The quality and safety of the seafood you serve at your restaurant can make or break your business. One of the most important aspects of running a seafood restaurant is knowing how to source the highest quality fresh seafood. These six tips can help you ensure you are starting with the best ingredients.
1. Be Mindful of the Harvest and Ship Dates
When purchasing live Dungeness crab or other shellfish, it is important to keep track of the harvest and ship dates. While live shellfish can stay alive for three to four weeks, the brine will be depleted over that time, resulting in a lower quality product. It is best to choose a wholesaler, such as Fathom Seafood, that uses next day shipping, so that the product does not degrade in transit.
2. Keep Staples in Stock
Keep track of the items customers order most frequently and keep them on hand. If possible, try to find a local farm or fishmonger you can get regular, frequent deliveries from.
3. Establish Relationships With Your Fishmongers
The key to getting the best product is to have good relationships with fishmongers you can trust. A good fishmonger can help you choose the best seasonal catches. If you are lucky, you may even find vendors who will be willing to give you the first choice when new products come in.
4. Avoid Choosing the Low-Cost Option
Avoid the temptation to go for the cheapest prices. Investigate the farming and harvesting practices of the wholesalers you work with. Look for vendors with a good record of promoting sustainability and safety.
5. Purchase From Responsible Farms
It is not practical or sustainable for every fish consumed at a restaurant to be wild-caught. You will likely need to purchase some farm-raised products. Make sure the farms you work with follow environmental and safety regulations.
6. Consider Frozen Fish
Frozen fish can sometimes be fresher than fresh fish because it is frozen as soon as it is taken off the boat. Frozen fish may be a particularly good option if you are operating in a landlocked state where fresh fish has to be shipped in. Be wary of packaging with large ice crystals on it, because this may be an indication that the product has been exposed to air.
To produce high-quality restaurant dishes, you need to start with high-quality ingredients. These six tips can help you source the best fresh seafood for your restaurant.