Ted Stelzenmuller of Jack’s Bistro—one of the most inventive chefs in town—has come up with a wacky appetizer called "Big Brother’s in Trouble." Let’s just say real aquarium fish and sushi-grade tuna are involved.
B-mag’s associate editor Jess Blumberg saw it firsthand and told me about it. I wish I had a photo, but I’ll try and describe it.
The tuna, which you eat, is served in a martini glass with roasted garlic and basil aïoli, jalapeno and sun-dried tomatoes, and lemon "air" nestled over mâche greens. So far, so good. Then under the martini glass is a stemless wine glass with a pot-belly molly fish, scooped from the restaurant’s aquarium, swimming around, supposedly looking up at the poor brethren about to be consumed. Hence, the appetizer’s whimsical name.
So how did it come about? Ted says he wanted to have a live fish in the dining room and then decided he wanted to have a fish with a fish. "It built from there," he says.
Christie Smertycha, Jack’s manager, assures us the hardy fish are handled carefully for their brief sojourn into the dining room before being returned to their aquarium home to swim laps with their friends.
The appetizer is not available in the summer because Ted moves the aquarium upstairs, where the fish will be cooler. In season, the fish show is available for $9.75.