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Restaurants ready summer seafood specialties

Original Article from Nation’s Restaurant News.com by

Spring may have recently arrived, but restaurant operators are already looking ahead to summer, which is prime season for many seafood favorites. Rather than just offering those standbys, many chefs are planning to riff on them, and also doing seafood-related interpretations of other summertime classics.

At Greenpoint Fish & Lobster in Brooklyn, N.Y., chef and owner Adam Geringer-Dunn plans to offer a Lobster Corn Dog, a version of the battered hot dog on a stick that better fits his restaurant. Geringer-Dunn dips a whole lobster tail in corn batter, deep-fries it and deep serves it with a tarragon aïoli, providing the flavors of a Maine-style lobster roll in a different format.

“New York City is oversaturated with lobster rolls these days,” Geringer-Dunn said. “We wanted to try and elevate the corndog and make it something fun that people can enjoy again in a different way.”

Limited quantities of the seafood on a stick will be available from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

At Talde, with locations in Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn, N.Y., chef Dale Talde offers Lobster Bao, an Asian-inspired take on the classic lobster roll made with steamed lobster meat with chile butter inside a bun.

“I was on a kick with lobster rolls and wanted to create one that was more my own style, so I did a bao,” Talde said. “The dish went on the menu last year and people really love it. It now stays on season round.”

Similarly, Lo Spiedo, the Marc Vetri restaurant at Philadelphia’s Naval Yard, is currently offering an Octopus Roll. Chef and partner Jeff Michaud’s spin on the lobster roll features scraps from the restaurant’s grilled octopus dish mixed with mayonnaise, celery, tarragon, lemon juice and parsley, placed on top of a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce in a buttered and grilled Pepperidge Farm top-cut roll.

Also using seafood trimmings to create an innovative summer dish is Gray Gardell-Gross, co-owner and executive chef of 668 The Gig Shack in Montauk, N.Y. Gardell-Gross decided to use the tuna loin trim from his tuna steaks to create Spicy Tuna Taquitos with toasted sesame seeds, avocado and micro greens.

“The thing that really separates the dish is that it always takes you by surprise how light and refreshing it is,” Gardell-Gross said. “It’s a real taste of summer.”

Other chefs are trying to showcase the versatility and deliciousness of some of the less-loved seafood varieties, such as monkfish and skate.

Inspired by the abundance of monkfish in the waters off Montauk, Damien O’Donnell, chef and owner of the summer-only Harbor Bistro in nearby East Hampton, N.Y., will be serving Monkfish and Chorizo Kebabs, accompanied by couscous sautéed with pancetta and tomatoes, and spinach-chipotle-lime butter.

“Monkfish, being as versatile as it is, is capable of being skewered and grilled,” O’Donnell said. “I also like the whole idea because it reminds me of summertime. This is a dish you can prepare on your backyard barbecue.”

Similarly, George’s of Galilee, located across the street from the fishing docks of Galilee, R.I., is offering a roasted, locally caught day boat monkfish with roasted tomato and bacon jam. The preparation will change come summer based on what’s available at the local farmers’ market.

And at Shaker + Spear in Seattle, chef de cuisine Chris Lobkovich has a local-caught skate. He dredges the fish in rice flour and serves it over a cream sauce with raw English peas and foraged mushrooms, and garnishes the dish with raw pea vines. When the skate is gone, Lobkovich is looking forward to serving his favorite bivalve mollusks: razor clams and geoduck. He’s considering Razor Clam and English Pea Soup, a chilled soup of English pea broth, vermouth and fish fumé poured over a salad of raw English peas, razor clam, mint, ginger, radish and beet greens.

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