Blue Ginger responds to Boston Globe fish mislabeling story

UPDATE (10/27/11)

Blue Ginger’s Ming Tsai followed up with another note to followers:

I just wanted to take a moment and to bring to your attention today’s article in The Boston Globe. This story, which is a follow up story to the original article I was included in last weekend, is very important information that I felt necessary to share to help clear any confusion on my dish.

For those of you whom have known me for years and have trusted and enjoyed my food, I am happy The Boston Globe acknowledged in today’s paper that I never intentionally misled anyone and that my fish referenced in the original article is of the highest quality and is sustainably sound.

I want to thank everyone for the continued support. For everyone who visits Blue Ginger and orders my signature Miso-Sake Marinated Sablefish (a.k.a. Butterfish), dessert will be on me through the weekend!


Ming Tsai of Wellesley’s Blue Ginger restaurant, one of the eateries singled out in a Boston Globe story over the weekend on fish mislabeling, has issued a statement to defend the restaurant’s use of the term Butterfish for what is also called Sablefish.

“Sablefish is commonly called butterfish and black cod in the industry. Many chefs across the country use these names. I serve it because it is delicious and very PC, line caught and still plentiful – by the way, it is expensive because it is so popular now. I used it as a substitute for Chilean sea bass when that fish was over-fished 10 years ago. At the end of the day, as chefs, we want to provide the best tasting fish possible, and be as responsible as possible to our seas. This fish meets these objectives.

We have always told customers from day one that butterfish is also known as sablefish and even say it was commonly smoked and made into a fish spread, as the Globe noted. As a side note, we use only big eye tuna from Hawaii which is also plentiful compared to the over-fished bluefin tuna. I do 100% agree with the article that people that substitute a lesser quality fish and sell it as something else is absolutely wrong. This is not the case with butterfish/sable.

I encourage you to go to the U.S. government’s National Marine Fisheries Service website which clarifies the fact that butterfish is an acceptable vernacular name for sablefish.”