E & S Fish Company in St. Charles stands out as a venue that takes seafood and customer service seriously. Chef-owner Ernesto Candia and his wife Saida have nearly a decade of experience in the business.
Don’t let the modest storefront location surprise you. Suppliers deliver fresh fish daily, and E & S customers can enjoy ordering off the chef’s creative seafood-focused menu or stop by to pick up a take-out order. Yet another option is to purchase fish by the pound.
During a recent visit, a refrigerated display case showed 14 different fish. The most popular? Candia says it’s a toss up between Chilean sea bass, Alaskan halibut and Alaskan king salmon.
E & S seats 35 for lunch Monday to Saturday. Dinner is served only on Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. and reservations are required. The seafood-inspired evening menu changes frequently; a recent version included à la carte appetizers escargot, blue point oysters and a tuna tower.
Among weekend entrée options were blackened grouper, sea scallops and Chilean sea bass. A house salad or soup comes with every entrée.
Alcoholic beverages are not sold on the premises, though guests are welcome to tote their own wine or beer. No corkage fee is charged.
Diners have a lot of latitude when considering their main courses. They can choose any fish from the fresh fish case, including flawlessly prepared wild salmon. Note that to avoid compromising the integrity of its fish E & S keeps Preparation simple; kudos to the kitchen for its decision to avoid deep frying.
Our mid-day meal started with a delicious crab cake: all crab meat and no discernible filler. A mild wasabi mayonnaise topping further enhanced the dish.
The salmon was plated with a lovely julienne mix of roasted zucchini, sweet peppers and onions along with a small scoop of mashed potatoes.
A table mate found her halibut sandwich rave-worthy. It was served on a toasted french roll with a side of homemade potato salad. The sandwich came with lettuce, tomato and pickle and a lemon mayonnaise dressing (other options include garlic, wasabi or plain mayonnaise).
Classic fish tacos, shrimp quesadilla and a couple pasta dishes (shrimp primavera with fettuccine) round out the menu, along with a few sushi options.
Ready for a splurge? Consider fresh poached Maine lobster roll (at $22.95, and served only at lunchtime, this is the most expensive item on the menu).
The dining area is light and airy with ample space allowed between white-tablecloth-covered tables. Anumber of trophy-size fish are mounted on the walls. Instead of a showy dining room, E & S relies on the high quality seafood it serves to keep its customers returning for more.
311 N Second St., St. Charles
Lunch: Crab cake, salmon, halibut sandwich.
Dinner: Escargot, grouper
Appetizers: $9 – $13
Entrées: $13 – $23
Lunch: Mon – Sat, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Dinner: Fri - Sat, 6 – 8 p.m.
Take-out, casual dress
Reservations: yes, on busy weekends