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Why does every restaurant in the USA have Branzino in the menu?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hello, I have noticed that the new trend in Washington is that in every single restaurant, you get Branzino.

Now, my question is why? Since Branzino is not overtly abundant in the Mediterranean.
Does anyone know why theres so much Branzino in the US? Is it all imported or is there Branzino farming in the US?

I appreciate any feedback

Thanks :)

post #2 of 26

It's the second fish farmed after salmon, but still seems to be all European according to Wikipedia.

 

Probably used as a viable replacement for the chilean sea bass but still to be marketed as a sea bass.  I've not noticed it in my neck of the woods yet.

post #3 of 26

I've seen Branzino often but, never noticed yet also that it is anywhere. As I know and patch said, it is also a farmed fish but never known it is second from salmon. :) 

 

This bass or Patagonian fish (other species)  has a lot of species as I know. Some are sweet and moist. :)

post #4 of 26

Like Tilepia used to be (cheap) now this fish is cheap to buy. They always look for a cheepy to sell the restaurants.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Like Tilepia used to be (cheap) now this fish is cheap to buy. They always look for a cheepy to sell the restaurants.



I think the key is that it's cheap, but it sounds fancy. People think "Oh a European fish. It must be good."

"We make our food; thereafter, our food makes us." - Winston Churchill (with a slight modification)
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"We make our food; thereafter, our food makes us." - Winston Churchill (with a slight modification)
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post #6 of 26

TTBOMK, no restaurant here serves it, cheap or not.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #7 of 26

Nobody around here is selling it; restaurant nor fish counter.

 

I suspect the sudden interest in it is that the celebrity chefs have been touting it, which is a sure way to get a "new" ingredient to take off. Concurrent with that popularity, of course, comes a ridiculous increase in pricing.

 

When I grew up, for instance, short ribs were a cheap cut. Now that they've become a "gourmet" item, the price is through the roof. And the classic, of course, is "Chilian Sea Bass."  

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 26

KYH''   You are so right  Short Ribs, Lamb Shanks, Pot Roast , Beef Ribs  Diablo, were so cheap we made for the staff. Now they are all """Gourmet"""????

 

Chilian Sea Bass is now a protected species, so what we get now is  SEA BASS  IDONTNO  soon to be a protected species to

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

 

 

Chilian Sea Bass is now a protected species, so what we get now is  SEA BASS  IDONTNO  soon to be a protected species to


   With the troubles the Asian carp is projected to cause, in the Mississippi river and up to Lake Michigan, that someone should start a new Asian carp campaign.  Show the Asian carp served in some exclusive restaurant and charge greater than Blufin prices for it.  It won't be long before it's overfished and near extinction.  But then I'm sure will protect it and ensure the numbers will come back.

 

    Rember all the damage the zebra mussels were going to cause Erie and Michigan? rolleyes.gif

post #10 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

KYH''   You are so right  Short Ribs, Lamb Shanks, Pot Roast , Beef Ribs  Diablo, were so cheap we made for the staff. Now they are all """Gourmet"""????

 

Chilian Sea Bass is now a protected species, so what we get now is  SEA BASS  IDONTNO  soon to be a protected species to



I remember when you couldn't give chicken wings away.  The Anchor Bar seems to have changed that.  It's good to see these "lesser" cuts of meat being used, but the price they're bringing is absurd. 

 

I was watching "Dirty Jobs" and there was an episode where he worked at a striped bass "farm".  The fish created a lot of excrement, so one of the solutions to that problem was to bring in tilapia to remove a lot of that.  After that, I have never had a desire to order "farm raised" tilapia.  :)

post #11 of 26

Did you know that farm raised Salmon is white and colored during last 2 weeks of it's life.  YUM Yum.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #12 of 26

You say that, Ed, as though somebody comes along and paints them.

 

The color of farm-raised fish comes from the same chemical found in krill that gives wild-salmon their color. The color is, of course, never as deep in farm raised, which is what makes it visually identifyable.

 

This anti-farm-raised attitude really makes my teeth ache. There are, to be sure, some significant problems with shallow-water fish farming. But those are environmental and sustainability issues, which the aquaculture industry has been working very hard to solve. And most of them do not exist with deep-water farming, although that is much more expensive.

 

However, test after test has shown there is no significant difference in flavor or texture between farm raised salmon and wild.

 

One of our members is a fishmonger who periodically runs some tests with his customers, having them taste both kinds. The just folks customers can't tell the difference at all. The foodies can tell the difference only because of the color. As it turns out, in blind taste tests (I've run a few of my own, incidentally), there are very few people who can tell any difference----although almost everybody claims that they can ahead of time.

 

Far as I'm concerned, this anti-farming attitude reflects culinary snobbery at its very worst.

 

Meanwhile, unless you're a hunter/gatherer yourself, there's a long list of proteins you shouldn't be eating if you feel so strongly about wild vs raised. To push the issue, that would include cattle of all kinds. After all, a grain-finished cow, or even one that is grass fed, has no resemblence to a free-range steer.

 

But, realistically, if you purchase your proteins you have never eaten wild catfish. It's very unlikely you have ever eaten wild mussels. And it's almost a surety you've not eaten wild striped bass, wild covina, wild cobia, wild rainbow trout, or half a dozen other finned fishes we could name, including, to put a point on it, branzino.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 26

KYH''   You are so right  Short Ribs, Lamb Shanks, Pot Roast , Beef Ribs  Diablo, were so cheap........

 

The worst of them, far as I'm concerned, is veal. Even poor people could afford veal when I was growing up. Maybe not every night, but often enough so that we didn't think of it as a special treat. Nowadays it takes a second mortgage to put good veal on the table.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

But, realistically, if you purchase your proteins you have never eaten wild catfish. It's very unlikely you have ever eaten wild mussels. And it's almost a surety you've not eaten wild striped bass, wild covina, wild cobia, wild rainbow trout, or half a dozen other finned fishes we could name, including, to put a point on it, branzino.

 

Growing up, my dad and I did a lot of trout fishing in Arkansas. While trout do occur naturally in a few Arkansas rivers, the only reason for their continued and sustained presence is due to the work of many hatcheries, where the trout are hatch and raised. You could make the argument, therefore, that these are farm raised fish, since they are grown to legal size before being introduced into various rivers. There's a chance that one of the "wild" fish that you caught has spent 99% of it's life on a farm. This isn't indicative of all the species listed, or of the average fishery, but a relavent example, nonetheless.

 

"We make our food; thereafter, our food makes us." - Winston Churchill (with a slight modification)
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"We make our food; thereafter, our food makes us." - Winston Churchill (with a slight modification)
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post #15 of 26

   Tyler, good point about some of the wild caught trout being farm raised and released in the various streams.  You can find a similar situation for many of the clubs, ponds and lakes that are simply stocked with fish.  Around here, it's not uncommon for bodies of water to be stocked with catfish, walleye, largemouth, smallmouth etc.  Just like always, they order them by the truck loads.  It's also not uncommon for certain clubs to have their own rearing ponds and release the fry after they've had a chance to grow a little.  Some of these lakes aren't even fertile bodies of water for certain species.  I'm not a fish biologist, and don't want to step too far outside of my knowledge base, but stocking a pond or lake with farm raised fish is nothing new.  About the most "unmolested" population of fish that I can think of are the river smallies around here.  But even those needed a had with a revival after many years of pollution back in the 60's and 70's.

 

   good points that you two brought up.

  dan

post #16 of 26

According to article I read  the fish are fed only carrot and carrott extracts . I have no objection to fish farms, and am not anti fish farms and am not snobbish..              Perhaps they should solve all their industry problems before selling the fish to the public.     I do however  have an  objection as to why the fish is not labeled '' Artificially Colored.'' The public has the right to know what they are putting in their bodies. Sure it may not bother anyone now, but who knows what an accumulation of the chemicals they eat will have over the years. If it has to be labeled''Previously Frozen'' by law, then it should be labeled Color Added. I might add that it is both fresh and dehydrated carrot . Dehydrated veges in many cases are treated with sulphites.  

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #17 of 26

There's a chance that one of the "wild" fish that you caught has spent 99% of it's life on a farm.

 

No argument with your basic premise, Tyler. But I think there's a general differentiation made between hatchery fish, raised for release into the wild, and farmed fish, which are raised as food. When the phrase "farmed raised" is used, the connotation is usually the latter.

 

Sportsmen rarely use the term. Instead, especially with trout, they differentiate between "released," "hold-over," and "wild."

 

Released fish are those only recently dumped by the hatchery trucks. Most states (Kentucky, alas, is an exception) try to keep the stocking schedule and location secret, so as to give the fish a chance to acclimate.

 

Hold-over fish are those which were hatchery raised, released, and become so acclimated that they are the next best thing to wild fish. There are three ways this happens: Fish stocked as adults which somehow avoid the onslaught of anglers and fish which are stocked as smolts, and grow up in that water, are the most common. The third group applies only to anadromous fishes, which are released as smolts, migrate to the ocean (or Great Lakes), and then return to their release sites as if they were natal streams. In terms of behavior, those last are indistinguishable from wild fish. And, of course, any progeny of hold-over fish that reproduce naturally would be wild by definition.

     This is not the place to discuss the pros/cons of various stocking formulae. But I'll be happy to do so in private if anyone is interested.

.

Wild fish are those where were born and raised in that body of water, or have migrated to and from it.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #18 of 26

According to article I read  the fish are fed only carrot and carrott extracts.

 

Ed, if the article actually said that, the author didn't know what he was talking about. The primary feed for farmed salmon consists of various grains and plant oils.

 

There is nothing secretive about aquaculture, and researching the facts can be done, anytime, with rather simple internet searches. Try "feeding farmed salmon" as search criteria, for instance, and see what you come up with.

 

As with all such issues, be sure and remain suspicious about any conclusions. There's a lot of spurious research on both sides of the fish farming question, and many unwarrented conclusions being promulgated by people with vested interests.

 

This is not the same as learning the operational issues, all of which are rather cut and dried.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #19 of 26

While in New York last week, I noticed that a little over half of the restaurants we went to had branzino or branzini on the menu. My wife had it at Aureole, and it was quite good.

"We make our food; thereafter, our food makes us." - Winston Churchill (with a slight modification)
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"We make our food; thereafter, our food makes us." - Winston Churchill (with a slight modification)
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post #20 of 26
I think the reason it is available at many restaurants in your area but not in most of the areas for the other respondents is that Branzino is the "hot" fish right now. Many of the NYC restaurant Professional Chefs are featuring it and using it on their menus. Since your area is considered a foodie destination (especially for fish) I think your local restaurants are just going with the demand. Branzino is by NO MEANS cheap as to be true Branzino it must be raised in Europe. It is a very mild. Flaky fish that even a non-fish lover will enjoy. It pairs well with many wines and is very versatile in the way it can be prepared. So in closing if I had to guess why all the restaurants in your area are serving it, it's because of the new demand from its recent popularity.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

You say that, Ed, as though somebody comes along and paints them.

 

The color of farm-raised fish comes from the same chemical found in krill that gives wild-salmon their color. The color is, of course, never as deep in farm raised, which is what makes it visually identifyable.

 

This anti-farm-raised attitude really makes my teeth ache. There are, to be sure, some significant problems with shallow-water fish farming. But those are environmental and sustainability issues, which the aquaculture industry has been working very hard to solve. And most of them do not exist with deep-water farming, although that is much more expensive.

 

However, test after test has shown there is no significant difference in flavor or texture between farm raised salmon and wild.

 

One of our members is a fishmonger who periodically runs some tests with his customers, having them taste both kinds. The just folks customers can't tell the difference at all. The foodies can tell the difference only because of the color. As it turns out, in blind taste tests (I've run a few of my own, incidentally), there are very few people who can tell any difference----although almost everybody claims that they can ahead of time.

 

Far as I'm concerned, this anti-farming attitude reflects culinary snobbery at its very worst.

 

Meanwhile, unless you're a hunter/gatherer yourself, there's a long list of proteins you shouldn't be eating if you feel so strongly about wild vs raised. To push the issue, that would include cattle of all kinds. After all, a grain-finished cow, or even one that is grass fed, has no resemblence to a free-range steer.

 

But, realistically, if you purchase your proteins you have never eaten wild catfish. It's very unlikely you have ever eaten wild mussels. And it's almost a surety you've not eaten wild striped bass, wild covina, wild cobia, wild rainbow trout, or half a dozen other finned fishes we could name, including, to put a point on it, branzino.


My wife and I did blind tastings of farmed Atlantic salmon and wild sockeye. I did two identical preps. Brined and cold smoked and pan seared.

We both liked the farmed cold smoked over the wild. My wife preferred the wild pan seared. I like the farmed.

Not a fair tasting since they were not the same species but was is available to us on average in both wild and farmed

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You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

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post #22 of 26

There is a company "Local Ocean" in Hudson, NY that raises Branzino and other species indoors.  They are shipping fish all over now.  It's on every menu these days.  It's a good eating fish for not being wild caught.
 

post #23 of 26

I don't think the guy is complaining pr se about taste, but about the fact farmed fish often live in a concentrated fish toilet.  And studies have shown that a lot of fish marked in markets as "wild" is in fact farmed.  I'm sure it's fine.  It just sounds gross.

post #24 of 26

Cheap? My friend paid $16 per lb a few months ago, I paid $11 today at fish market. They do not sell it everywhere here in South East Florida. I felt lucky to find it. I hope the taste is as delicious as Branzinos (Levrek) I had, back in Turkey. 

post #25 of 26

Most of the comments made about it being cheap were made 2 1/2 years ago. Price changed as it gained in popularity.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #26 of 26

Because it is delicious.  I make it whole on the grill, like they do in Italy.

 

It is mostly farmed in the Mediterranean & I pay $13/LB whole cleaned.

 

Recently i saw it marketed as "from South America".  I know it is not caught there so it must be farmed.  I could not find any information about that & I wonder if it is true.  Does anybody know about this?

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