UPDATE (10/25): Blue Ginger responds to Globe story
Wellesley’s Blue Ginger is among the restaurants singled out in an ambitious Boston Globe investigative story into fish mislabeling by restaurants, supermarkets and seafood markets. The Globe grabbed samples from a bunch of purveyors and then subjected the samples to DNA testing to determine which fish were which. As it turns out, mislabeling is commonplace, sometimes by accident, sometimes not. Issues raised in the story are the ethics of calling a fish by another name to make it more appealing to consumers as well as other potential problems, such as mislabeling fish that someone might be allergic to.
As for Blue Ginger, the Globe story reads in part:
Ming Tsai, celebrity chef and owner of Blue Ginger, said he understands the economic and environmental costs of mislabeling. But he said he used the name butterfish instead of sablefish simply because it sounds better.
“Butterfish rolls off the tongue,’’ said Tsai, who added that he thought the FDA allowed its use to describe sablefish in Massachusetts. It does not.
Blue Ginger offers Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan Butterfish for $41 on its dinner menu.
(NOTE: There actually seems to be quite a bit of confusion over butterfish vs. sablefish vs. black cod based on results from a series of basic Google searches.)
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sablefish is commonly referred to as butterfish!
Here’s the direct quote from their website:
“Vernacular names: Black cod, Butterfish, Skil, Skilfish*, Beshow, Coalfish”
Butterfish is just an ugly Sablefish with a great body