Restaurants chains such as Gordon Biersch and Ocean Prime are putting an exotic touch on their seafood dishes
Bold and exotic flavors are major themes for this summer’s seafood promotions at restaurant chains across the country, with wasabi, chiles, miso and coconut combining with classic citrus.
Sweeter combinations are appearing on menus, too, such as perennially popular tropical fruit salsas and temperate-climate fruits such as apples and raisins.
Bruegger’s Bagels is offering a sandwich based on the California roll, a popular sushi item featuring crab, avocado, cucumber and wasabi wrapped in white rice and seaweed. The California Roll Smoked Salmon Sandwich is made with cucumber, smoked salmon, avocado and wasabi cream cheese and served on a sesame bagel.
“We tested the California Roll Smoked Salmon Sandwich in two of our markets and our guests raved about it,” Bruegger’s executivePhilip Smith said in a press release. “They loved the fresh taste combination and unexpected Asian flavor of our wasabi cream cheese that makes this sandwich unique.”
The new item is available at a suggested price of $7.49 at Bruegger’s 305 locations through Sept. 18.
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant’s summertime limited-time offers, available through Aug. 5, focus on Caribbean flavors, including a Caribbean Combo of coconut shrimp, shrimp and lobster spring rolls, and jerksliders for $19.95. The coconut shrimp is also available with a churrasco steak for $22.95.
The 32-unit chain also is offering a citrus-marinated lobster, crab and shrimp salad, which is served over mixed lettuce and topped with mango, tomatoes and cucumbers and tossed in balsamic-orange dressing for $15.95. Blackened mahi mahi with tropical fruit salsa, jasmine rice, vegetables and black beans is also on the menu, for $18.95.
Tossed, a seven-unit chain based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that specializes in made-to-order salads, is serving an award-winning salad that features the unusual pairing of canned tuna and fruit for three months, starting July 1. Tangy Sweet Tuna Salad, which sells for $8.99, won the chain’s annual national salad competition. It was submitted by Greg Heller, an investment professional in Boston, and is made with Romaine hearts, cucumbers, bell peppers, egg whites, golden raisins, fat free raspberry vinaigrette and a tuna salad made of canned tuna mixed with dried cranberries, apples and mayonnaise.
Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, an 11-unit chain based in Phoenix, is living up to its Southwestern heritage with its Southwestern Crab Salad. The lunchtime salad has crabmeat, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and avocados, and is served with marinated romaine hearts, asparagus and a crispy hardboiled egg for $15.95.
On its dinner menu, the chain is using a farm-raised Australian fish, barramundi. The fish is prepared with a citrus glaze, served with roasted summer succotash and topped with grilled pineapple salsa for $21.95. Also on the dinner menu is lobster ravioli striped with squid ink and served with roasted green chile sauce and red bell pepper purée for $18.95.
Ocean Prime, the nine-unit member of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, based in Columbus, Ohio, is rolling out some summertime staples. They include oysters on the half shell for $16 and a market-priced shellfish tower. Both are now served with horseradish instead of mignonette, signaling consumer demand for more pungent flavors.
New to the menu is miso cod with shrimp dumplings, edamame and a shiitake mushroom broth for $26 and shrimp linguine with spinach, tomato, garlic butter and goat cheese for $27. Alaskan halibut is being paired with sautéed summer vegetables and a plum tomato compote for $36. And for an unusual surf and turf, yellowfin tuna is being served alongside foie gras with carrots, asparagus and mushroom ragout for $39.