Food & dining

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Here’s what fishmongers are selling and chefs are buying

At Area Four this month, chef Michael Leviton served cod caught off Chatham.

Sustainability is a slippery issue, and at the end of the day, chefs and seafood sellers are left to make decisions that may involve compromise. Here are some of the choices they made recently, as they juggle considerations about what is local and seasonal, with price and demand.

Carl Fantasia of New Deal Seafood, a shop in Cambridge: “We’ve been selling a lot of hake as an alternative [to cod], and customers are very happy with it. Pollock is another one we feature here.’’

Kim Marden of Captain Marden’s Seafood in Wellesley: “Nantucket-based scallops; wild striped bass, not from New England, but from Maryland. And another one is silver hake from the Gulf of Maine; there’s a lot of hake being caught and price is pretty reasonable.’’


Tony Maws, chef and owner of Craigie on Main in Cambridge: “Today, I’m looking at oysters, from Maine, octopus from Spain, smelts from Nova Scotia - not Maine because it’s too warm - black bass from Maryland, organic arctic char from Iceland. On the tasting menu, Nantucket scallops and Tasmanian sea trout from New Zealand.’’

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Steve Johnson, chef and owner of Rendezvous in Cambridge: “PEI [Prince Edward Island] mussels. Oysters from all over the place, squid, mackerel.’’

Michael Serpa, chef of Neptune Oyster: “Obviously oysters and clams, both excellent choices that are sustainable and good for the environment. The guys from Duxbury, at Island Creek Oysters, drive them up every day on the truck.’’

Michael Scelfo, executive chef of Russell House Tavern in Cambridge: “I go with Trace and Trust [a Rhode Island company working to make seafood sourcing more transparent]. If they have tilefish this week, that’s what I’ll serve. Last week they only had fluke, so I sold fluke.’’