Whether it’s for a special occasion or a weekly treat, most of us enjoy eating seafood. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the ate an average american 19 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2020. Plus, with less mess and no stinky cooking to worry about, it’s a meal many of us like to leave to the pros. But, if you get salmon every time you go out for seafood, you might be placing one of the many orders that chefs don’t like.
According to the people who actually cook your seafood for you, not branching out and ordering the same old thing could hamper your experience. We talked to the chefs about the orders they like and what they hate, and the consensus was to order as much fresh, local fish as possible. Surprisingly, many are also turning to healthier concoctions as well as orders that support sustainability.
Read on to find out which seafood orders chefs really don’t like and how to order well at your favorite seafood restaurant.
While it’s a healthy choice, it’s not the most sustainable choice, says chef Charlotte Langleyfounder of Seafood Scout Snacks. “It might be a hot take, but I’d say salmon. It’s a ubiquitous species in restaurants, and I’d like us to learn how to branch out beyond just ordering the salmon dish on the menu. “says Langley. “The more we diversify our consumption of different species, the better our chances of supporting the regenerative nature of our oceans and waterways.”
While many seafood restaurants have it on the menu, many chefs don’t like fish, says Chief KC Gulbro of FoxFire And copper fox. “Tilapia, simply because many chefs consider this type of fish to be “junk food” and because it takes on the taste of everything you cook. Personally, I like Tilapia, but it has a bad reputation. We serve a crab stuffed Tilapia which is delicious.”
This fish, while absolutely delicious, is on the verge of becoming endangered and should be avoided says Matt Blair, the executive chef of the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. “Chilean seabass (pattern toothfish) is an overfished species that is at risk of becoming an endangered species,” says Blair. “As many commercial fishers do not support the claim as a way to prevent overfishing, there has been an increase in illegal fishing practices.”
While most chefs take pride in everything on their menu, if they have a specialty, they’d rather you try it, says the sous chef. Chef Marissa Williams from the California seafood restaurant Grass & Sea. “I would rather my diners didn’t order the eggplant entrée, not because it’s not delicious but because it’s not seafood,” Williams told us. “We proudly source our seafood from local fisheries, so this should be the only thing you order from Herb & Sea.”
If you’re health conscious or just want to taste the fish you eat, skip the deep fryer, says Chief Ron Stewartof Chief Ron. “If I could suggest one dish for my guests to never order again, it would be any fried seafood,” says Stewart. “Frying seafood can significantly reduce its nutritional value and destroy the delicate flavor of the dish.”
The right decision at almost any seafood restaurant is to order the catch of the day, Williams says. While unfamiliar, anything listed as fresh will be just that – fresh from the ocean. “I always recommend our fresh peach dish as it’s a rotating specialty based on catches from our local fisheries,” Williams said. “We will feature fish like mutton, opah, thresher shark and sand dabs.”
Chief Sean Ferrarochef-owner of Madison Avenue Pizza (who previously worked at Morimoto), agrees, saying, “I eat seafood at restaurants regularly, at least once a week, and I mainly try to avoid frozen seafood and I try to find locally caught seafood. For example, I currently live in Tampa Bay where grouper and snapper are the main locally caught fish, and clams, shrimp and oysters are also very local.”
Italian restaurant veteran, and mortadella head owner and cook, chuck sillari gets frustrated when guests skip the humble shrimp. “In my experience, both as a chef who develops menus and a cook who works at the line, I wish customers would order more shrimp,” Sillari says.
For what? “Shrimp is an ingredient that is easy to prepare and portion in the kitchen. Shrimp cooks quickly on the line. It’s an ingredient you can get to the customer’s table quickly, allowing for more table turnover” , he explained.
Chefs aren’t afraid to make another salmon fillet, but they’d like you to branch out and try more unusual seafood delicacies, says, The Banks Fish House And Bistro du Midi, Chief Robert Sisca. “I love the ray wing. It’s a fish that I’ve eaten several times in both restaurants and sometimes customers don’t order,” says Sisca. “I plan to bring it back to The Banks this spring and continue to sell it because I love its flavor so much. Even when I go fishing I love catching them and cooking them at home with my boys. Last time that we went out together, we caught a few and they loved it!”
In case it’s not clear, chefs at seafood restaurants want adventurous customers, and if you don’t try a few raw items, they’re disappointed, Langley says. “Start with oysters, mussels and clams. Not only are bivalves and molluscs tasty and nutritious, they are remarkably durable. These shellfish require far fewer resources to harvest than most other animal proteins, argues the balance of their aquatic environment and have populations.”
This healthy preparation is expected to be more popular, says Stewart, who explains, “If I had to choose one dish that my guests would enjoy more often, it would be shallow poached seafood dishes. Not only is shallow poaching (in white wine or court-bouillon) a healthy way to prepare seafood that retains more vitamins and minerals, but it also helps bring out the natural flavors with minimal seasoning . Plus, this cooking method helps keep the fish moist without the overcooked, dried-out texture that so often accompanies grilling or baking. certain species of seafood.
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