When Shopping For Or Eating Seafood, Volume Is King

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Sea Breeze Fish Market and Grill, the subject of this week's review, has had me thinking a lot about seafood and freshness. While the flesh of every animal begins to deteriorate the second that animal dies, seafood is the most fragile of animal proteins. Beef kept under refrigeration actually improves for a few weeks, as evidenced by the premium steakhouses require for dry-aged cuts. Dry-aged fish, on the other hand, doesn't have the same allure.

Cold-water fish spoil more quickly than warm-water fish. The enzymes that support their lifestyle are used to performing their daily functions at 40 degrees. Oily fish break down more quickly too. That's why mackerel can be a bit of a gamble at the sushi bar. Properly stored on ice, the cold-water, oily fish only stay in good condition for five days. Tilapia, on the other hand, a warm-water fish with very little oil, can go more than three weeks out of water. (But who wants to eat that?)

So when a fisherman pulls any fish out of the water, it's an all-out race to get it onto someone's plate. Different species have different fishing methods, go through different auction and distribution systems, and end up behind grocery store counters, frozen in bags or thinly sliced and pressed on rice based on the price they command and the longevity of the fish, but the lowest common denominator for all fish is time.

That's why volume is so important at seafood shops and restaurants. Places that specialize in fish and that purchase and sell a lot of it don't typically have a lot of product sitting around for days. Check out their counters and you'll see black eyes, shiny skin and smooth flesh. Shop for seafood in most grocery stores and you'll see cloudy, glassy eyes, dry skin and fillets that have gotten ragged and mealy. Asian groceries are a great place to shop for fish because the customers who shop there buy a lot of it.

Once you've found a seafood counter you trust, see if they have anything to eat. That's how I found some of the best crabcake sandwiches in Maryland, and a pretty good lobster rolls in Plano.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.