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Can't find skate in Toronto restaurants!

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I was recently in New York and fell in love with skate when I first tried it. I had it in two restaurants there, and then recently had it again in Las Vegas. I absolutely love this fish!

But I have never seen it in a restaurant in Toronto - what's up with that? Anyone know where this can be found?

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  1. Cataplana on College serves skate.

    1. Last time I was at Thuet it was offered...I would expect it to be around at many of the french places, probally as Skate Grenobloise...unless out of season or something, it is a very perishable fish...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Recyclor

        Batifole does it also...had it a few times and thought it was pretty good.

        1. re: Recyclor

          Skate appears on 'Batifole's' menu quite a few times. Nicely done, crisp outside and very moist inside. Give them a call and check.

          1. re: Charles Yu

            I had it there last year (Batifole) - it was superb! My mother, who is French and grew up on it thought it was very authentically done, presented... etc...

            1. re: Charles Yu

              had the skate on the batifole menu last night and as i don't have it that often i wasn't left with that great of an impression. i can't recall the exact dish description but it was smothered in a creamy sauce dotted with green onion and capers.

              very moist but nearly to a point of mushy on the interior and certainly not a crisp exterior because of the sauce. i more so just found the sauce overpowering but then again i'm not a sauce fanatic.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                I found skate overrated when I was still buying it. Often mushy, sometimes smelly (ammonia) and never sweet like scallops. (There is an urban legend about fishmongers cutting rounds out of skate wings to sell as scallops.) I think we are too far from the sea for this one.

          2. It pains me to say this, because I love skate, but, apparently, the skate fishery is near collapse, and we should not be eating it. Period. So too orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, red snapper, etc.

            5 Replies
            1. re: hungry_pangolin

              Unfortunately many people don't seem to realise how many species are being fished out of existence. Shark and swordfish are also on the list.

              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                Very sad news indeed. Good bye Hong o Hwe from Korea House on Bloor. (raw seasoned skate in chile sauce). Thank you for the fond memories, I'll even miss the ring of fire...

                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                  Interesting! First time I heard skate being an endangered species!! The point is, I noticed almost every single Chinese supermarket with a fish department are selling them. Therefore, didn't pay much attention! May be someone should start educating them?!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    They just don't care. Most markets sell sea bass as well, and it's well publicized that it's endangered.

                2. I've had skate at Le Paradis but will no longer order it because of the above mentioned issues.

                  I had a black cod and oxtail ragout at JK at the Gardiner this week. It was so delicious I'm still thinking about it. But is black cod a fish to be concerned about? Is black cod different than regular cod? Or does the name refer to how it was cooked.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: JamieK

                    As I understand it, black cod is from the North Pacific, is not really a cod (although I'm no zoologist, so I'm willing to be corrected on this point), and is not currently endangered.

                    I'm not certain where I read/heard this, but I think that Jamie Kennedy is one of those chefs who pays attention to these issues, and would not serve an endangered species.

                    I'll try to find the link for ethical fish consumption, and post it here.

                    1. re: hungry_pangolin

                      I just looked up black cod the other night, when I bought some really cheap and then started having guilt pangs that I might be unwittingly contributing to ecological disaster. You've got it right, hp, it's a North Pacific species, and is also known as sablefish or butterfish. All indications are that the population is healthy and not overfished.

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Here's the MBA fact page on sablefish and, as you say, gets the all clear -
                        http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...
                        I must say butterfish sounds more appetizing and sablefish less anxiety-provoking than "black cod", wonder why it's not just billed as such.

                      2. re: hungry_pangolin

                        Yes, JK is, as are several other big chefs in Toronto, such as Keith Frogett from Scaramouche. However, there was an article in the Globe a couple weeks ago on this exact issue, several of them stated that they weren't aware that skate was on the list. Interesting article below... unfortunately, I don't think you're able to read it unless you're a Globe subscriber.

                        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servle...

                        1. re: SMOG

                          starfish also only serves environmentally sustainable fish.
                          add monkfish to the list of 'no eat' ....apparently they have to dredge the bottom of the ocean to catch monkfish, disturbing/destroying the precious eco-system down there.

                          1. re: todc1996

                            Yes, monkfish is included, and I've given up ever tasting monkfish liver.
                            I'm going to start a new thread on sustainable seafood, since this issue really is sensitive.

                            Here is the new link, let's hope there is some discussion!

                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/490602

                        2. re: hungry_pangolin

                          The information you are referring to is Endangered Fish Alliance

                          http://www.endangeredfishalliance.org...

                          It is a Canadian organization of "Concerned Food Professionals Looking for Sustainable Options."

                          The web site has a link to the Montery Aquarium's list of fish not to eat and to the BC Sierra club's list, However the BC link needs up dating. The info is

                          http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/quick-lin...

                          It has a "Best Choice", "Some Concerns" and "Avoid" lists.
                          "Some Concerns" includes fish which may be PCB or Mercury contaminated.

                        3. re: JamieK

                          Most seafood products from Alaska are on the healthy/sustainable fishery list. Alaska's been fairly far ahead of the curve in terms of fisheries management, and has a very good overall reputation for managing its fish stocks.

                          1. re: cybergod

                            Yeah, halibut's still ok to be eating, if I recall correctly. Alaska's a big producer, I believe.

                            Skate tastes awesome when done right. But I can live without it.

                            1. re: grandgourmand

                              There is still some Atlantic halibut caught, and it should be avoided as well as skate.
                              When I see endangered species on a menu or for sale, I let the purveyor know that they have an unhappy customer. The sellers will soon realize they are on the wrong side of the issue.

                        4. If I recall correctly, skate is currently on the tasting menu at Splendido.

                          1. If you're feeling like better than average pub grub and some good beer, Rebel House at Summerhill has had skate on their menu.

                            1. Pangea has had skate on their menu (and it was delicious), haven't been there in a few months though

                              1 Reply
                              1. Acqua has a nice skate dish on their menu. Keep in mind with the fish endangered thing, that not everything is as it seems. So called 'Sea Bass' is often actually Branzino, which isn't on the montery bay site...and even the chilean sea bass is said on that site to be avoided only b/c of it's danger to sea birds.....Skate is dirt cheap, which is weird if it's endangered....

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Under Salted

                                  If branzino is unrated, why would it be sold under the Chilean sea bass label, when that catch is so much more controversial? Mediterranean sea bass is a much smaller, younger fish: http://italianfood.about.com/od/fishd... Monterey is clear on the species:Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish.Here is some species background.(Monterey considers sustainability, bird-kill, and illegal catches in coming to its conclusion.)

                                  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                  As for skate, here is their report: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                  1. re: jayt90

                                    because many many diners don't care about endangered fish, and sea bass is delicious. (they don't call it 'chilean sea bass on the menu, just sea bass or european sea bass)

                                2. Pardon the interruption, but if you wish to discuss endangered/sustainable fish issues further, please do so on the General Topics board. We're leaving up that discussion thus far, but will remove any further discussion of that topic, so that we can keep the focus here on where to find skate in Toronto.

                                  Thanks!