Getting Seafood Right: Slapfish
As we continue with Sustainable Seafood month and Restaurants that are Getting it Right, I ventured to Slapfish, a Huntington Beach eatery that was previously made famous as a food truck. Owned and operated by Chef Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude who both have over 20 years of culinary experience and have always been dedicated to conservation and sustainable seafood.
Chef Andrew Gruel was the former Program Manager of Seafood for the Future, a non-profit seafood advisory program at Aquarium of the Pacific. They are comprised of a team of specialists who encourage healthy and responsible seafood choices. They select fish that are in healthy supply and educate the public on how to purchase and choose sustainable seafood options. Andrew and Jethro have kept up the partnership and relationship with Aquarium of the Pacific and Seafood for the Future, allowing them to source and select the highest quality, healthy and sustainable seafood. Their menu is reviewed by experts and scientists from AOP and they also use FishWatch (a program established by NOAA), in order to have the most updated information on seafood harvested in the US. Andrew believes that it is important to choose fish that are in healthy supply, in order to give dwindling fish populations a chance to recover. Before working at Aquarium of the Pacific, he worked for 12 years around the US in seafood restaurants, learning about local, sustainable seafood. Andrew continues his passion and advocacy for sustainable seafood by attending environmental events and speaking to the public. He has been featured in numerous magazines and television shows, and hosted his own radio show called “Cooking with Gruel.”
While dining at Slapfish, I questioned the server on the fish available and was told that the menu is written in chalk because it is constantly changing due to sustainability, seasonality and locality. The atmosphere of the restaurant is low-key and friendly; you order your meal at the counter and then take your seat with a number and wait for your food. The food comes out fast and appealing, and our first course of albacore tuna tostada with avocado wasabi cream was simply mouth-watering.
For our main course I chose the “Ultimate Fish Taco” which the server assured me was one of the best things on the menu and had won several taco awards in Orange County. The taco was large, with huge pieces of hake, seared to perfection. The lemon aioli and coleslaw that accompanied it were a perfect match, slightly sweet and acidic but not overpowering. My husband chose the fish and chips which were also made from hake, a sustainable white fish, and he said that the batter was light and fluffy, not dense, and were ideally crisp. The large steak fries were equally delicious, especially with a dash of Slapfish’s homemade habanero hot sauce (which we bought a bottle to take home).
The restaurant was affordable, delicious and environmentally and sustainably conscious, a perfect combination.