John Dober, executive chef at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto in Tysons Corner, said that after conducting his own research he's excited to serve farmed bluefin that meets a higher environmental standard.
"We support the efforts of the new generation of aquaculture scientists," Dober
wrote in an e-mail, "who have raised the bar from 'farm raised' to 'sustainable.' "
On Friday, Dober and restaurant owner Glenn Hawley went to seafood distributor J.J. McDonnell & Co. in Jessup to pick up the restaurant's first Kindai tuna, flown in fresh from
After a McDonnell worker took off the fish's head and neatly removed long blocks of flesh, Dober
started slicing some of the meat from the tuna's collar for tasting.
"I've never cut a fish this expensive, and I've never had anybody watch me," he
cut the meat into large cubes and tossed it with ponzu, scallions and macadamia nuts for a Hawaiian-style poke, then sliced 1/2 -inch pieces to taste as sashimi.
"The richness is unbelievable," Dober
said once he
took a bite.
held up a slice.
"See that glistening?
That's the fat."
planned to spend the rest of the day breaking down and preparing the fish for four entrees that would be debuting on the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto
dinner menu, where the Kindai is getting its own page.
Each entree features eight ounces of the Kindai, seared, grilled or roasted in preparations that include Japanese, French or Greek flavors and accompaniments.
The entrees will retail for $49 to $53, more than $10 higher than the next-most-expensive dish on the restaurant's menu, a Hawaiian ahi tuna.
"I don't want people to taste this fish and think, 'It's okay,' " Dober
"I want them to go, 'Wow.' "
had "sleepless nights" wondering whether diners would order such a thing in the middle of a recession but reported Monday that he
had sold almost all 90 portions of the Kindai within a few days.
Customers who do try the fish can expect a visit from the chef.
"I want them to understand why this is such a big deal to me," Dober