A summertime oyster takeover series at Portsmith

Portsmith Chef Nate Henssler knows a thing or two about oysters. Since opening, the Fancy Oysters (foie gras torchon, yuzu flake daikan, green apple) and Fried Oysters (squid ink panko, oyster basil aioli, trout roe) have become staple menu items.


Starting July 23, the restaurant launches its first-ever Oyster Takeover Series, a curated lineup of seasonally-inspired oysters in a weekly rotating collaboration with a collection of Chicago’s top culinary talent. Building on Portsmith’s already incredible oyster program, guests will experience the first series of this kind at a value of $5 per each specialty oyster.

With delicious creations inspired by each restaurant’s unique style of cuisine, this series is helmed by Portsmith’s Executive Chef and Partner Nate Henssler and features an all-star lineup of Chicago’s finest culinary players including Justin Diglia of Joe’s Stone CrabBrian Enyart of Dos Urban CantinaStephen Gillanders of S.K.Y.Bill Montagne of Nico OsteriaChristo Vlahos of Portsmith, and Mark Steuer of Funkenhausen.


I was recently invited to sample the oyster preparations. If you’re an oyster lover, this is one series that you absolutely must check out. Each chef has picked his own specific type of oyster, and then crafted a unique preparation. Every single one of these was superb, and I highly recommend heading to Portsmith at least once a week between July 23 and September 2. Although I loved them all, I must give a special ‘shout out’ to the first (by Justin Diglia) and the last (by Mark Steuer).


Here is the Oyster Takeover Series schedule:


  • July 23 – 29 | Justin Diglia (Joe’s Stone Crab) | Raw Savage Blonde Oyster, Pickled Green Tomato Vinaigrette, Crème Fraiche, Radish Sprouts
  • July 30 – August 5 | Brian Enyart (Dos Urban Cantina) | Raw Wellfleet Oyster with Fermented Hot Sauce and Trout Roe
  • August 6 – 12 | Stephen Gillander (S.K.Y.) | Raw Katama Bay Oyster with Basil Vinegar Mignonette and Olive Oil
  • August 13 – 19 | Bill Montagne (Nico Osteria) | Raw Island Creek Oyster, Fermented Green Tomato, Caviar
  • August 20 – 26 | Christo Vlahos (Portsmith) | Raw Wianno Oyster, Makrut Lime, Cucumber and Candied Ginger
  • August 27 – September 2 | Mark Steuer (Funkenhausen) | Roasted Barnstable Oyster, Smoked Tomato Jam, Bacon Lardons and Buttermilk Aioli


Portsmith’s Oyster Takeover Series is available through September 2 and each installment is offered Monday through Sunday. Guests can secure reservations for lunch and dinner here or by calling 312-202-6000.


Portsmith is located on the ground level of dana hotel and spa in Chicago’s River North neighborhood (660 N. State Street), serving New England inspired seafood creations. More information is available on the Portsmith website. You can also follow their social media conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.






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