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Snaggletooth

PHOTOS: Christina Slaton

Snaggletooth sounds like the villain in a fairy tale - watch out for Snaggletooth and his friends Hook and The Wicked Witch Of The West. But this Snaggletooth is pretty much the opposite: a very cute little specialty café-meets-deli in Lakeview.

Think of Snaggletooth as an upscale version of your favorite bagel shop. The concept is similar, but the food is more sophisticated, and focused around all sorts of truly excellent cured fish. They do a fancy take on smoked salmon (gravlax), the pastrami-cured trout is delicious, the bbq sablefish is meaty, and the lime-cured hamachi is like a deli margarita party in your mouth. The selections rotate daily, but everything is good. Get a tasting platter with a bagel (from New York Bagel & Bialy in Lincolnwood) if you want to try it all, or get a tartine, which is a fancy way of saying half a bagel with schmear and one kind of cured fish.

We say schmear because Snaggletooth has an entire “schmear bar” of Greek yogurt-based spreads. They're lighter than regular cream cheese, plus there are interesting options like kimchi schmear, honey-walnut, or jalapeño. There's also a small rotating menu of other great items like savory oats or homemade hummus and pita with pickled onions - but any first Snaggletooth trip should include the fish.

The only complaint about this place is the fact you can spend a solid $20-25 on breakfast or lunch and still end up hungry. We understand that fish can be pricey, but they could also give you a whole bagel with a tartine instead of only half.

There's nothing else like Snaggletooth around, which is why we'll splurge for it. You can't always put a price on the Oz-like enchantment of quality cured fish.

Food Rundown

Cured Fish Tasting

An assorted mix of house-cured fish for the day. Unless you're a regular, this is the reason to come here.

Fish By The Quarter Pound

Stop by and pick up some fish for later, whether you're hosting a brunch or want it all for yourself.

Tartines

At Snaggletooth, a "tartine" is a fancy way of saying half a bagel with a particular schmear and cured fish on top. The presentation is beautiful, and they taste great. Our only complaint is we wish you got a whole bagel, even if the other half came plain on the side to maintain the look. You can get a standard gravalox tartine (pictured here), or one of the other varieties.

Tuna Nicoise Tartine

Still a tartine, but this ones a bit different with confit tuna, oil-cured olives, and pickled red onions. If you like a tuna nicoise salad, you'll like this.

Specials

Snaggletooth always has a rotating list of different specials. Those specials will usually include particular tartines or cured fish, but there are other items as well. We've had things like a hummus dish with veggies and fresh pita, to more substantial breakfast dishes like savory oats or an avocado and egg toast. It's all good.

Baked Goods

See something that looks good sitting there in a serving dish? Get it, because it probably is.

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