fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

School of Fish: Class Is in Session. First-Class.

By Sandra Kytle Woodward | Photography by Jessie Shepard

We’re not kidding.  It’s no exaggeration to say that everything about School of Fish in WindMark Beach is first-class. And, really, what else would you expect from the folks at JOE, the developers of WindMark, or indeed from Clark and Blake Brennan, third-generation members of New Orleans’ famed “First Family of Food,” who operate and manage School of Fish?

Nevertheless, restaurants that are part of development properties are sometimes noteworthy more for their convenience than for their culinary quality. School of Fish, we are pleased to report, is swimmingly different.

From the menu to its prime location, from the breezy sophistication of the open-air bar and the upstairs dining room to the WOW! factor of the first-floor main restaurant, this is a place you will be delighted to add to your list of favorites. Factor in the Brennan Big Easy hospitality and you know it’s going to be a special evening.

View of Navy Pier Featuring Lake Michigan And The Centennial Ferris Wheel

When we enjoyed School of Fish on a recent family outing, our party of five arrived just before sunset. The upstairs bar, open to the Gulf breezes, tempted us to linger, but since our table awaited us, we mentally bookmarked the inviting space for a later visit.

In the intimate dining room, we found another welcoming setting that takes advantage of the sunset view. The scene is casual and playful, but definitely for those who care about food. We pondered a deliciously tempting menu over drinks – including a sampling of the evening’s featured wine, a pinot grigio from Cool Fish. We teased our delightfully accommodating server by suggesting the wine may have been featured as much for its name and its bottle, which is covered with brightly colored fish, as for its taste. But the flaw in our foolish assumption was soon revealed: Cool Fish Wines is a line developed by California-based Stonehedge Vineyards, specifically to complement seafood. We can only hope the other four wines in the group live up to this exceptionally priced winner.

Although seafood is center stage at School of Fish, the menu features beef, chicken and even country ham options. Locally caught fish, local produce and local organic chicken indicate the Brennans’ stated commitment to a Florida-based menu.  In all, there is an array of small plates, salads, entrees and side dishes for every conceivable palate.

We began with an assortment of small-plate selections, where the famed Brennan Creole influence is evident yet subtle, and exceptionally so in the superb corn and shrimp chowder with andouille sausage that featured tiny, tender kernels of yellow corn, succulent shrimp and spicy bits of andouille in a silken, lightly creamy base. The chilled crabmeat plate was beautifully accented by its tangy lemon/shallot/pepper dressing. The excellent duck pâté was accompanied by a very pleasant selection of cornichons, whole grain mustard and other accents that enhanced the duck liver beautifully.



Here is a kitchen that celebrates seafood by first pairing it with flavors that enhance its subtlety and then knowing when to stop…cooking, that is. The chef must even have taken into account the number of steps the server would need to get our herb-crusted black grouper to the table. It arrived perfectly prepared in a luscious lemon truffle sauce and accompanied by tender-crisp asparagus. We indulged in an additional side dish of the spicy-sweet, aromatic island rice, one of several Caribbean-influenced items on the menu. Grilled skewered Gulf of Mexico shrimp were accented by a lovely mango sauce, and the grilled scallops arrived in a buttery lemon sauce, also perfectly prepared. Don’t let the term “sauce” fool you – the chef’s light hand is evident here as well, with the less-is-more concept lending that perfect enhancement.

View of Navy Pier Featuring Lake Michigan And The Centennial Ferris Wheel

View of Navy Pier Featuring Lake Michigan And The Centennial Ferris Wheel  

Dessert offerings were generous enough for sharing, and we opted for two with a distinct Brennan heritage – Creole crème caramel and New Orleans bread pudding. Both were exceptional, but the crème de menthe parfait and chocolate hazelnut marquise were equally tempting and reason enough to return.

This is the Brennan family at its best. The commitment to fine food, to a casual family atmosphere and to local providers makes School of Fish a welcome addition to the region.

— V —

Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail