This helpful tip is attributed to chef Anthony Bourdain
's frequent interviews as well as his book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
of it is that most restaurants receive no shipments on Monday, and those that do probably aren't getting very fresh fish. While this is clearly not a universal truth
, several factors make it worth considering when you're at an unfamiliar restaurant.
First of all, most restaurants only get shipments on Tuesday and Friday. This means that the fresh fish has been sitting in the kitchen's walk-in refrigerator
since early Friday morning. Every time a prep cook
, garde manger
, sous chef
or anyone else goes into that walk-in, the temperature rises. Most people wouldn't buy fresh fish on Friday that they weren't planning on cooking at home until Monday, and their refrigerators get opened a lot less often than those at restaurants.
Even if the restaurant actually got a shipment of fish on Monday morning, that doesn't necessarily mean that it hasn't been sitting at the fish market all weekend, either.
One revealing hint about the freshness of restaurant fish is the amount of ingredients and sauces that are used to mask its flavor. If it's Monday night and the fish special is broken into chunks in a cioppino
or drowning in a thick sauce, the chef is probably trying to hide something.
Considering that many fine restaurants aren't even open on Monday night, ordering fish that night is basically a game of chance. Whether or not you play it is entirely up to you.