Why does every restaurant in the USA have Branzino in the menu?

Joined Nov 7, 2011
You say that, Ed, as though somebody comes along and paints them.

The color of farm-raised fish comes from the same chemical found in krill that gives wild-salmon their color. The color is, of course, never as deep in farm raised, which is what makes it visually identifyable.

This anti-farm-raised attitude really makes my teeth ache. There are, to be sure, some significant problems with shallow-water fish farming. But those are environmental and sustainability issues, which the aquaculture industry has been working very hard to solve. And most of them do not exist with deep-water farming, although that is much more expensive.

However, test after test has shown there is no significant difference in flavor or texture between farm raised salmon and wild.

One of our members is a fishmonger who periodically runs some tests with his customers, having them taste both kinds. The just folks customers can't tell the difference at all. The foodies can tell the difference only because of the color. As it turns out, in blind taste tests (I've run a few of my own, incidentally), there are very few people who can tell any difference----although almost everybody claims that they can ahead of time.

Far as I'm concerned, this anti-farming attitude reflects culinary snobbery at its very worst.

Meanwhile, unless you're a hunter/gatherer yourself, there's a long list of proteins you shouldn't be eating if you feel so strongly about wild vs raised. To push the issue, that would include cattle of all kinds. After all, a grain-finished cow, or even one that is grass fed, has no resemblence to a free-range steer.

But, realistically, if you purchase your proteins you have never eaten wild catfish. It's very unlikely you have ever eaten wild mussels. And it's almost a surety you've not eaten wild striped bass, wild covina, wild cobia, wild rainbow trout, or half a dozen other finned fishes we could name, including, to put a point on it, branzino.

My wife and I did blind tastings of farmed Atlantic salmon and wild sockeye. I did two identical preps. Brined and cold smoked and pan seared.

We both liked the farmed cold smoked over the wild. My wife preferred the wild pan seared. I like the farmed.

Not a fair tasting since they were not the same species but was is available to us on average in both wild and farmed
Joined Jul 13, 2012
There is a company "Local Ocean" in Hudson, NY that raises Branzino and other species indoors.  They are shipping fish all over now.  It's on every menu these days.  It's a good eating fish for not being wild caught.
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Joined Oct 2, 2012
I don't think the guy is complaining pr se about taste, but about the fact farmed fish often live in a concentrated fish toilet.  And studies have shown that a lot of fish marked in markets as "wild" is in fact farmed.  I'm sure it's fine.  It just sounds gross.
Joined Sep 26, 2013
Cheap? My friend paid $16 per lb a few months ago, I paid $11 today at fish market. They do not sell it everywhere here in South East Florida. I felt lucky to find it. I hope the taste is as delicious as Branzinos (Levrek) I had, back in Turkey. 
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Most of the comments made about it being cheap were made 2 1/2 years ago. Price changed as it gained in popularity.
Joined Feb 20, 2014
Because it is delicious.  I make it whole on the grill, like they do in Italy.

It is mostly farmed in the Mediterranean & I pay $13/LB whole cleaned.

Recently i saw it marketed as "from South America".  I know it is not caught there so it must be farmed.  I could not find any information about that & I wonder if it is true.  Does anybody know about this?
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