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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Fishmonger: Hecho A Mano Series

As I wrote in the Butcher’s Hecho A Mano series, “they labor away to honor their product, their consumer, and their time. Always staying true to an idea or ideal: this is art. Ultimately, they have lives with real value which I feel fortunate to share in”.



While this entry is titled The Fishmonger, that is an understated misnomer because the specialists at Metropolitan Seafood Co. (MSC) are far more than vendors; in fact they elevate the concept of Local Merchant to high art. Calling these gentlemen fishmongers is like calling a Sommelier a ‘booze merchant’ or a Certified Tobacconist a ‘tobacco peddler’. The passion and commitment to their product at MSC is unparalleled and inspirational. It is only surpassed by their attentiveness and dedication to their customers. The owner, Mr. Mark Drabich has a twinkle in his eye the moment a customer comes in and the entire staff shares his enthusiasm for service. When there are no customers, Mr. Drabich has what I like to call the “eye of the tiger” – he is Product & Operations Focused. He walks around with a fervor for quality and perfection!
The first time I stepped into MSC I was enthusiastically greeted by the manager Colin Sears, who had just returned from a vacation; a fishing vacation. It was my sense then, as it has been every other time I have visited, that nothing was more important to these professionals than my satisfaction and enhanced appreciation. I’m talking about service so good that you feel like you are at the center of the universe; like the only thing that matters is your taste and fulfillment. Nothing could be more rare in today’s fast paced, mass produced, commoditized and homogenized world. But thankfully, there are still places and people who care about quality; quality of product, quality of service, and quality of life. If Leonardo DaVinci was a fishmonger, he would have worked for Metropolitan Seafood Co.
* Just to list a few of the things I have learned: yes they will clean, scale, and prepare any kind of fish, shellfish, and/or shrimp exactly the way you want, at no extra charge – grill fish, soft shelled crab, and scallops on a medium heat (unlike meat) – when you clean a soft shell crab, you start by cutting off the face and then pull out the guts – fresh dry scallops can be eaten raw and they melt in your mouth – you can create a pseudo fish grilling basket with aluminum foil – don’t be afraid to use cumin and garlic on your fish – Chilean Sea Bass is a fancy marketing term for Padagonian Rock Fish (and there is a price premium for fancy names) – there are organic farm raised fish – and sooo much more.

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