Oil Spills All Over Seafood Menus

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Photo: Wikimedia

As the BP oil spill cripples the seafood trade along the Gulf Coast, we were curious about how its affecting restaurants' food supplies here in New York. Who better to ask than the chefs making the rounds at last nights James Beard Foundation Awards? Jean-Georges Vongerichten is no longer serving shrimp at any of his restaurants because of risks associated with Louisiana seafood. "We have no more fresh shrimp," he explained. "I dont want to serve frozen shrimp, so Im going to take it off the menu for a little while." Don't expect to see shrimp on any Vongerichten menu for the next three or four months. You won't feel the absence so much at ABC Kitchen: "We serve mostly vegetables there," said Vongerichten. "Maybe thats the way to go."

Michael White, whose seafood temple Marea won Best New Restaurant last night, said that the spill is particularly troubling for restaurants. "First and foremost, it will raise the cost of products quite significantly," he said. "At Marea we bring in a lot of seafood from Europe, and so it [wont have] a direct [effect] but its alarming because of the fact that it just goes to show that we really always have to stay on top of offshore drilling because it really does pose a threat to wildlife and seafood."

Daniel Boulud, meanwhile, whose flagship Daniel took home the prize for Outstanding Restaurant, sees things differently. "I spoke to all my friends in Louisiana, and they told me that Louisiana is not at all affected by the oil spill," he said. "Its more about Alabama and other states. I think Im okay, but I just want to make sure that Louisiana is okay, too. I think the media is spilling a little bigger than the oil spill itself."

Waiting for the Oil Spill to Reach the Dinner Table [Diner's Journal/NYT]