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Legal Sea Foods lands a rare catch: New Zealand king salmon

 A sample plate of  Ora King Tyee.
A sample plate of Ora King Tyee.David L Ryan/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

The South Island of New Zealand is about as far as you can get from Boston, but that’s where Legal Sea Foods has traveled for its new salmon offering, the Ora King Tyee.

The fish is raised by Ora King in the Waikoropupu Springs, then moved to ocean pens off the Kiwi coast for “salt-water finishing” — a first for farmed salmon.

Legal is slated to get just two of the 40-pound-plus fish each month, out of the 10 Ora King plans to sell monthly.

“They are the Kobe beef of salmon,” Legal CEO Roger Berkowitz said Wednesday at a tasting for the media on the second floor of Legal Harborside, the only dining room in the chain where the Tyee will be served when available.


Tyee means “chief” in the Nuu-chah-nulth language of British Columbia, where Ora King says the salmon have been caught in the Campbell River on Vancouver Island since 1924.

Berkowitz described Ora King’s tyee as an almost free-range product, raised in pens with a ratio of 99 percent water and 1 percent fish, which is much more open space than most fish farms. A special blend of all-natural feed gives the fish a consistently richer, more buttery taste than other salmon, he said.

“I would put this up against any king salmon in the world,” said Berkowitz, who has run Legal since 1992.

A tyee fillet of 7 ounces to 8 ounces will run diners something under $50, while appetizers incorporating the salmon should cost about $15.

While supplies last.

Larry Edelman can be reached at larry.edelman@globe.com.