Sustainable Seafood Week, NYC 2015

Last week I was lucky enough to take part in an exceptionally inspiring week in NYC: Sustainable Seafood week! Taken on by the SSW team as their social media maven (@iloveseafoodnyc !) and official photographer for the events all week, I was spoiled rotten. With experiences ranging from decadent cooking classes, to quiz nights and special dinners, it was a delight for the senses, especially for a sustainable seafood nerd like me. After such an immersive week with such inspiring sustainable-fish-positive people, I just had to share some of the highlights of my week!



I was fortunate to visit a number of remarkable restaurants this past week, all happily promoting sustainable seafood. Out of all the restaurants I visited, a few stood out from the crowd for their great cuisine and friendly staff, particularly Blue Water Grill and Northern Spy.

However, there was one restaurant that stood out from the rest. The only Monterey Bay Seafood watch-approved restaurant in NYC, Crave Fishbar is one of a kind. It feels fresh and new, and very forward thinking. And- I must say- their interiors look like something out of "The Life Aquatic." So, it makes sense that I would love it. And- to top it off- their food is GREAT. Serving up a wide range of cuisine, from traditional Mussels Provencal, to zesty Thai lobster curry, and Oysters with a refreshing wedge of grapefruit among a cornucopia of citrus toppings, it was a fantastic experience, and I encourage you to try it!



And Crave Fishbar likes to “carry it forwards” too! Crave’s head Chef Todd Mitgang, in partnership with Camilla Abder from Sea to Table, and Sean Dixon of Village Fishmongers, together taught a brilliant class at the Natural Gourmet Institute. It brought together a wonderful assortment of skills, from sourcing and preparing your sustainable species (pick Porgy!), how to an oyster, and how to cooking a masterpiece mussel meal, simply from butter, white wine and a bag of fresh mussels. It was a simple and satisfying education, and I cannot wait to use the lessons in my own kitchen soon!




Now, many of you might not believe this, but before this evening at Brooklyn Oenology, I had never before tasted real sushi. I mean the “good stuff”-- truly decadent raw-fish-topped sushi.

And goodness--  have I tried it now!

Mayanoki is a fully sustainably-sourced pop-up sushi restaurant that serves traditional multi-course omakase dinners, complete with the charming sushi chef host! We were lucky to have Chef Yoshi all the way from Nebraska (which could not be further from the sea!) and he definitely knew how to handle his fish. All seafood from the dinner was sourced from Greenpoint Fish & Lobster, and was carefully sliced, diced and pressed into delicious little mouthfuls. While everything was overwhelming new for me-- and let me say, I was truly apprehensive at the start-- I did enjoy some fantastic fish flavors. My favorite was the “charred” Arctic char, paired along with sustainably farmed Alaskan Salmon. It was delicate, flavorful, and tasty.

The strangest thing I tasted- which I really wish I had not googled before heading to the table- was the rather daunting Geoduck… See its horror here It was mild, but a little chewy for my satisfaction.

And I hate to say it- but my least favorite thing I tasted were actually two of the species I hold up most highly for their health benefits and sustainability choices: the mackerel and the sardine. I think they were just a bit too… overwhelmingly fishy for virgin fish palate. However, I will definitely try them again!




Much to my delight: one of my long-time local NY fish conservation heroes- author Paul Greenberg- also hosted an event this week! The event was in conjunction with the release of his latest book “American Catch,” which covers America’s strange issues with actually eating seafood caught from American Waters-- you might be shocked to know that 91% of seafood we eat in the USA is imported!

With the help of Chef Kerry Heffernan, Paul led a charming lunch on the stunning Grand Banks docked sailboat-come-oyster-bar-dining ship. The tasting was focussed on revealing the tastiness of often over-looked species: Bait fish! I was blown away by the culinary cleverness that met my plate: commonly unpopular fish, often overlooked at the end of the line, were paired with more popular fish that these bait fish were often used to catch! For example, a herring dish was topped with a simple lobster sauce. The butterfish dish was served with a tonnato (tuna) sauce. It was a brilliant juxtaposition to encourage new tastes, and to promote the less popular fish into a new, delicious light! And I encourage you to check out “American Catch” now- it’s a charming read on a very important topic!


Big thanks to everyone involved for a great week!!