If you’re anything like the average American, who eats 15.5 pounds of fish per year, you may be asking yourself, “Where can I get fresh seafood near me?” There are many Gulf Coast seafood restaurants, but how do you know you’re eating at the freshest, best seafood restaurant near Houston?
Why Do So Many Restaurants Serve Frozen Fish?
Even though fresh fish generally has the best flavor, it is much harder for restaurants to store. In general, fresh fish must be cooked within two days of capture. In contrast, fish that is properly frozen below 0° Fahrenheit can be kept for much longer. Fish that has been kept at a temperature of 32° Fahrenheit can last as much as 12 days, whereas fish kept between 39.2-41° safely lasts five to six days, and fish stored at 50° lasts only two to three days. By freezing fish, restaurants can avoid receiving shipments as often and may find it easier to keep popular fish in stock for customers.
However, as a diner, your concern probably revolves around taste over convenience. “Where can I get fresh seafood near me” you may be asking, “and how do I know for sure that it’s fresh?”
How To Tell If Restaurant Fish Is Fresh
If you’re wondering, “Where can I get fresh seafood near me?” then you should know how to determine if a restaurant is serving fresh fish or not. The following are signs that a restaurant’s fish is likely frozen, not fresh.
- The fish is served without skin. The texture and color of fish skin is a good indicator of its freshness. Fish is often skinned to remove signs of freezing or signs that the fish is not the freshest.
- Only very common fish are served. More specialized fish restaurants will serve more exotic or harder to keep seafood such as oysters. Restaurants that stick to milder fish like cod or haddock that can be frozen without losing as much flavor are likely buying frozen fish.
- Most or all of the fish on the menu is fried, or the fish is heavily sauced. Frying fish changes its flavor and softens the flesh, making up for the loss of flavor and toughening that can happen when fish is frozen. Similarly, covering fish with a heavy or complex sauce hides its flavor.
- The restaurant does not know where the fish comes from. While your server may not know where the fish was caught, the chef should be able to tell you. If not, the restaurant is likely buying wholesale frozen fish from a generic buyer.
- Ask when the fish was delivered. Generally, if you ask if fish is fresh, you’ll be answered with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” However, fresh is a relative term. Truly fresh fish should be delivered daily.
How To Tell If Fish At Seafood Markets Is Fresh
If you’re a daring culinary type, instead of asking, “Where can I get fresh seafood near me?” you may actually be looking for fresh fish you can cook for yourself. If that’s the case, then you should be aware of tell-tale signs that the fish you are buying is not the freshest. Fish at a truly fresh seafood market should have:
- Bright, shiny skin Dull or discolored scales suggest the fish has been kept for a while. The same is true for skinless fillets. Fish flesh should have a strong color.
- Clear, bright eyes. Eyes on the freshest fish should bulge slightly. The eyes will begin sinking as the fish ages.
- Clean gills. Gills should be free of slime or any white, milky discharge. Gills that are bright red are indicative of very fresh fish.
- Connected Skin. Unless a fish is intentionally served without skin, the skin on fresh fish will be firmly connected to the flesh and the scales should be intact and smooth.
- A light smell. The smell of fish intensifies as it ages. Fresher fish should only have a light, pleasant scent.
When you’re looking for the freshest fish near you, rely on Crabby Daddy for the best in flavor.