“The customers come in, look at the menu and check their fish apps,” says John Brand, executive chef at seafood restaurant Ostra in the Mokara Hotel and Spa in San Antonio, Texas. Brand is referring to Seafood Watch and FishPhone, two Smartphone apps that instantly put sustainability info at the user’s fingertips. Although Brand is a fan of both technology and sustainability, “the criteria and recommendations for Southeast species are different,” he claims, and the apps don’t always get that specific.
To please his sustainability-savvy guests, Brand works with five fish suppliers who are diligent about checking sources. In addition to local Gulf seafood, fish and shellfish come in from Hawaii, the Atlantic coast, Canada and other waters. These show up on the menu in many applications, including Miniature Tuna Tacos with Japanese accents, Blackened Texas Redfish with local grist mill corn polenta and the Gulf Coast Seafood Tower, showcasing oysters, jumbo crab and peel-and-eat brown shrimp.