Speaking off the toque: John Zotos, known to staff and customers as Chef Righteous, presides over St. Petes Dancing Marlin [300 Main Street, (713)227-1511], a new downtown seafood restaurant. He was asked a question many local diners have wondered about in recent years.
Q: Houston is so close to the Gulf of Mexico, yet many local menus are loaded with seafood from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and waters beyond. Why so?
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A: The wild part of serving seafood on any menu is that the wrong piece can make one either dead or wish they were. Outside of procuring insurance, the seafood vendor is the chefs best friend along with the nice federal inspector. In some cases, a farm-raised product guarantees quality, weight and cost. At St. Petes, we do use Gulf Coast product as well as product from both coasts. In order [for customers] to feel comfortable, we serve blue point oysters at our raw bar. These are oysters commonly found in Gulf Coast oyster beds; the only difference is that the blue points are harvested in cold-water beds off Maryland and Virginia and are not introduced to the bacteria that cause the red tide, which can close Gulf Coast beds. To ensure our customers best interests, we select product from multiple locations. Remember, fish is good brain food.