WHY OUR SEAFOOD IS THE BEST
We have one, and only one aim, for our seafood – that its quality, when it arrives in your kitchen, is equal to the quality of seafood arriving in the kitchens of Michelin Three Star restaurants in Manhattan. We achieve this by following our proprietary processes:
Both finfish and shellfish are seasonal. Most seafood is at its peak during certain periods of the year, in certain fisheries. This is one of the factors that guides our offerings.We buy almost all of our seafood on the basis of your orders. So, when you order from BellaVista, it’s as though you were calling your friend the fisherman, and asking that he bring some of his catch to your home!
Our seafood is either:
Shipped to a refrigerated warehouse in the Bronx that we use, coming to us from individual fisherman or carefully selected distributors in New England or the Pacific Northwest. Or I select it from a few trusted sources at the Seafood Market at Hunts Point, who supply the top French, Italian, Japanese and Seafood restaurants in Manhattan.
When I select either tuna or swordfish, it comes from one of Le Bernadin’s sources. There may be three or four fish from which mine (yours) can be sliced. I determine which is the best (with the most fat) by running my finger along the flesh; the best will be as slippery as black ice! That’s the one… a piece of that fish will be on your plates tomorrow night!
Or you could save a little money and feed your family catfish included in one of those “meal kits” sold on-line.
After selecting it from my sources, or picking it up at our refrigerated warehouse, I personally re-ice the fish so that it is totally covered, load it into my coolers, and drive an hour back to BellaVista. All this happens between midnight and 4:00 AM. The fish stays in the ideal (and moist) temperature zone of 31-33 degrees F. on the way back to BellaVista, and remains in this ideal zone throughout the day in our seafood cold room (still iced). When we pack your order, we substitute dry ice and gel packs for the wet ice, and surround your fish and its coolants (not the box) with insulation.
When we pack the seafood for delivery to you, we do not use the bulky EPS (foam) boxes used by most others who ship seafood, but rather we keep it very cold with dry ice (recycled from carbon dioxide produced as a by-product of industrial processes), and well-insulated using our proprietary techniques. Then Nick or I bring it to UPS at the end of the day, keeping its temperature control in our own hands as long as possible. UPS will deliver it to you by the afternoon of the next day. Upon receipt, please refrigerate it immediately (in the bottom of your fridge, which is the coldest area.)
If you were to join me in the wee hours of the morning at Hunts Point, in the Bronx, you’d see a lot of product (destined to various seafood markets throughout the metropolitan area) sitting in poorly iced or un-iced boxes, out on the pavement, gathering heat for 15-30 minutes, sometimes more. And if you followed this fish to its destination stores, again you’d often see it totally unrefrigerated, sitting outside a store for considerable periods, waiting to be brought in. (One very hot July 3rd, at one of the most popular and “highly rated” fish markets in northern Westchester County, I observed many un-iced boxes of fish sitting for hours in the back of their unrefrigerated truck!)
If you were able to visit the pantry of Le Bernadin, you’d find the exact opposite – their unmatchable, consistently superb quality reflects their obsessive attention to details necessary for assuring the quality of all their ingredients.
Similarly, Internet-based home delivery businesses have a hard time assuring the temperature of their fish at each stage of the journey to your kitchen. Seafood (and any other perishable product that should be kept cold) is not forgiving. Even if the temperature is subsequently brought back down to the target area, the quality loss is forever. Seafood can only become warm just prior to cooking. So our “cold chain” is as important as anything else we do to bring you seafood that’s Only The Best, At Its Best™ The fishermen and distributors from whom we buy are equally diligent in keeping our product properly cold, properly iced, before it reaches us.
On the other hand if you visit most local fish markets, you’ll see fish displayed in a case with ice underneath it. (Problem is, cold travels down, not up!) The top surface of that fish is often 10 or 15 degrees warmer than the bottom (iced) surface. Not good!
Remove seafood from your refrigerator in sufficient time (15-20 minutes) to reach room temperature before cooking it. Bringing it to room temperature prior to cooking is important to achieving the proper doneness (usually, a little on the rare side) in the center, without overcooking the outside flesh.
Our Seafood is the equal of that used by Manhattan Michelin Three Star restaurants like Le Bernadin. (No other consumer food source can credibly make this claim!) Please enjoy working with our seafood in your kitchen, and savoring it at your dining table. That will make you (and us) happy!
It requires a lot of work and knowhow to bring you seafood of this quality, as well as work and knowhow on your part to prepare it properly. We ask one favor of your family in return: please, everybody, appreciate the Fish, BellaVista and the Cook by exiling your cellphones from the table. Otherwise, you might just as well be eating catfish from wherever.
We thank you in advance.