Savor Bristol Bay Dinner at Ampersand

August 25, 2014

I had the pleasure of attending quite a unique dinner at Ampersand, located inside seafood restaurant, Kinmont. Ampersand is a popup restaurant, bar, and test kitchen, that hosts one-of-a-kind events in a private space in the back of Kinmont. The event I attended was a rare Alaska salmon dinner, hosted by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association , and Chefs Collaborative.

Our evening included a discussion about sustainable seafood led by New York Times bestselling author Paul Greenberg. Paul discussed his latest book, American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood, which explored how the US controls more ocean than all other countries, yet more than 85% of the seafood Americans eat is imported. The book also highlights Bristol Bay, Alaska's sockeye salmon fishery, and the proposed Pebble Mine project which risks polluting Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay, Alaska supplies nearly 50% of the world's sockeye salmon with 38 million adult sockeye salmon returning to the Bay every year, on average. Commercial fishermen, chefs, jewelers, Alaska native tribes, and others have been fighting to save the salmon fishery from the mine. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency is weighing protective measures under the Clean Water Act, and is currently soliciting public comments until September 19 to protect Bristol Bay. To add your voice to the discussion about the future of Bristol Bay, head to Bristol Bay's website.

American Catch by Paul Greenberg
Author Paul Greenberg
The other component of the event was a multi course dinner featuring fresh Bristol Bay sockeye salmon flown in from the remote waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. The meal was excellent, and beautifully presented.

To start we had a rather unusual salmon dish--a crispy salmon skin chip with creme fraiche, everything spices, and pickled onion. I was a bit skeptical, but this really tasted like an everything was great and the presentation was truly a work of art!

Crispy Salmon Skin Chip
Next, was quick cured salmon with cucumber, blueberry, and lemon pepper. The cured salmon was a stunning bright red, the way fresh, wild salmon ought to look like. I loved the sweet and spicy contrast of the blueberry, and lemon pepper spice.

Quick Cured Salmon
The third course featured a generous portion of roasted salmon with tropea onion, sour cream, and salmon roe. This dish also was a work of art, but more like a Jackson Pollock!

Roasted Salmon
For dessert, we enjoyed elderflower bavarois, gooseberry, and fennel shortbread. The savory and sweet combination definitely hit the spot! We also had some mini cupcakes featuring the cover of American Catch.

Elderflower Bavarois
Mini American Catch Cupcakes
My evening at Ampersand was unique, informative, and, most importantly, delicious. I learned a lot about salmon fishing and seafood in the US, and it was great to hear Paul Greenberg speak to such an intimate audience. The salmon dinner was fantastic and has really set the bar high for what good salmon should not only taste like, but also what it should look like!

Be sure to check out the upcoming events at Ampersand--you're bound to find a unique experience!

Note: my meal at Ampersand was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Located inside Kinmont Restaurant
419 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Kinmont on Urbanspoon

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