New Yorkers Will Be Shelling Out More for Seafood

Shortage of Gulf seafood threatens New York restaurants

By Roseanne Colletti
|  Monday, May 3, 2010  |  Updated 4:08 PM EDT
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Crisis in the <a title=Gulf of Mexico to Soon Reach New York" />

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Crisis in the Gulf of Mexico to Soon Reach New York

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The shrimp on your plate could be the last one you'll taste from the Gulf Coast for a long time because of that monster oil slick.

 Industry professionals tell us 15-20% of the seafood served up in New York restaurants comes from Gulf  waters. Those eateries specializing in New Orleans style cuisine are expected to be among the hardest hit.

"We get all of our seafood from the Gulf and Mississippi delta," says Josh Levi, owner of Mara's Homemade on 6th Street in the East Village.

He showed us the storage locker full of shrimp, crawfish, oysters, and crab that he is stockpiling.

"We get our crab from Lake Pontchartrain and that could be affected too," he explained.

Fans of the restaurant's "Low Country Boil", which consists of shrimp, crab and crawfish, may also go wanting.

Levi said many of his regular customers are New Orleans transplants or people who spent extensive time there and they can taste authenticity.

"I also offer a special price for raw oysters, but I might not be able to continue that now," he pointed out.

The Delta Grill on 9th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen gets all of its fresh shrimp from the Gulf and catfish from farms along the Gulf.

Owner Joan Gallo told us she has already been advised by her supplier she'll be paying more while commodities last and it's unclear how long that will be.

"We use the shrimp for etouffee, our po-boys, a lot of things on the menu," she told us.

Fried catfish is a big favorite among customers too. Gallo says the restaurant might have to discontinue some items or she may have to start looking overseas for supply.

"Seafood is global", explained Mel Tortorici of Executive Seafood, a seafood wholesaler supplying 150 restaurants and country clubs in metropolitan New York. "If we can't get it from one place, we'll get it from another," he said.

However, every consumer knows what a tightening in the supply chain usually means. Every link along the way pays more, ending with the diner.

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