MFK – Lincoln Park

MFK, which stands for Mary Frances Kennedy (a preeminent American food writer), opened on her birthday, is targeted at a Mediterranean seafood experience and feels like a beachside cafe one might walk into while visiting the Mediterranean.   The atmosphere when you walk in very light and open. You can see all the way through the kitchen with the clear glass.

The vibe is light which matches the menu very nicely. To start, the drink menu features their unique take on classic drinks along with their own originals. I tried the flight to opera, a house original, which included absinthe, very tasty and light. My company tried several other drinks including the namesake MFK and all were generous in alcohol.

The service was excellent.  Our server took the time to answer our questions and made great recommendations.  We were never rushed, even after the check was paid.  We finished our cocktails and left full, happy, and more enlightened.  A return trip to MFK is certainly a must.

Ceviche Tostada del Dia:

Japanese sea bass served on a squid ink tostada with a poblano guacamole was light and full of incredibly fresh sea bass.  The combination of the fish with the poblano guacamole is an, surprisingly, excellent match.

 We hung on to our menus and continued ordering over the course of about two hours.

Boquerones with shaved fennel & piquillo peppers:

These anchovies are not your run-of-the-mill fellas that you throw on a pizza delivery.  If you are not a fan of anchovies you should really try these.  These are simply delicious.  I think the fennel really brings out the acidity of the anchovies and the peppers were perfectly roasted.

Seared corn, cotija cheese with smoked paprika

This sweet corn is grilled then sautéed in butter (elote style) then cotija cheese and paprika are added.  The smoked paprkia really made this dish shine.  There is a raw earthiness to this this dish and there is plenty to share.  It went fast!

 

Whole shrimp with chili oil

These local and fresh shrimp are seared and garnished with salt.  As the shrimp cool the juice from them are used in the sauce which is added to pickled shallots and fresh parsley and chili oil.  The shrimp are served on skewers.  The meat is tender and juicy as these have been seared perfectly.

Caramelized razor clams

Finding a restaurant that serves razor clams is very rare.  So when I saw these on the menu I had to have them!  These are cherrystone clams served with a simple chervil butter.  These were a little tougher than I would have liked but very tasty.

Tempura-fried avocado

Just when you though there was nothing more to do with a beautiful avocado…fry them up in tempura batter.  These went quick.  Lightly battered and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  Incredible!

Shishito Peppers

These were actually surprising.  These are roasted and served with fennel, coriander and cumin.  Some were rather spicy and some rather mild but we ate them, seeds and all.  Eat your heart out edamame!

Jumbo sea scallop

This perfectly cooked sea scallop is served on a golden pillow of corn milk grits and topped with pickled fresno peppers.  The grits are some of the best I have ever had.  There were three grits-loving southerners in the party that completely agreed!  The huge scallop tasted like it had just come out of the ocean.  So tender and smooth.

Manchego & speck croquettes

These were the first item to arrive to our table and every bite was savored.  These are crispy on the outside and gloriously smooth on the inside.  Speck is like a variation between bacon and prosciutto but comes from the shoulder of the pig and is cured.  This added a wonderful light and crispy texture.  These beauties are served with a roasted garlic aioli which was wonderful for dipping!

Then there was desert.  Most restaurants serve a variety of options to quench a sweet tooth and it is rare to find a place that serves a basque cake…and only a basque cake.  Most basque cakes, it seems, are to dry but not this one.  Delicate, moist, and simple.  Nothing fancy about this!  This cake stands by itself and needs nothing else.

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