In 2009, Tony 'Little' D'Alessandro got the boot from Gordon Ramsay's 
Hell's Kitchen for poor performance on the fish station.

A year later, he jumped back on the bull that threw him by opening Big & 
Little's, a Near North takeout fish shack that serves up righteous seafood 
made from ingredients he shops for each morning.

The self-taught D'Alessandro and partner Gary 'Big' Strauss spiffed up the 
interior of their no-frills spot with their own four hands, adding a tiny 
bar (for sipping Jarritos while waiting). D'Alessandro brings a similar 
bootstrapping ingenuity to the kitchen, which strives for (and achieves) 
far more than appearances would imply.

Fresh fish-and-chips is two beautifully flaky cod fillets, battered and 
fried to a crisp, burnished gold. They're served atop mahogany 
sea-salt-kissed French fries, which aren't so much British-style chips as a 
riff on Belgian frites ($8).

Just as (sea-) worthy: a taco of sweet, butterflied shrimp halves swaddled 
by a smoky, freshly griddled corn tortilla with lettuce, tomato and a 
drizzle of spicy mayo ($3).

Batter-fried tilapia with house-made tartar sauce on a grill-marked bun 
makes for a satisfying fishwich ($6). Tender grilled or fried squid ($6) 
comes with a side of fries, cayenne-dusted beets and pineapples or kidney 
bean salad--all simple, but certainly not typical.

Seems this time around, D'Alessandro's not here to sink, but to swim.

Big & Little's, 939 N. Orleans St. (at Oak St.); 312-943-0000
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Tues. 02 Mar '10
People | CHICAGO
 
Hot Catch
A Hell's Kitchen castoff cooks up some seafood redemption
 
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In 2009, Tony "Little" D'Alessandro got the boot from Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen for poor performance on the fish station.

A year later, he jumped back on the bull that threw him by opening Big & Little's, a Near North takeout fish shack that serves up righteous seafood made from ingredients he shops for each morning.

The self-taught D'Alessandro and partner Gary "Big" Strauss spiffed up the interior of their no-frills spot with their own four hands, adding a tiny bar (for sipping Jarritos while waiting). D'Alessandro brings a similar bootstrapping ingenuity to the kitchen, which strives for (and achieves) far more than appearances would imply.

Fresh fish-and-chips is two beautifully flaky cod fillets, battered and fried to a crisp, burnished gold. They're served atop mahogany sea-salt-kissed French fries, which aren't so much British-style chips as a riff on Belgian frites ($8).

Just as (sea-) worthy: a taco of sweet, butterflied shrimp halves swaddled by a smoky, freshly griddled corn tortilla with lettuce, tomato and a drizzle of spicy mayo ($3).

Batter-fried tilapia with house-made tartar sauce on a grill-marked bun makes for a satisfying fishwich ($6). Tender grilled or fried squid ($6) comes with a side of fries, cayenne-dusted beets and pineapples or kidney bean salad--all simple, but certainly not typical.

Seems this time around, D'Alessandro's not here to sink, but to swim.

Big & Little's, 939 N. Orleans St. (at Oak St.); 312-943-0000
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