Brooke Williamson hooks up a fishy feast at Esquire by Cooper's Hawk

Thu. January 12, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Esquire by Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant, 58 East Oak Street, is a modern and upscale dining establishment that somehow feels casual all the at the same time. Founded in 2005, this popular restaurant continues to grow and expand while taking patrons on culinary journeys and wine experiences throughout the year. 

The company's visiting chef series continues to evolve and flies into 2023 with a brand new offering curated by Top Chef season 14 winner Brooke Williamson. Past chef series participants have included Tom Colicchio, Tyler Florence and Carla Hall.

Vice President of Culinary & Beverage Innovation Matt McMillin was on hand to roll out the seafood-heavy menu presented by Williamson to early diners on 1/11/2023 before the big debut the day after. Williamson stated tableside that she wanted to be different from previous visiting chefs and since her Playa Provision restaurant is seafood-focused, this would be a perfect match for her. 

While there were gluten-free options on request, the options for appetizers included wheat such as the massive salted cod and clam chowder bread bowl. Surrounded by Manila clams and packed with pancetta, this hearty dish was planned to warm up diners on a chilly Chicago evening. 

The impressive Peruvian scallops on the half shell were light bites to pair with the smooth wine that Cooper's Hawk is known for. The fried crab claw pops were a crunchy must-try item accompanied by a creamy mayonnaise sauce. 

For entrees, the fried red snapper contained a unique taste formed from the masa and sesame outer coating. The pork shank slid off the bone and was in stark contrast to the heavier triple burger of prime beef, pork and duck confit. 


If guests craved more after all of those options then the dessert menu included a rum and chamomile creme caramel similar to traditional flan. Traditional coffee drinks could also follow this or sip on The Esquire Old Fashioned to envigorate one's soul.

Overall, Williamson's menu gave a good range to choose from with a Southern California charm to warm up a wintery mix of weather in January.  

Dive into the delightful menu from Williamson by making a reservation at today. Don't forget to check out information about joining the wine of the club while you are there, cheers!