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Help with seafood restaurant please

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just took over as manager at one of the places I've been working at off and on the past couple of years. It has been in business for over 150 years in the same building, which I think is really cool. it was always known in the area for having good, reasonably priced food. The menu is primarily fish. This got started because it was originally an inn close to a railroad spur. The original owners bought fish and game from the local Indians. Today we have basic seafood items on the menu and a couple of steaks. The previous manager was just not a cook, and he dumbed the place down so bad that the business has really suffered. I'd like to make the menu more interesting without causing back-ups in the kitchen. We do most of our fish in the salalmander. We have a small grill and four burners. What I'm looking for is some simple to apply sauces or glazes that we can use to make the menu more interstiing. For instance, I made up a teriyaki- orange glaze for the salmon that people seem to like. We have cod, Canadian Walleye, yellowfin tuna, catfish, frog legs, shrimp, scallops, salmon and whatever we run for a "catch". Right now it's orange roughy. Next up is ponga and then I'm going to see if I can get some amberjack. It's a small place that seats about 50 people, so we try to turn over 3 times if we can in a night. That means we work at almost a fast-food pace so doesn't allow us very much actual cooking time. Thanks a lot for any help you can give me.
post #2 of 7
Although you mentioned a teriyaki glaze are you interested in classic European/North American preparations or a more international flair? What about different fish prep methods and spice rubs? (Or do you already have that in the bag?)
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #3 of 7
I don't know your clientele at all, but here are a few ideas off the top of my head:

Shrimp, scallop and salmon or cod "Dynamite." (Cook off fresh overstocked fish and save for Dynamite). Dynamite is a huge favorite with anglo customers at sushi bars and is very easy to make.

"Caviar Cream Sauce," a fumet based veloute with Japanese caviar like tobiko or masago. I'd probably go with red masago and green wasabi tobiko.

Maple, pepper glaze. I use this all the time with grilled and smoked fish.

"Margarita style," marinated in a limeade plus tequila brine before grilling.

"Etouffe," you can add freshly (partially cooked) grilled fish to a prepared sauce in a gratin and run it under the broiler to finish.

"Puttanesca," it's an olive, caper tomato sauce you can handle like etouffe.

A mild curry sauce -- either a Thai green or a mild gold,

That old debbil hollandaise

"Vercurzana" or "Creole" presentation.

With etouffe, puttanesca, veracruzana and creole, curry, hollandaise you can just sauce the plate (or better, a big flat bowl) and put a freshly grilled piece of fish on top. That's a lighter, fresher presentation. I don't know your clientele, you do.

"Po-boy" sandwiches with fried fish, lettuce, etc., and remoulade

Fish tacos, either "Baja style" (fried, with cabbage and mayo) or "Acapulco style," grilled served with a little bit of chopped onion, cilantro, salsa and a lime squeeze. (You don't need beautiful fillets for this, you can use fragments effectively.)

"Meuniere" and "Piccatta" (these are basically butter sauces, prepared in the pan after the fish is sauteed

Aioli or mayo may be spread on top of cooked fish and browned under the salamander

A tomato concasse

A fish pasta arrabiata

Shrimp with grits (or polenta)

You can brine fish, drain, dry and hold dried in the reefer. Brining helps a lot with grilled fish.

A simple grill rub with kosher salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, lemon peel for all grilled fish. Smoked paprika really works with grilling. Finish with a lemon/butter baste.

Offer nearly all fish choices fried or grilled.

Think about these four choices for frying: Tempura; Your standard -- whatever that is. If it's corn meal; then Panko as a third choice. If it's bread crumb, offer Corn Meal. If you're using bread crumb, consider changing to panko.

Tempura plate; and/or "Fish Fry."

I doubt your clients would be interested in anything too haute -- like an "olive cream." But if you want, I got.

Depending on available space, I would strongly consider adding a small electric or gas smoker with good low temperature capability such as a Cookshack. Since you'll most likely smoke, reserve and reheat, the smoker need not be in the kitchen proper. From the little I've been able to gather about your op, I think smoked fish would go over very well. For instance, "Fresh Atlantic Salmon with a Maple-Pepper Glaze, smoked over maple wood, and serrved with a Scandinavian Sour-Cream, Horseradish, Dill Sauce."

Smoked fish and smoked fish products like pates are outstanding for packaged retail as well as on the menu. A complimentary smoked wall-eye "spread" (or "pate," whichever word you think would go over better) with some good bread would be a nice touch and pull future sales as well. Or, perhaps better as part of an "Appetzier plate" with hushpuppies, etc.

Finally, after considering everything you already have, everything that's been suggested, and everything you've thought of on your own -- do less. Simplify the menu to a a decent number of choices you can do really well. A menu with too many choices is a real kitchen killer, and an invitation to too long storage, too much holding and too much reheating. Concentrate on things which can be prepared freshly, and keep it simple.

Happy to answer any specific questions,
post #4 of 7
Don't use Escolar as your "Catch".
post #5 of 7
Escolar tastes great. Lolla is right though; escolar is more "release" than "catch."

post #6 of 7
first off, I LOVE escolar

We serve a chive butter sauce with our salmon, its a chive compound butter passed then added to reduced cream and a little S&P and lemon juice

You could do the good ol beurre blanc or a variation on it; tarragon, citrus, blood orange or whatever

like boar d laze said a hollandaise or variation of it

I'm not sure what you serve it with, but maybe change what the sides are or you could make some chutneys, salsas or relishes to go with it

Any chance your clientele would like some sashimi or sushi?

How about using up some of those scraps into like a chowder or soup and put that in a bread bowl or we would make puff pastry patties

Best of luck
post #7 of 7
here's what's in my brain fried head...i like fruit relishes with salmon(chile honey glazed with blueberry-ginger-cilantro relish), last night did a halibut special, grilled with vanilla rum butter topped with a peach, ginger and blueberry salsa. also great with grilled pineapple. have a ginger rosemary glazed grilled tuna on our menu with two sauces(wasabi green onion, sweet thai chile)...very popular. mango is great with white fish...swordfish picatta,tuna with tomato -caper-basil relish (we serve it with a fresh portobello mushroom ravioli) crabcakes and curried salmon cakes..mahi mahi sandwich with chipotle aioli on a really good bun, or not even on a bun, maybe just a piece of grilled garlic bread, salmon with arugula pesto cream sauce, shrimp scampi, or with rum and mint or margarita style with tequila, lime, triple sec, cilantro, calamari with lemon aioli, tuna tacos(appetizer size), shrimp cocktail with a good spicy cocktail sauce ..don't know how big your menu is, but i would keep it simple.you can always add on later and you can always run a special or two a night. its a good way to find out what sells without having the inventory and refrigeration headaches..i have a restaurant(80 seats) with a ridiculously small kitchen like yours..6 burners and a grill basically so i have to keep it simple and doable, i either grill or saute.do you have room for a larger grill? think that would help alot..also there are some absolutely wonderful glazes out there that you can buy or you can make if you're a purist..mango ginger habanaro, roasted raspberry chipotle, roasted blackberry or pomegranate..you can also use thinned down mango chutney as a glaze..i like the hot chutney, then compliment it with a cool fruit relish for the fish. battered shrimp with a couple of fun sauces for the folks that love fried foods..cerviche with bay scallops..we do a chile smoked shrimp(sauteed) with a bbq hollandaise thats popular as well. one of my favorites is a red chile fried oyster appetizer or back to the fruit..a melon and jalapeno relish for halibut or blood oranges with avacado or beets are great as well we sell a ton of clam chowder each week....hope i'm not logging down your head with too much stuff..these are just some ideas that come to mind and i know to work..in the end..keep it simple, fun and give your customers something that they can't get anywhere else or make at home..'life's a fish, and then you fry'

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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