In an effort to support his suffering purveyors Michael Nelson, Executive Chef at GW Fins, recently began offering a large selection of fresh seafood as well as many of the restaurant’s signature sides, sauces and desserts – all packaged to take home to prepare. Nelson took care to ensure that all of his offerings feature a majority of local ingredients in order to sustain area farmers, purveyors and businesses as we continue to grind through the fallout from this global pandemic. The majority of the fish Fins sells is spear fished by area fishermen, making this the absolute freshest fish anyone can get – unless they want to catch and clean it themselves, not something the tempts me one bit.
I spent a recent weekend playing around with filet of Mangrove snapper, a muscular hunk of golden tilefish, massive diver scallops and gorgeous large Gulf shrimp. I had some spectacular butters and glazes with which to pair them.
I learned a few things: 1.We don’t have to fear cooking finfish, as so many of us do. 2. If you start with an exemplary, fresh product you should get good results as long as you take care not to overcook it. 3.The secret to perfect scallops is a hard sear in a screaming hot cast iron pan with the faintest slick of neutral oil. 4. Chef Mike’s porcini butter could save absolutely any dish from tedium, ditto his smoked jalapeño glaze. 5. I don’t have the chef’s plating skills.
While this was fun to play with at home, for the real deal I’m sticking with the pros. Here is what’s on off take home from GW Fins:
Seafood: Sheepshead 2, 7-ounce filets, $14; sea scallops U-10 6 each, $18; 16/20 Gulf shrimp $14 pound; softshell crab 2 each $18 (Wild Card, subject to change).
Sides (all are one pint): Mashed sweet potatoes, $8; dirty rice, $8; collard greens, $8; shrimp Creole, $12.
Soups and Salad (all are one pint): Seafood gumbo, $12; lobster bisque, $12; local arugula and strawberries with feta and balsamic vinaigrette, $8.
Desserts (all are one pint): Salty Malty ice cream sundae and banana pudding, $7 each.
Glazes (all are one cup): Korean, pineapple basil and jalapeño mango, $6 each.
Butter Sauces (all are one cup): Barbeque, pesto, sundried tomato, porcini and Meyer lemon with capers, $6 each.
And, GW Fins Signature Biscuit Mix is $5.
In addition, Fins also resumed offering curbside pickup with an exciting new 3-course Fins Feast Menu with one selection per course starting at $39 per person. As of press (May 15), the menu currently on offer is as follows. Appetizers: Lobster dumplings, white fish mousseline, tomatoes and lobster butter; barbecue shrimp deglazed with Abita Amber and goat cheese grits; or crispy pork belly, compressed pineapple, ginger slaw (Wild Card, subject to change). Entrées: Parmesan crusted Sheepshead, jumbo lump crab and asparagus; wood grilled scallops with mushroom risotto and porcini butter; fried softshell crab spoonbread with crawfish maque choux (Wild Card, subject to change); or Scalibut with Royal Red risotto and pea shoot butter. Desserts: Samoa with coconut sorbet, chocolate shell and coconut shortbread; chocolate bombe with raspberry coulis; or tiramisu with espresso Amaretto cake and Dutch cocoa powder (Wild Card, subject to change).
Lastly, The Fresh Market in the Garden District (3338 St. Charles Ave.) is now selling pints of GW Fins insanely popular, utterly divine Salty Malty ice cream.
I recently enjoyed a very fine socially distanced picnic in a verdant park in the Algiers Point neighborhood. We compiled a lovely meal with goods from the Faubourg Fresh Market, a well-appointed specialty grocery that serves the tight knit neighborhood with offerings from local purveyors. Look for a strong selections of artisan beers and wine and products from Bellegarde Bakery, St. James Cheese Company, French Truck Coffee, local produce and meats, sauces, and spices from Capt’n Jack’s Smokehouse. Artisan soaps, candles and essential oils are also offered.
It is a super sweet spot.
Faubourg Fresh Market, 541 Bermuda St, 494-1715, FaubourgFreshMarlet.com
GW Fins, 808 Bienville St., 581-3467, GWFins.com