Chef Kevin Smith may be a newcomer to the Freds Chicago kitchen, but he’s already heating things up. Each season, the restaurant will be offering new salads, entrees, and desserts that make use of locally sourced ingredients. “Because we’re located in the Midwest, there are a ton of great farms around here to work with. We like to utilize them as much as we can,” he tells us. “We’re also really trying to identify with the Chicago crowd by offering a menu that both suits their tastes and keeps all of the Freds’ classics.”
On a recent visit to the Windy City, the chef prepared four of these new dishes for us, starting with an appetizer of hamachi and Columbia River salmon crudo. “This type of salmon is only available for a short period of time, so it’s very seasonal. All the fish used at Freds is freshly-caught,” he explains. “Really nice colors are brought out with the watermelon radish and the blood orange, and we like to use the latter in cocktails too. The crudo, though, is a great shared plate that can be eaten like a taco. You’ll really get all of the flavors together in one bite.”
The next dish he served up was the Beef Carpaccio With Fried Oysters. The filet is garnished with pickled celery and topped with crunchy seafood. While preparing the dish, the brine is mixed with traditional hollandaise sauce for a unique spin.
The chef drew inspiration for the Coconut Curry Mussels from what he learned while at the Chicago Yacht Club. “This version has a beautiful yellow sauce, and we use our fresh Freds focaccia bread that’s baked each day. It’s so nice for dipping!”
Another dish on the rotating menu is the Tempura Lobster. “The Chicago clientele is always looking for healthier options, so this is kept light and is plated over fresh beans and peppers. I add a hint of lemon, too, which goes well with poached lobster,” Chef Smith notes.
Smith describes his cooking style as contemporary American with a global influence that’s seen throughout his recipes. As for what we can expect next at Freds Chicago? “Fall vegetables like squash and Brussels sprouts will come back, as well as a selection of braised meats. We’ll also incorporate more fall flavors like pumpkin into the menu, as well as heartier choices when the weather gets colder,” says the chef. If you’ll be in the area, make a reservation with us here or call 312.596.1111, to get a taste of Freds Chicago’s latest offerings.