With a planned opening in June, mfk. co-owner Scott Worsham and executive chef Nick Lacasse are set to bring a seaside café feel to Chicago. Worsham and his wife Sari (formerly at Charlie Trotter's) decided to start the restaurant after one too many seaside trips conjured the wish that they "had a place like this back home." The plan is to use "the best seafood we can get" and for mfk. to be "a bright, clean, simple place" where the food won't "get too fussy," Worsham says.
Lacasse, who answered a posting on Craigslist for the job, says that, even though he worked "very closely with amazing seafood" in Seattle and Maine, it was his time on the fish station at Spring under Shawn McClain that made the biggest impact.
According to Worsham, Lacasse's menu will be broken down into four groups (items to nosh, "unfussy preparations" of seafood, large plates to share, and favorite veggies). Items on that menu will include boquerones, a tempura fried avocado, whole fresh spot prawns cooked a la plancha, cobia collar and cod cheek cataplana, whole guinea fowl roulade and much more — "the plancha is going to get a workout," Worsham states.
Though they will draw from "any cuisine that comes from where the mountains meet the sea," Worsham does add that "the Spanish influence will be pretty strong" though they're not limiting themselves to it. "Baja style seafood will be in the house and Nick has a strong love for Thai food, so I'm sure you'll see some of that influence pop up as well."
The size of the space will be quite intimate, with a total of twenty-eight seats (sixteen at tables, twelve at the bar) in the entire restaurant. They will not be taking reservations because of the size but will gladly accommodate a small amount of people with "some standing and drinking and noshing room," Worsham says.
As for the question why now, Worsham, who has spent twenty-six years in the restaurant business, including time with Art Smith's Lyfe Kitchen and Art & Soul in Washington D.C., says that "the timing seemed right" and that "everything's been falling into place" with mfk. "I kind of feel like it was meant to happen, even though I'm not a fatalist."
· mfk. Taking Over Torajiro Sushi Spot in Lakeview [~ECHI~]
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