fish fraud

Court Makes Restaurant Pay $120,000 for Pawning Off Tilapia as Pricier Fish

A soleless move. Photo: Google

Lying to customers to try to save a buck on fish costs just isn’t worth it anymore. You could become the subject of a lengthy journalistic exposé, or, in the case of a Bay Area restaurant, end up on the hook for $120,000 in restitution and civil penalties. The L.A. Times says Odeum, a Mediterranean eatery with a Michelin-starred chef that serves an $80 rib eye, agreed to the whopping settlement after authorities discovered the restaurant was giving customers tilapia instead of a pricier white fish — a type of Pacific flounder known as petrale sole. The Santa Clara County health department reported Odeum was making “surreptitious seafood substitutions,” after investigating a complaint filed by a patron with an impressive palette.

The settlement requires Odeum to pay $30,000 worth of restitution in the form of $30 gift cards to customers who ordered the dish between October of 2014 and last March. Then the judge also slapped the restaurant with another $90,000 in civil penalties. The restaurant’s menu describes that $32 sole as “wild caught” and says it’s served with capers, saffron, risotto, and grilled asparagus. Odeum also offers a tilapia dish. It’s $33, but comes topped with crab.

Restaurant Fined $120K for Serving Tilapia as Pricier Fish