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The picturesque Calumet Fisheries gets a lot of love around these parts and beyond, and it deserves all it gets. Their smoked salmon, trout, whitefish, sable (and, rarely, chubs) are all wonderful, but historically, if there's one item I've gone out of my way for it's the monstrous smoked shrimp. But lately I've become disillusioned with them, particularly after trying Alan Lake's peat-smoked shrimp. Calumet's are fat and sweet, but sometimes mushy. Lake, who only smokes his for about 12 minutes, speculates that they are oversmoked (a call put in to 95th street revealed that they are smoked for about an hour.)
With shrimp on my mind I recently bought a pound at another worthy smokehouse that perhaps doesn't always inspire the ardor that Calumet does. The smoked shrimp at Portage Park's Hagen's Fish Market are smaller than Calumet's but they are sweet and tensile, maintaining a proper textural integrity. They are lighter on the forest fire notes—I'm told they're boiled first and spend just about 20 to 25 minutes in the smokehouse. Let's call them smoke-kissed. They're also five bucks cheaper, at $15.99 a pound.
Hagen's Fish Market, 5635 West Montrose, 773-283-1944