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A Taste of the Sea

Seafood-savvy chefs share the best locales to find the ocean’s freshest harvest this season.

By Ashley Schaefer

Farallon Royal Shellfish Platter

Fruits de mer shellfish platter at Farallon

Nothing complements a warm summer day quite like a succulent lemon-squeezed scallop or a tart and tangy ceviche. For those in search of the summer sea’s sweetest bounty, however, it’s important to be aware of what seafood is in season within each region. Sleepy seaside wharf towns and bustling waterfront cities alike rejoice in the offerings from their region’s waters. Whether it’s Alaskan salmon and Chesapeake Bay blue crab or Spanish prawns and Japanese freshwater eel, seafood takes a starring role on plates around the globe during the summer months.

Fresh Catch by the Bay

Ame_Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod in Shiso Broth with Shrimp Dumplings

Sake-marinated Alaskan Black Cod at Ame

Ame

Restaurateurs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani create a fusion of flavors at Ame at The St. Regis San Francisco, offering new American cuisine that incorporates an array of fresh seafood dishes. In the intimate dining room, a custom-designed raw bar highlights crudo, tartare and cru dishes made from fish sourced straight from the local market that morning. The true showcase is Sone’s signature broiled sake-marinated Alaskan black cod and shrimp dumplings in shiso broth. The dish, recommended by the chefs, waiters and patrons alike, features a tender piece of fish surrounded by delicate shrimp dumplings in a light broth with hints of ginger. Beautifully presented with a garnish of shiso leaves, the black cod pairs well with Japanese sake from Ame’s extensive wine and spirits list. (415-284-4040; amerestaurant.com

Farallon 

Farallon, the contemporary restaurant located in Union Square, is known for its elaborate underwater-inspired decor and a bounty of seafood dishes. Chef-owner Mark Franz offers his “sophisticated interpretation” of coastal cuisine on a menu that changes daily to ensure that only fresh fish  and shellfish are used on the menu. The fruits de mer platter provides a curated selection of iced shellfish, but for a main course, the grilled Hawaiian ono gives diners a rich, meaty flavor served with organic tatsoi, Himalayan red rice and black bean sauce. (415-956-6969; farallonrestaurant.com)

Koo

Koo, which means “to eat” in Japanese in its phonetic spelling, highlights the talents of owner-chef Kiyoshi Hayakawa, a master of authentic Japanese cuisine. A native of Tokyo, Hayakawa prepares rolls and nigiri sushi from the finest cuts of fresh fish. On the menu, patrons will find a wide selection of both traditional sushi and inventive selections featuring everything from hamachi and saba to unagi and uni. Two specialty rolls showcase the creative flavors the chef is known for: the Flying Kamikaze, a combination of spicy tuna, asparagus, albacore tuna and ponzu sauce; and the Tokyo Crunch, with spicy tenkasu, hamachi, unagi, cucumber and wasabi tobiko. (415-731-7077; sushikoo.com)
— Allison Hata