafood restaurants before, and I cook fish for myself, but I’m definitely not well-versed on the edibles of the sea – for which I have two justifications. First and foremost, I was an insufferably picky eater growing up, and also an only child, so I mostly got to choose what I ate. The only “seafood” I liked was New England clam chowder and the occasional fish stick. Luckily I got over the picky eating, but really didn’t start eating fish until I was in college. But because of my lack in experience and knowledge, I’m apprehensive to go out for seafood for fear of looking like an amateur when I order. Most of the seafood restaurants I’ve been to are the kind of joints with white table cloths, wine lists longer than my arm, and menu items lacking helpful descriptions. I’ve also usually gone with people who know a lot more about seafood (aka parents) and in which case I didn’t have to order for myself. While I realize pride is a dumb reason to avoid a certain kind of restaurant, knowing it’s dumb hasn’t stopped me. But when I heard about Sink | Swim’s opening last week I was more than intrigued.
What reeled me in first was the pure lack of information. Location, menu, hours of operation, etc. weren’t easily available at first – and I suppose that’s the point. Apparently these “surprise openings” are becoming a thing in Chicago, Lost Lake used a similar tactic. I envisioned myself searching the streets of Logan for Sink | Swim like a wayward sea captain blown off course who crashes upon the shore of the remote island she was in search of all along. Luckily I was able to find the address, or else I would’ve never made it since I have the worst sense of direction of anyone I know. What also attracted me was it’s relationship to Scofflaw, a great Gin-centric cocktail bar in Logan. Scofflaw, Slippery Slope, and now Sink | Swim, are all part of the same group. I’ve already expressed my affection for Slippery Slope, but honestly had forgotten about Scofflaw – thought it’s actually a hard place to forget.
When I first moved to Chicago I randomly happened upon Scofflaw, and remembered thinking it was the coolest bar I had ever been to. It was decorated with the best textures; exposed brick, soft black leather, marble, dark wood, and smelled amazing. It essentially looked like my imaginary future loft. But I had been sipping the gin and juice hard on my first visit, and couldn’t remember what Scofflaw was called or where it was the next day, though I remembered most everything else. I figured it was one of those unicorn bars that you get the pleasure of experiencing once and never again. Time passed, I moved on. Just recently, someone asked me if I had been to Scofflaw, and my automatic answer was no. Obliviously I had to Google it. I still didn’t realize it was the bar until I went back for my second visit. Still love it, and never heard of someone not loving it. So there’s my long-winded way of saying Scofflaw is super cool and I like it a lot.
My point is, by association, Sink | Swim had to be on a similar level. Another thing I liked about Scofflaw was that I didn’t feel like a complete idiot asking questions about drink ingredients I didn’t recognize; the bartenders almost seemed happy to answer my questions and make suggestions. Considering my seafood ordering phobia, I hoped this practice would transfer (it did!). Our server, reminiscent of a put-together Llana from Broad City, gave great recommendations, most notably the Seaweed and Potatoes. I could eat this dish every day for the rest of my life. We also ordered the Butter Lettuce, 3 East Coast and 3 West Coast Oysters (mind you I’ve had oysters twice before this), as well as the Fish and Chips. Everything was fresh and amazing.We were plenty full after splitting our 4 dishes, so I desperately want to return for the Gin Cured Salmon and Pecorino Cake.
The vibe was chill and casual, as well as funky fresh, with a colorful, yet minimalistic, nautical-themed interior. It’s the kind of place you can go before going out or where you could make a night of it, savoring cocktails and sharing plates late into the night. Since it’s casual, you won’t find white-table cloth prices, but since there is so much thought and care put into the dishes and drinks it still feels upscale. Bonus, it’s next to Scofflaw! I’m interested to see what others think, but overall I had a great experience, and look forward to getting my hands on that salmon. I’d like to think I swam, rather than sank, on my first adult seafood fare adventure (sorry I’ll work on my puns). Get your rese.
Arty the Alien