Sunday, March 19, 2017


I really like Spanish cuisine.  I also like Seafood.  When a restaurant can combine the two, it is a total win.  I went to mfk., a Spanish Seafood restaurant recently and on paper, it was a total win.  mfk. is located on the border of Lakeview and Lincoln Park on the Lakeview side.  There are several restaurants located close and the sign is pretty easy to miss.  The restaurant is actually below ground and the windows are kind of small.  Walking in, there is a guy standing on a landing before the stairs turns to the dining room with a tablet to check diners in.  There is a two-sided bar on the left side of the dining room and two and four-top tables for seating and a padded banquette.  There is also a small counter between the bar and the open kitchen where I was seated.  I had a good view of both the kitchen and the dining room and it was cool to be able to watch the goings on.  The dining room was mostly empty when I arrived, but quickly filled up.  The entire space seats about 30 people.  The walls were white painted brick with some art on the walls and mosaic tile on the wall below the front windows.  The light was provided by hanging lights.  The space did look like a basement, which it was, but it also had a very Spanish feel.  I started things off with a cocktail called Ranch Water which started with Mezcal and had Lime, Orange Bitters, and was topped with Topo Chico (Mexican Sparkling Mineral Water).  It had the smoky flavor of Mezcal, but it also had a citrus flavor and was light and refreshing.
For the start of my dinner I started with a staple of Mexican and South American cuisine, Ceviche, but this ceviche was done a little different than the standard ceviche.  This was Suzuki Japanese Sea Bass with Avocado served with Squid Ink Tostadas and Lime on the side.  One of my favorite parts of ceviche is the tartness, and this ceviche was definitely tart.  The sea bass was very tender, the avocado was very creamy, and the black squid ink tostadas had a nice crunch to finish things off.  The lime was nice for extra tartness, but I ended up eating it on its own.
A standard of Spanish cuisine is the Tortilla Espanola, something that is a favorite of mine.  When I saw it on the menu, I knew that I had to order it.  A standard tortilla espanola is essentially a thick egg and potato omelet that is served cold. I knew, going into it, that the one that I was ordering was going to be a little different because it had more than eggs and potatoes.  It was actually very different.  The dish included, in addition to the Eggs and Potatoes, Salt Cod Brandade, and Frisee.  It was also served warm.  It was creamy, and salty (but not too salty), with the fish flaky.  While it was not the standard tortilla espanola (it was more a standard brandade with mashed potatoes), it was very good and I did enjoy it.
 For the entree, I had a Whitefish with Potato Veloute, Spinach, Fresno Chilies, Farro, and Sumac.  It was a very good dish with a lot of flavor and texture.  The whitefish was flaky, tender and flavorful, with the potato veloute adding a richness, the farro adding a chewy texture, and some spice from the fresno chilies.
I finished things off with a Basque Cake, a rich, sweet, and savory cake from the Basque region of Spain.  It has a crusty exterior with a pastry cream interior.  In this case it had a crushed almond topping and a crumbly interior.  It was salty and sweet, very rich, and a fantastic finish to a very good meal.  I really enjoyed my meal here.  The staff was very friendly and the food was very good, I will definitely return when I am in the mood for Spanish seafood. 


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