Dirk's feel runs in tandem with the Lincoln Park neighborhood it calls home: kind of pricey but oh-so worth it. Step into Dirk's, and chances are you'll wonder if you're in a fish market at all. Fresh salsa, guacamole and salads line the shelves; advertisements for cooking classes abound; servers in crisp aprons wearing giant, helpful smiles greet you. You'll wonder when Whole Foods moved to Clybourn Avenue, but once you get a glimpse of the selections, you'll realize Whole Foods has nothing on Dirk's.
Here, you can try Chilean Sea Bass, softshell crab, halibut and more, including unfamiliar varieties like geoduk, John Dory and Bronzini. There's plenty of fish available on hand, including a sushi-grade tuna, hamachi, snapper and more for roll-your-own-maki fiends (you can also stock up on sushi rice, rolling mats and wasabi); more exotic varieties can require a one-day to one-week advance notice. Additionally, Dirk's offers a variety of cooked food like tuna burgers, key lime pie and smoked whitefish salad, and can pull together a tray for your next house party. Do your shopping between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday to take advantage of the shop's seafood prep demos and sampling.
Centerstage Reviewer: Venita Griffin