Chilean seabass, the poster fish for irresponsible seafood selection, is off the menu at Eddie V's Prime Seafood.
The uptown steak-and-seafood restaurant is now serving Hawaiian seabass instead, citing customer clamor for "additional sustainable, eco-friendly practices."
But the seabass affair illustrates why consumers often find seafood decisions confusing. Neither Chilean seabass nor Hawaiian seabass are actually seabass (As Jon Alexis from TJ's Fresh Seafood Market reminds us, "there are no bass in the sea"): Chilean seabass is a Patagonian toothfish, while Hawaiian seabass - better known as hapu'u - is a type of grouper.
Complicating matters further, only hapu'u that's wild caught in the northwest Hawaiian Islands gets a green light from Seafood Watch, the consumer advisory program based out of the Monterery Bay Aquarium. Wild-caught hapu'u from the main Hawaiian Islands rates an "avoid" recommendation.
According to a spokesperson, Eddie V's is getting its fish from the northwest Hawaiian Islands. "It is fully sustainable," e-mails Julia Thorn, offering to follow up with certification documents.
Eddie V's has also done away with its North Atlantic salmon, and is now sourcing its salmon from Scotland. And in response to the many customers who are apparently showing up at a seafood restaurant in search of proteins with legs, the latest menu includes three new non-seafood selections: Grilled lamb chops, a broiled veal chop and New York strip steak.