Chef Todd Mitgang on Sustainable Seafood
New York-native Todd Mitgang is a pro when it comes to developing contemporary seafood-centric cuisine
He’s had his hand in launching numerous New York restaurants including Kittichai, Crave Ceviche Bar, and South Edison in Montauk, New York. Today, Chef Mitgang is the executive chef and co-owner of Crave Fishbar, where he dreams up memorable, sustainably-sourced seafood dishes from a “global pantry” of ingredients.
“We’re filling a void when it comes to seafood restaurants.”
Crave Fishbar is a hit among New York’s biggest foodies for many reasons, one being its offering that goes beyond the expected traditional formats. The menu boasts elevated options than what you’d expect from a traditional fish shack but is also chock full of innovative concoctions that you won’t find at a classic French seafood restaurant or steakhouse. From his point of view, Mitgang says he loves working with seafood “because it lends itself to some tremendous flavors.”
“What’s in season and where is it coming from?”
To deliver the best to his customers, Mitgang picks the brains of vendors and fishermen to discover what’s new in the market, what’s getting buzz, and where it’s coming from. Stocking his restaurants with the season’s top products and educating his staff about great options like responsibly-raised barramundi, he says, is the key to changing the conversation about farmed fish vs. wild caught fish.
Sustainability is something that Mitgang builds into his business. As a leading seafood restaurant, Crave Fishbar is proud to be vocal in offering both responsibly wild-caught and farmed fish on the menu. Under Mitgang’s leadership, Crave Fishbar was also the first NYC restaurant to partner with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch®.
“I’m surprised by how well [barramundi] selling.”
Always innovating, Mitgang was quick to incorporate barramundi to his menu after trying it out for an Australia Day special earlier this year, even though he had rarely worked with frozen fin fish before bringing Australis Barramundi into his kitchen. To date, the fish has proven to be a great performer. Mitgang offers it in a slightly larger portion which he says helps sales, and raves about how quickly and perfectly it thaws in his kitchen.
Although Mitgang’s customers are adventurous, it was interesting to learn that lesser known species don’t always sell well on the menu. Barramundi has proved to be the exception. “We have regulars like you wouldn’t believe,” he says. On Crave Fishbar’s spring menu, guests can enjoy the Plancha Grilled Barramundi with romano beans, fiddlehead ferns, fresh peas, asparagus, tahini sauce and roasted cashews, and they do—often.
Get Chef Todd Mitgang’s recipe: Pan Roasted Barramundi with Summer Veggies and Tahini Puree