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Jun 20, 2009 02:38 PM

Cayenne Pepper & Fresh Halibut?

I am curious how others would respond to this recipe. We went to dinner last night at a Greek restaurant, where I ordered the grilled halibut. I asked for sauce on the side. The delicious fresh halibut was seasoned with cayenne pepper (quite generously), white pepper, oregano, garlic, and lemon. All I could taste was the cayenne and white peppers. In fact, my mouth was burning. The fish was seasoned unevenly too - so some parts were more seasoned than others. The lovely fish was so overpowered. I was quite surprised by this recipe (and frankly disappointed).

I couldn't eat it. The restaurant didn't want to take it off the check. They could prepare a fresh unseasoned piece for me but wanted to charge me for a full, second dinner, with all the sides.

I'd already had lots of appetizers and two glasses of wine, so I said no thanks. Seemed a bit unfair to me.

I would have appreciated being told when I ordered that the grilled halibut was seasoned in that unexpected way (unexpected by me at least!)

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  1. The restaurant was out of line, and should have taken the fish back and replaced it with something edible; it's better to satisfy a customer than lose them and have them tell others about their unprofessional experience.

    If the dish were described as spicy or blackened fish, or were at someplace where spice was asked (mild, medium, hot, Indian hot, for example), or if you ordered a good steak well done and decided you didn't like it burnt, then it would almost make sense, as you ordered it that way.

    Recently, we accidentally made blackened fish with my normal amount of seasonings, but with spices from a different source (organic cayenne and black pepper); the fish was almost inedible and burned our lips for a few hours. Even rinsing the fish the next day or trying it cold didn't work; eventually, I added an equal amount of yogurt, put it atop a lot of spinach and the juice from a lemon, and it was finally okay to eat.

    1. That sounds bizarre. Halibut doesn't seem a very "Greek" fish for starters, and the cayenne pepper seasoning is totally out of place. Perhaps someone with better Greek credentials than mine can offer a more authoritative answer, but I think the restaurant goofed and was too chintzy to fix their mistake.

      1 Reply
      1. re: embee

        I am not an expert at Greek food - have always enjoyed what I have had - and I couldn't recall ever experiencing Cayenne Pepper on Greek food. When I asked what all was on it, the server said she'd check - when she came back with the list of spices she said it was a medeterranian recipe. Well, it's interesting to know someone has a different twist on things. I've eaten there a million times, though not recently, so maybe there's a new chef.

      2. Perhaps they made it regularly with a sauce. You asked for a change, and it threw them off.I wouldn't expect a cook to adjust to your specification, but a chef might be able to accommodate. You were being very fussy and they reacted. A bad choice for both sides.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jayt90

          Does "they reacted" mean that you think that they did it on purpose?! If so, i had not thought of that. And, I disagree with the word "fussy" but I am always open to learn something. I don't know if they do make it regularly with a sauce. I just confirmed with the server that it was grilled and added that I like sauce on the side, if there is any sauce - just grilled plain. There were two sauces brought on the side. The Cayenne was everywhere on the plate - on the vegetables too. That is one hot pepper for me! My husband, who has a stronger palate for hot and spicy, also couldn't eat too much of it. I thought it was a shame because it was a gorgeous piece of fish. Halibut in California right now is excellent.