What is in this article?:
- Chef discusses challenges, rewards of fresh seafood
- Identifying quality and exciting customers
Chef Danny Levesque disscusses how to indentify quality seafood and looks at what excites his customers most.
Identifying quality and exciting customers
What is the best way for ato learn about seafood quality?
If you have quality purveyors, they’ll show you everything you need to know. You can also inform yourself on the internet and from cookbooks. But I’ve probably learned the most from our seafood vendors through the years. And, of course, taste.
What are your guests excited about these days?
Most people are enthralled by wild seafood because it’s like the last frontier that we haven’t screwed up yet.
They have also started to go away from heavier sauces, especially in the summer, when it’s about spring rolls and ginger and cucumber salads and different grains. All the local seafood — local crab, local cod — people really appreciate that.
A lot of Middle Eastern flavors are hot, too. If I do a wild Moroccan king salmon with a yogurt sauce, people like that. It has a nice zip to it, and customers feel good about themselves after they eat.
How about shellfish?
People are enthused by the different oysters on the menu. There’s something romantic about an oyster that you don’t get from a clam. We tell the story of Casanova eating 100 oysters a day to keep his libido up. Local oysters from Wellfleet or off of Martha’s Vineyard — those are big for us.
So is local crab, because most crab comes form Indonesia. They like the local Jonah and peekytoe crabs that are always soft and moist.
Most of the meat in them is in the legs and it takes a lot of work to take them apart, so we buy the meat from vendors who use compressors to blow it out of the shell. Then we make little spring rolls or salads out of it.
In the summertime, lobster’s the king of shellfish, so we have a lobster feast for two people. It’s a two-pound lobster, a pound of local steamers [clams], a pound of mussels, steamed potatoes, corn on the cob, and a couple cups of clam chowder. It’s $85 for two people.
We also do fryer clams, which are derived from steamer clams. We do an evaporated milk batter, which is a little thicker and coats the clam nicely. Then we do a corn flour mix and fry them off in a blended oil, and serve them in a rolled-down paper bag with lemon and tartar sauce.
We just try to show off the fresh seafood that’s there, and people really appreciated it.