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Jul 21, 2008 12:07 PM

Chilean Sea Bass alternatives

Chilean Sea Bass in the Boston area runs about $25 per lb, do you know of any reasonably priced alternatives that are similar in taste/texture? I would like to use it for a bbq grill.

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  1. Even beyond the horrendous price for Chilean sea bass, there is another very good reason to avoid this fish - despite it's unquestionable deliciousness. It has been over-fished to the point of near extinction and even the "legal" fishery is difficult to regulate because it's almost impossible to know whether the fish you've bought has been legally caught or not, leading to plenty of shady dealings. Many good restaurants have removed it from their menus.

    Instead of Chilean sea bass, try black cod or sablefish (two names for the same fish). It's luscious and flavourful - but not very easy to find. I understand that this is a sustainable fishery and the fish itself is absolutely delicious. Not sure how well it grills, but it is absolutely beautiful pan-seared.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Nyleve

      I agree with everything above. I avoid it because of the sustainability issues, and substitute black cod/sablefish, which I actually prefer.

      1. re: Nyleve

        yes - it's the extinction that makes it expensive - like tiger meat! i can't believe restaurants and grocery stores still sell this fish.

        apart from that - i agree with black cod.

        1. re: Nyleve

          Ditto to all of the above... but while I cannot offer a recommendation on another fish like it for grilling, I do have to offer my two cents about the texture of black cod -- it's really flaky and tends to crumble at the touch of a fork while cooking, and afterward; so I don't know that I would ever feel "safe" about putting it on a grill.

          1. re: oryza

            Maybe on a grill rack - well greased.

        2. You may want to consider halibut, delicate in flavor and it'll stand up to the grill. Along the lines of the posters above, Atlantic Halibut is considered sustainable sensitive, so perhaps choose Pacific Halibut.

          1. Black cod or sablefish are similar in texture...I find they are better baked than grilled.

            I think you're in Boston..local striped bass is available now..really nice on the grill although not the same buttery texture as the other fish..but fresh and very flavorful.


            1. It's important to remember that Chilean sea bass isn't a bass at all. It was originally referred to as "Patagonian toothfish" but the common name was changed for marketing purposes. As noted already, that marketing has worked all too well.
              As well as halibut and the sable fish, I've heard that the snapper family is a better place to turn.

              1. Chilean sea bass, which is the marketing name for Patagonian toothfish, is not only endangered from over fishing, but is high in mercury because it is a long-lived slow-growing fish. Moreover, the fishing method results in fatal hooking and drowning of the endangered albatross. Many good restaurants have taken it off their menus. Depending on the method of preparation, there are better alternatives like Haddock, Halibut, Cod, and Striped Bass, etc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: l_nino

                  Yep, you really never know if it's "Chilean Sea Bass"........if you can get Grouper, Trout, or Flounder - those are really good. And Red Snapper is yummy too.