Grouper Test - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 02-11-2011, 09:05 PM   #1
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Default Grouper Test

Since we are expanding into to seafood at our restaurant, I wanted to make sure the grouper we are getting is really grouper. So I have bought some big wild grouper filets at Joe Pattis, some farm raised grouper, some strawberry grouper and some Basa catfish from Mekong River in Vietnam. Am cooking some of all to sample tonight to see and taste the difference. On appearance alone, Basa is a longer narrow filet sized like I would have expected them to be. The farm raised grouper is a shorter wider filet and the wild is from a much larger fish and sold in sections of the overall filet. The snowy grouper would be the nearest in size to the Basa. Next will be the taste test.

My purpose of the this test is to never sell basa at our restaurant, but to also know what the difference is by looks and taste. Any further input would be appreciated from all.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:46 PM   #2
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Well, I cooked all three fish. My wife got there for the test. I had our dinner laid out. So I gave her the basa first. She said right away she thought it was catfish, then said maybe it is grouper. I then gave her some strawberry grouper and she right away said she thought it was grouper. I then gave her some farm raised grouper and she thought it was sea perch. I used to cook this a lot for the family, so she knows what it tastes like.

I personally thought the basa tasted like catfish, with that silty muddy bottom after taste. The grouper tasted potent and I agreed the other grouper tasted like sea perch.

I had read somewhere that most commercial (Sams Club) packaged grouper was usually some other fish like sea perch, rock bass, etc. I am convinced it probably was.

The basa was surprising in its nice clean firm texture and white looking fillets. But the knowing from the famous you tube on here had me not wanting to consider this fish otherwise.

The strawberry grouper was the least expensive grouper at Patti. The basa is just plain cheap comparably to local fish including mahi and flounder.

I can see why basa would have been considered for a fish sandwich on the other thread. Big fillet and makes a big sandwich for a right price.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information. I wondered how to tell, or to even know if restaurants are serving what they say that is on the menu. I heard Basa has a good flavor but it is difficult for me to go into Patti's Deli and buy a Basa sandwich after I see those fishing boats at the dock.
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:26 PM   #4
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Kudos to you! Yes it is interesting times these days...Fish is hard to tell what it is unless you land it yourself...Yall take a look at a fish called kingclip...it is being passed off as grouper now too
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:06 AM   #5
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I can tell you for a fact. I have been dealing with Maria's seafood for over 30 years and when you see Grouper on the tag there it's USA produced real sea caught Grouper. Call and ask for Ray or Charlie 432-4999 if interested tell them Ron told you.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:11 AM   #6
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Good post Thanks!!! Well i know that the Grand marlin uses Maria"s Seafood! I was out there fishing one day and met one of the higher ups!! I asked him about the local seafood places. Just curious?? He told me that everything they receive from maria's is authentic and they would dare not try any other vendor!! So theres my input on it for what its worth!
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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Most of the larger locally owned places serve what they advertise theses days. Or, they advertise it as fish/white fish/etc. (i.e. "fried fish"). If I remember my dates right, about 4-5 years ago the state did a test on most of the restaurants. The two restaurants I worked @ were aware the tests were coming. At this time most of the local guys switched to the "real thing." Notice I say most.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealark View Post
I can tell you for a fact. I have been dealing with Maria's seafood for over 30 years and when you see Grouper on the tag there it's USA produced real sea caught Grouper. Call and ask for Ray or Charlie 432-4999 if interested tell them Ron told you.
Yes, Marias does sell real grouper, I went by there and looked. Unfortunately being a smaller place, they had a limited selection, higher price and the fish had just a slightly aged look for me to purchase. Not old mind you or anything like that. I do not think they have the turn over that Patti has. I go in there and there are sometimes a 50 to a 100 people in there and they have a huge selection. Most commercial grouper is rather sizeable and comes in block cuts across the filet. Basically sizable chunks to cut down further. Stand at Pattis or Marias and study the fish for a while so you begin to know the difference.

This morning I sat down with Frank Patti and got a good scoop on the seafood business in general. Prices are pretty well fixed at wholesale for one thing. Most all seafood is packed commercially and frozen either on boats or at landing. Its like a commodity now. Each type of fish to some degree has grade variance. Frank is an interesting millionare and I know his background and I also know there are people that hate the patti family. I try to never hate anyone. Frank said the industry is totally controlled by the feds through regulations. He said anyone of any size selling seafood other than advertized could be arrested fined or either imprisoned. He named 2 that did the catfish and grouper thing and what happened to them. Between his shipyard and seafood the man makes millions. I'm glad for him. He indicated there is another fish that is going to be hitting the market beside Swai, Basa and Tilapia. I thought I wrote it down, but didn't.

One of the things that I was impressed with was the the shortage of fish. The way to tell this is look at the fillets and whole fish that are available. There is a shortage. While sitting with Frank someone called and they worked a trade on something they were out of. Probably Marias. Marias is owned by Peg Leg Petes from what I had heard a few months ago.

So the bottom line, fish better be what is advertised or ask. Most all fish is moved around box frozen. Prices are fairly well fixed. You will get better price deals for basic prep seafood rather than fancy and more of it, usually at smaller places. Fish is going to cost alot even if you fish for it from your own boat or in my case a kayak.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:56 PM   #9
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PegLegs, and two other restuarnts in Pensacola get their seafood from Marias. I cant remember what other two it is but i want to say, ajeanbrees(sp), and maybe The crab Trap. I think PegLegs and ajeanbeers is the best two places in Pensacola for fresh seafood. They are pretty much the only two i will eat seafood at besides sometimes Red Lobster.
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
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PegLegs, and two other restuarnts in Pensacola get their seafood from Marias. I cant remember what other two it is but i want to say, ajeanbrees(sp), and maybe The crab Trap. I think PegLegs and ajeanbeers is the best two places in Pensacola for fresh seafood. They are pretty much the only two i will eat seafood at besides sometimes Red Lobster.
Well, maybe now you can try our place for seafood lunch sometime since I am very discerning the freshness and type of seafood we will sell. I will tell you which type of fish I use or it will be as described.
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