Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House ReviewFor people who don’t live around Chicago, fried shrimp probably isn’t the first things that pop into their minds as a “Chicago food.”  No, you’re knowledge probably ends at Deep Dish Pizza and Italian Beef Sandwiches.

But fried shrimp is a thing, and there are dozens of outlets for it, including some mini chains.  Seems WW II GI’s, returning from the South Pacific, had developed a hankering for the tasty deep-fried morsels and more than a couple of them set up the first simple take-out stands.

Today, in addition to regular or “Chicago style” (slightly spicy), many stores sell a bit of chicken, fish, frog legs, scallops and fried vegetables.  Full typical menu looks like this:

My chain of choice is Franks Chicago Shrimp House with four outlets scattered around the city, including the one I patronize in the far northwest suburbs.  Food is sold in 1/4 increments. I always go for the catfish strips, and today, feeling bold, I threw in some onion rings and a couple of frog legs.  They do not offer local fish like walleye, smelt, perch or blue gills, but there are other places that do.

Their breading is a mix of flour and cornmeal, same for the onion rings which I suspect are made in house, because they are inconsistent, and I don’t mean that in a negative sense at all, but rather that they are irregular sizes and shapes.  Food service rings are usually identical in those regards.  It’s a nice size ring, with a juicy circle of real onion inside, not “onion bits” as some fast food joints sell.  BTW, best fast food onion rings?  Arbys.  Seriously.

The catfish is meaty flesh, slightly flaky, but firm. The breading is not seasoned, or if it is, it’s so slight as to not be detectable by old fart taste buds.  The usual array of sauces are available for dripping, tartar, cocktail, lemon juice, bbq and more.

I don’t get over there enough.  It’s a dozen or so miles from my house and I rarely have a reason to head in that direction.  I’ll make the effort in the future!

 

 

 

Frank's Chicago Shrimp House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Chums Shrimp Shack Review – East Dundee, IL

Chums Shrimp Shack Review(This will be the longest intro to a review that you’ve ever encountered!) When I was a sprout growing up on the shores of the Big Kitch-Gumee (Lake Superior), once per year, in late Spring, when the rivers feeding the lakes reached a certain temperature, the waters would be chock-a-block full of a small silvery fish called “Smelt.” The head upriver to spawn.

In the extreme, Smelt will grow to be about 7 inches long and weigh a few ounces. In nature, Smelt are food fish for salmon and lake trout.

The run would last a few days or a week, and one could count on the media for an announcement of “they’re running!”

Men would pile into cars and pickups, boys would hop on their bikes, and all would head to the rivers, with the official tool of the trade, a long handled dip net and containers to place their bounty.

In those days, one could literally dip a net in the water and lift it out teeming with hundreds of fish. Some people would fill actual garbage cans to take home.

While the rivers were shoulder to shoulder with people clad in waders, the shores were dotted with fires – as one didn’t know how long the run would last (it could stop as quickly as it began), hard core enthusiasts would stay out all night. The fish were so thick in the river, playful dogs would jump in and grab them with their teeth. Can’t really say whether they ate them or not, don’t remember that.

Concurrent with the effort, numerous charities would set up massive tents around town, and host “Smelt fries” where you could buy a heaping plate full of the fried beauties for not very much money. Due to their diminutive size, Smelts are fried and consumed whole, heads, guts, and all.

The less adventurous consumer might prefer to take their repast at a local bar, where most likely the fish had the heads removed before frying.

So to recap, in my hometown, you can be served fried smelt once a year. Not so in Chicago, where it’s on the menu year round at most Greek restaurants, as well as any of the dozens of places that specialize in fried shrimp.

Chums Shrimp Shack in new on the scene in East Dundee, IL. They offer fried shrimp, clams, oysters, smelt, cod, tenders as well as daily specials like a walleye sandwich, or catfish strips. Also in their regular offerings are wraps and po-boys.

As I am writing this, they’ve been open about a week, and are in a location that previously served an outstanding burger. Bomba’s Grill. I wrote about it. Sad that it’s gone, but Chums more than makes up for it.

I ordered the Smelt, in case you hadn’t figured out where this piece was going. The seafood offerings come in ½ pound or full pound servings. Some competitors offer ¼ pound servings as well.

The fishies were delicious. A light breading with a mild seasoning (lemon pepper?), very crispy, bite sized pieces. Childhood memories flood back.

Think I’ll be a regular. I didn’t try their fries or slaw today, but I will. Maybe I’ll even be able to talk them into offering onion rings.  Full menu below or online.

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Smelt on the hoof

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

1/2 pound fried smelt basket

 

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Menu – click to enlarge

Chums Shrimp Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Harolds Chicken Shack Review – Chicago

Harold’s Chicken Shack is a Chicago legend. Iconic to all who live on the South Side of the city, after 5 decades, Harold’s has spread to the burbs and even a couple of out of state locations.  On the menu? (Below) Fried chicken, wings, shrimp, catfish and assorted sides.

I went with a combo plate, catfish and perch, which came with fries, slaw, and white bread. All of it was excellent, and prepared to order, so it was fresh and hot. I noticed the fish and chicken have a different batter, with the former being more corn-mealy which was fine with me.  The fish batter was crispy yet light, and the fries were done perfectly.

You can order by the plate, quantity or individual piece.

Seems like there are abour 40 Harold’s locations, according to some online information. They deserve all the success they can achieve. Great product, great value.

The Schaumburg location has limited seating. Counter and a few four tops.

Wanna check out the competitor? Frank’s Chicago Shrimp is the main one.  The main thing I like about Franks is you can order by the quarter pound, and really mix things up!

 

Harolds Chicken Shack Review

Fish combo plate

Harolds Chicago Shack Review

Full menu

Harold's Chicken Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Harolds Chicken Shack Review – Chicago

Harolds Chicken Shack Review – Chicago