Need to set your menu apart but are struggling to find cuts with center-plate potential? It's time to take to the water. The growing American seafood market is estimated at $6.4 billion, driven largely by the restaurant industry. This means that guests are ready for a sea-faring menu, especially if it’s a delightful and surprising offering. As the restaurant industry scrambles to overcome supply chain issues, dive into options that will make a difference in your dining room today.
5 Notable Fish Finds:
Restaurateurs are some of the most innovative and passionate people we know. When it comes to getting creative in a pinch, we’ve seen everything short of turning water into wine. If you’re ready to think outside of the pasture, check out these options and let your creativity set sail!
- Sea Bass
This fish is a fan favorite. Sea bass is known and loved for its mild flavor and buttery finish. Chefs around the world love sea bass for its incredible versatility; consumers love that it’s low in calories and high in protein. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense protein to add to your roster, sea bass is your star.
- Norwegian Halibut
Also known as the “holy giant,” Norwegian halibut earns its name. Farming this slow-to-grow fish in the icy fjords of Norway protects the wild halibut population from over-fishing and gives farmers exceptional control over the halibuts’ development. The result is a fish that’s large, lean, and of simply outstanding quality. Your guests will enjoy a meal that’s rich in protein and vitamins D and B12 – and whatever creative spin you'll put on those legendary fillets.
Think caviar is just for sushi chefs or patrons with money to burn? Think again. Halperns’ caviar selection covers all taste profiles, price points, and geographic locations, including farmed and wild-caught caviar from around the globe. Fish eggs are a lot more versatile than they’re given credit for. They can be served as the star of a dish or used to top other foods to give them some flair. Here’s a little refresher course on some popular caviar types:
Out of the high-end caviars, this is the most affordable option – making it the most popular type of caviar in the world.
Taste: buttery, nutty, briny, bright
Color: dark brown, gold, black (depending on variety)
Similar to Beluga and Ossetra, this European caviar is smaller in size but still packs a flavorful punch.
Taste: full-bodied, clean, crisp, briny
Color: gray or dark charcoal
This is an American caviar that’s harvested from the southern rivers of the United States. It’s a great alternative to European imports, which means it’s lower in cost. Plus, this is wild harvested, so no worries about overfishing.
Taste: intense, sweet, deep
Color: jet black
This caviar is a cousin of the prized Beluga caviar, often referred to as “River Beluga.” It’s a sustainable option found in various river basins and seas around Asia.
Taste: earthy, buttery, salty
Color: light brown
Roe is unfertilized fish egg masses from certain marine animals, including salmon, trout, shrimp, squid, and more. You’ll often see this on top of sushi.
Taste: clean, crisp
Color: orange or bright red
New to the caviar world, but eager to dip your toe into the water? Just give us a call, and we’ll help you find the perfect salty snack for your establishment.
- Stone Crab Claws
Do you know how often we hear people compare stone crab claws to lobster? (Pretty often.) Unlike other crabs, stone crabs are harvested strictly for their claws. A limited harvest season helps the population regenerate at a healthy pace. So, if you’re looking for the star of your spring menu, this is it! The season ends in May, so get them while you can!
If you’re looking for a memorable menu item, look no further than the perfectly fluted shell of an oyster. These guys are all about freshness, which is why we fly ours in daily! Our East Coast oyster selection covers multiple states, from the cold waters of Maine to the plankton-rich waters of South Carolina. West Coast oysters can’t be beat, with deep cups and buttery goodness hailing from California to British Columbia. Here are some of the most popular types of oysters:
Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea Gigas)
Shell characteristics: small, fluted, sharply pointed
Found: U.S. West Coast
AKA: named after where they are harvested, like Totten Inlet and Fanny Bay, also have trade names like “Sweetwaters” among many other names
Kumamoto Oysters (Crassostrea Sikamea)
Taste: sweet, almost nutty
Shell characteristics: deep, almost bowl-like, sharp, pointy, very fluted
Found: Japan and U.S. West Coast
AKA: often lumped in with Pacific oysters, but are their own species
Atlantic Oysters (Crassostrea Virginicas)
Taste: often described as medium salinity with a light mineral finish, but dependent on where they are harvested
Shell characteristics: flat, less jagged, shallow
Found: U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico; true Bluepoints come from the Long Island Sound
AKA: Bluepoints, Wellfleets
European Flats (Ostrea Edulis)
Taste: seaweed, sharp minerality
Shell characteristics: smooth, flat
Found: Brittany region of France and around Europe
Olympia Oysters (Ostrea Lurida or Ostrea Conchapila)
Taste: sweet, coppery, metallic
Shell characteristics: very small, jagged
Found: Puget Sound and British Columbia; wild Olympias are strictly protected, so most are cultivated
Want More Memorable, Available Menu Ideas? Halperns’ is Ready to Help.
When times are tough, we support our restaurateurs. For almost 20 years, Halperns’ has been the go-to source for top-quality proteins. In addition to exceptional seafood, we stock all types of beef, pork, poultry, and other specialty items. Ask us about our wild-caught and farm-raised seafood options, as well as fresh and frozen choices. We also carry MSC- and ASC-certified species, so we mean it when we say there’s something for everyone. Send an email to your Halperns’ sales professional, or contact us to find one in your area.