Diners can’t always be certain where the food on their plates originates. But with the help of Derek Figueroa, COO of Denver fish-and-seafood distributor Seattle Fish Co., we highlight six responsibly harvested under-the-sea ingredients and the restaurants where you can find them.
Hybrid Striped Bass
Raised in spring water tanks in the San Luis Valley, Colorado Catch’s Alamosa bass are never frozen. Find the flaky fish at Jax Boulder in a stew with pork sausage, clams, lemongrass broth, and an herb salad. Over at TAG Restaurant, Troy Guard combines the bass with roasted sunchokes, bok choy, and broccoli-kale broth.
Referred to as “craft-raised salmon,” Skuna Bay varieties (Atlantic, coho, Chinook, and wild sockeye) hail from the glacier-fed Pacific Ocean waters surrounding Vancouver Island and are harvested in small batches. Bonus: The delivery process to retailers is carbon neutral. Support the mission with a shared plate of smoked salmon schmear at Session Kitchen (the fish is used in both the gravlax and the mousse). Or, order the salmon entrée with black garlic, natural char roe, farro, apricot, and pine nuts at Coohills.
Gulf Wild Grouper are caught by a small group of Gulf fishermen, and each fish is traceable back to the location and the fisherman who made the catch. Twelve chef Jeff Osaka
has served the meaty white fish two ways: with a potato-chip crust, and seared with plantains on top of corn risotto. At Bittersweet, chef Olav Peterson recently plated the grouper grilled with caraway Knöpfle, basil, and Dijon mustard.
Tight fishing controls, which limit the amount of catch and the days fishermen can spend at sea, make Eastern Sea Scallops a smart option. Find the relatively large mollusk topped with cashew gremolata—a fun riff on pad thai—at ChoLon. Or try the diver scallops (hand-harvested) with truffled white bean mousseline, house-made bacon vinaigrette, and apple-celeriac salad at Mizuna.
All farm-raised oysters are considered sustainable, making them a guilt-free order when dining out. At Euclid Hall, get them shucked—served with house-made hot sauce and lemon—by the half dozen or layered in a po’ boy. Or head to the six-month-old Angelo’s Taverna for classic oysters on the half shell or char-grilled specialty varieties.
While in Maine studying responsibly harvested seafood on a James Beard Foundation grant, Denver chef Paul Reilly discovered Bangs Island mussels. The mollusks spend their entire lives in the cool waters of Casco Bay. Reilly asked Seattle Fish Co. to import the mussels to Colorado so they could make a regular appearance on Beast & Bottle’s menu. In early winter, that meant mussels in a sumptuous broth of celery root milk, shallots, celery leaf, and walnut oil.
719 E. 17th Ave., 303-623-3223, beastandbottle.com