2/29/2012 04:44:00 PM

Sardines, Smelts and Anchovies: Where to Find 'em in Chicago

Little fish: they’re polarizing. Either people love ’em or hate ’em. Yet, some of the preps we’re seeing around town could make a convert out of anyone. Take the wood-oven roasted, chervil and tarragon-accented Pacific sardines with shaved fennel and Meyer lemon vinaigrette at Little Italy’s Urban Union as an example ($10; 312-929-4302). What’s more, smelt fishing on Lake Michigan is synonymous with spring. The season runs from March 1 through April 30 (regulations apply). These babies will start appearing on menus in coming weeks - including at Shaw’s Crab House in River North (312-527-2722). But if anchovies are more your thing, find them with pickled garlic and celery leaves at Vera in the West Loop (312-243-9770).

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