S.F. Mag Wants Local Restaurants to Stop ‘Eco-Fibbing’ About Their Fish

We don't know if you should eat these.
We don’t know if you should eat these. Photo: iStock photo

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point you to this piece in the February issue of San Francisco Magazine by Erik Vance, who took his knowledge of sustainable seafood and put a dozen and a half local restaurants to the test. He went around marking up each menu “like a baseball scorecard with checks, question marks, and exclamation points,” and concludes that even here in sustainability-conscious S.F. no one is more than about 75% sustainable, despite their claims to the contrary, and several high-end restaurants like Benu and Boulevard clock in at 50% or less. “Restaurants must be held accountable,” Vance writes, and consumers to a somewhat lesser extent, because “it’s too much to ask the general public to keep tabs on an entire planet’s worth of fish.” Yeah, tell that to the dude at Legal Sea Foods in Boston, will you?

The piece is very well researched, and includes helpful diagrams, charts, and explanations of longline fishing and dredging, species seasonality, and more.

As Vance writes, as ominously as any food-conscious Berkeley science writer must, “the deci­sion I make today [for lunch] will have consequences that go far beyond the satisfaction of my personal appetite. Nothing less than the very future of our oceans is at stake.”

See his restaurant scorecard and “Eat This/Not That” charts below. Note that the overall average for the eighteen restaurants surveyed was 53% sustainable. See the full article here.

They then shined a spotlight on five restaurants, noting among “the good, the befuddled, and the ugly” truths on their menus.

Click to enlarge.


The New School of Fish [SF Mag]
Scoring the Top Menus [SF Mag]
Earlier: Legal Sea Foods Blacklisted Dinner Happens Tonight [Grub Street Boston]

S.F. Mag Wants Local Restaurants to Stop ‘Eco-Fibbing’