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Despite shrimp’s health halo, many chains still fried the crustacean. Panda Express introduced Tangy Jumbo Shrimp, batter-fried with sugar snap peas and red bell peppers and tossed in its new tangy Asian seafood sauce as a limited-time offer in the beginning of the year.

In March, the 1,600-unit quick-service chain introduced Samurai Surf & Turf, marinated shrimp and Angus top sirloin with red bell peppers, string beans, diced tomatoes and a new Samurai sauce, available through September.

In late November it introduced Sriracha Shrimp, with Sriracha sauce, string beans and red bell peppers. All of the items were available for a $1 markup on the chain’s regular buffet price.

Besides shrimp, a variety of fish, including salmon, tilapia and swordfish, also got new treatments in 2013, with many introduced for their healthful qualities.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant put tilapia on the menu at its 33 locations in March. The fish was coated with a sesame-almond crust and served with baby arugula salad tossed in lemon vinaigrette, priced at $15.95. The casual-dining chain also offered a grilled swordfish steak with lemon vinaigrette and quinoa kale pilaf, priced at $20.95.

P.F. Chang’s offered a Grilled Pineapple-Citrus Swordfish this summer, served over rice and summer vegetables and topped with daikon sprouts, priced at $19.95.

A number of restaurants, including First Watch, introduced salmon this year. In May, the family-dining chain added a Smoked Salmon and Spring Chive Scramble, priced at $8.59, to the breakfast menu at its 130 locations.

Cheddar’s offered salmon glazed in citrus and miso and served on ginger rice with a side of steamed broccoli, priced at $7.99.

And Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, with 23 units in the Northeast, offered a habanero-lime salmon with Mexican corn and rice, priced at $15.99.

Tuna found its way onto many casual-dining menus this year, including 543-unit T.G.I. Friday’s, which added Ahi Tuna Crisps to its “Taste & Share” menu. The tuna was seared with blackening spices and served on tortilla chips with guacamole, jalapeños, Sriracha sauce and avocado vinaigrette, and drizzled with cucumber-wasabi ranch dressing, priced at $6.99.

Champps, too, offered a Four Pepper Spiced Tuna appetizer with pickled cucumbers and creamy wasabi spice as part of its low-calorie “Off-Season Training Menu” of an appetizer and entrée, starting at $9.99.

In July, Rock Bottom Brewery introduced an ahi tuna appetizer, priced at $9.95, rolled in spices, blackened and served rare with wasabi cream, and a seared blackened ahi tuna salad made with baby greens, Granny Smith apples, avocado, garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds and a choice of dressing, priced at $12.95 at its 32 restaurants.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary