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Apr 5, 2010 09:03 AM

Dayboat fresh/catch of the day?

Hi chowhounders,
I had a question about the labeling of menu items as dayboat fresh or catch of the day. I stopped by a seafood joint after seeing a movie with the Lady last night (Sunday) and saw that their menu dated for that day listed some items as dayboat fresh. As a former employee of a meat and seafood department, it's my understanding that there are no fresh seafood deliveries in the Twin Cities on Sundays and it would be impossible to have dayboat offerings on a Sunday.

Am I wrong about fish deliveries or the meaning of dayboat? Are there any kind of restrictions on labeling menu items as catch of the day or dayboat fresh? I assume any seafood I'm eating on Sunday arrived in town on Saturday morning unless I caught it myself, but it would be cool if there was a restaurant who had a line (yuk,yuk) on fresh fish on Sundays.


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  1. My understanding, and someone please correct me if i have this wrong, is that those restaurants that procure fish from the major distributors in MSP (Fish Guys/Coastal) do not receive shipments on Sundays.

    However (and again this is my understanding from working with people who have worked there) there is at least one restaurant, Oceanaire, that has it's own distribution channel for getting fish which does fly-in on Sundays. This may also be true of other places as well, like Sea Change, but I am unsure.

    The fact of the matter is that a large amount of the fish we eat is flash-frozen on the boat, so it often is a distinction made for the purposes of marketing.

    And don't get me started on the raging internal conflict between my love for seafood (and that it may take the burning of jet fuel to get it to me) and my commitment to locavorality (did I just make up a word?).

    Sea Change
    806 Second Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55415

    1. The definition of dayboat is different than what a lot of people infer. Dayboats go out in the morning, catch and return in the same day, hence the name, as opposed to boats that will go out for days or weeks at a time to be able to fill tanks or freezers. I would only legitimately believe in the tc's that swordfish and scallops are day boat items that are accessible. For the most part, the only places I would believe that would pull a saturday delivery would be oceanaire, sea change, the dinest dining and some of the downtown steakhouses, everything else would be friday or earlier. That being said, a fresh fish delivery on easter sunday would be closer to an act of god, imo.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mitch cumstein

        Yeah, I've never seen "dayboat" on a Mpls menu before and I never thought for a moment that the fish was fresh that day, but was curious about advertising your product as "dayboat fresh." Words like fresh and natural are so thoroughly abused on a regular basis but it still seems pretty dodgy to have that on your menu.

        Thanks to both for the responses. @Foureyes, would you describe your commitment to locavorality as locavoracity?

      2. Places like Stella's Fish Cafe and its offshoot Molly Cool's in Lakeville use the term "dayboat fresh". Basically when I see things like this, I immediately categorize it as a lame marketing effort similar to a place like Red Lobster (which is where I'd categorize Stella's food as well). It's the equivalent of "home made". If you challenged them, they'd argue semantics, saying it's not literal.

        Stella's Fish Cafe
        1402 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        5 Replies
        1. re: MSPD

          Holy smokes! You'd classify Stella's food in the same category as Red Lobster? I've never been to Stella's, but I've been to Red Lobster (long story...) and that's a damning statement! I would hope that a place like Stella's that seems to be a one-off (or two-off with Molly Cool's) restaurant would have SOMETHING to recommend it food-wise over a national chain like R.L.



          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Yes, in my experiences with both Stella's and Molly Cool's, I found the quality of the food on the plate to be pretty much equal. Stella's and Molly Cool's offer raw oysters -- I guess that's a plus for them.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              While I will not go as far as MSPD's claim that it's in the same class as Red Lobster, I will say that I was disappointed in their fresh fish menu, lack of sources listed, and overall mediocre quality and high prices for what I'd consider pretty lame seafood options.

              1. re: Bill Roehl

                Isn't Stella's more a bar / nightclub with a kitchen attached than high-end seafood dining?

                1. re: semanticantics

                  That may well be their reputation these days due to their lack of cooking chops, but venues that don't want to be judged on their food quality shouldn't invest in raw bars, lobster tanks, or $20+ plates imo.