Thursday, December 1, 2011

How Do I Know if I’m Really Eating Halibut?

I recently read an article in  the Boston Globe saying that about 50% of the time restaurants do not serve the same fish that is advertised on their menus. Instead, they substitute a totally different and much cheaper fish.
I wonder if the same thing is happening here in the Bay Area and if so, how can I tell?
I ask because I don’t eat much fish, but when I do, it’s usually halibut, which is expensive. Most of the time it has a sauce which obviously affects the favor which would make it hard for me to tell. Plus, I don’t want to be fiscally ripped off.
In a way, unless you’re a fish expert, you’re at the mercy of the restaurants. Names of different fish are also confusing. For example there are more than 70 varieties of Pacific Rockfish — also known as rock cod — but they’re all firm fleshed, lean and mild in flavor. Sometimes the fish is misidentified on menus and in stores as snapper.
Then there’s the case of butterfish, which is also known as black cod or sablefish. Most diners also  probably don’t know the difference between the various bass, whether it’s striped, white or black. The same goes for the various types of tuna and other fish.
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