Local eateries keep plates seaworthy
Today’s environmentally conscious restaurateur treats Chilean sea bass with a respect once reserved for giant pandas. Now that overfishing has turned once-ordinary varieties like Atlantic cod and monkfish into endangered species, the hot seafood buzzwords are “line-caught,” “wild” and “sustainable.” That means local chefs are scrambling for safer seafood that still steers clear of scaring customers. (For more info on ecologically sound seafood, visit SeafoodWatch.org)Border Grill, 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, and Ciudad, 445 S. Figueroa St.
Partners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are taking the risk of shocking ahi-loving Angelenos by removing all tuna and swordfish from their menus. “It’s incumbent on us to try to be creative,” says Milliken. “Calamari is replenished easily. I’d like to tackle sardines and anchovies, too. As the American palate matures, you’ll see people liking things with stronger flavors.”
Now on the menu: Seared calamari with white beans, peppers and Bilbao chorizo Grace, 7360 Beverly Blvd.
Partner and executive chef Neal Fraser uses line-caught king salmon in the summer but turns to farm-raised salmon out of Tasmania (?!) in the winter. Calling the operation “very well maintained,” Fraser says “farm-raised salmon has gotten a bad rap.”
Now on the menu: Line-caught Alaskan king salmon with Trumpet Royale mushrooms, basil gnocchi, pea tendrils and saba red wine sauce Sona, 401 N. La Cienega Blvd.
“We go after line-caught seafood as much as possible,” says chef-partner David Myers. “Nets damage the fish. We really go to an extreme when we purchase fish. It’s mostly wild, from environments you would have had 100 years ago.”
Now on the menu: Pacific halibut slow-poached in olive oil with toasted pistachios and lemon vinaigrette Chameau, 339 N. Fairfax Ave.
Chef Adel Chagar learned to love sardines growing up in Morocco. Those taste buds come in handy now, as small fish like sardines, herring and anchovies aren’t in danger of overfishing.
Now on the menu: Butterflied sardines with charmoula, olives, parsley and caperberries