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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Waterbar Prix-Fixe to Serve Up Wild Arctic Char

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 3:54 PM

click to enlarge rsz_arctic_char_thumb_300x123.jpg
nilsrinaldi/Flickr
Yeah, it's as pristine as that.
Even if you keep your Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch wallet guide handy, it can be hard to avoid making the kind of seafood choices that'll someday result in the oceans becoming a lukewarm slurry of algae. Is farmed fish always bad? Should you just stop eating sealife altogether? It's confusing.

A special menu at Waterbar devoted to pristinely wild arctic char will put your conscience at ease, at least for one night. The restaurant's executive sous chef is orchestrating a menu built around char hand-fished by Inuit people from waters above the Arctic Circle in Canada. For the three-course menu plus dessert (wine pairings included) -- served in the private dining room upstairs at Waterbar on Monday, August 31st, at 6 p.m. -- Justin Baade is adopting a kind of nose-to-tail approach.

"We want to try to use every part of the fish," the exec sous chef told SFoodie. Baade noted that wild char is noticeably firmer than its farmed cousins, whose flesh can skew mushy. Appetizers will include spring rolls filled with char scraped from the bones after filleting. First course is hot cedar-smoked char with a salad of waterceress and fingerlings and blackberry mostarda. For the second course, Baade plans to bake the fish to preserve it's pure taste. He'll serve it with classic salmon accompaniments, including blue lakes and a leek soubise. A crème fraiche panna cotta with local berries brings it all to a close.

The cost? $125 per person. Which, if you've got it, might not be a bad thing to spend on helping to preserve the oceans. Buy tickets and read full details (including wine picks) at the Waterbar Web site.

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