3 of a Kind: How Sustainable Lion Fish is Making a Splash
3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.
It can be difficult for conscientious diners to determine which seafood species to eat: Many options have been overfished and attacked by intrusive marine predators. Fortunately, chefs across the country have taken notice and are responding to oceanic issues by forgoing at-risk seafood and using alternatives like lionfish in their dishes instead. This beautiful but invasive reef fish is increasingly turning up in fishmonger displays and on restaurant menus.
Miya’s, New Haven, Conn.
This James Beard Award-nominated sushi place is hailed for its sustainable seafood. An entire section of its menu is dedicated to invasive species — and, yes, that includes lionfish. Its Kiribati sashimi combines the fish with Kiribati sea salt and a secret blend of a dozen mouth-numbing spices in a visually stunning — and fiery-tasting — package.
Norman’s Cay, New York City
Owner Ryan Chadwick is on a quest to minimize lionfish’s harmful effect on the marine ecosystems. His company Norman’s Lionfish provides American chefs and grocers (including Whole Foods) with a steady supply. At Chadwick’s Caribbean-themed Lower East Side restaurant, you can feast on lionfish served in a variety of ways: whole, broiled and fried, as well as in ceviche and tacos.
Little Moir’s Leftovers Cafe, Jupiter, Fla.
This cafe, owned by restaurateur Mike Moir, features a daily-changing menu rife with beyond-the-basic seafood options on any given day (think grouper cheeks or a tandoori wahoo burrito). This summer, lionfish has been making regular appearances in a slate of presentations: filleted and sweet potato-crusted, au gratin, over salad. In one recent incarnation — the Sweet N Spicy — the fish was left whole and fried, then served with a Southeast Asian-flavored sauce (kaffir lime, lemongrass, ginger and chile), vegetables and coconut rice.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Douglas Sullivan, Norman’s Cay and Little Moir’s Leftovers Cafe