Fresh, sustainable fish market opens on Fairfax

| December 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

CAPE SEAFOOD PROVISIONS, left to right, owner and chef Michael Cimarusti, general manager Ted Bassetti, culinary program head Brandon Gray and co-owner Donato Poto.

Two months ago, we examined local Italian provisioner Angelini Alimentari; last month we reviewed The French Butcher on Third Street; and this month we take a look at nearby Cape Seafood and Provisions.

There’s nothing fishy about Cape Seafood and Provisions. In fact, upon entering Chef Michael Cimarusti’s fish shop, one is hit full force with the sweet scent of smoked fish and Rhode Island clam chowder. Of course, there’s also incredibly fresh fish — usually 13 or 14 kinds at a time; some whole, some filleted, always wild and sustainable, always in accordance with standards set by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Watch Program.

“I wanted to bring people the type of quality seafood we get at my restaurants Providence and Connie and Ted’s,” states Chef Cimarusti, owner of the fish market that opened in the spring. “I wanted the same standards for sourcing. All of the fin fish we sell is wild. Farm-raised fin fish are fed grains such as soy, corn and wheat. That’s not native to marine life. They’re never going to have the same taste.

“We do sell farmed shellfish because a farm-raised mussel will do the same thing a wild mussel will do. All bivalves are filter feeders — getting their food from what’s in the water. Nothing foreign needs to be put into their environment at all.”

Cape Seafood orders from several trusted sources, including small boat fishermen in Santa Barbara. That way they can guarantee quality, according to Chef Cimarusti. “With them, everything is fully traceable. We know exactly when it was caught, the name of the boat, who caught it.”

Seafood lovers will find an array of whole fish and fillets, a variety of oysters and clams, and take-away treats. There’s even a sampling of meats if one wants turf with one’s surf. Salmon and halibut are big sellers, but customers have discovered the joys of vermillion rock cod, as well as porgy. Lobster rolls fly out the door, as do the smoked fish salads.

General manager and culinary director Brandon Gray takes the lead on the smoking, claiming, “I’ll smoke anything! If it’s a fish we carry, I’ll try smoking it. I even make smoked fish tacos.”
The shop and its owner have a definite point of view about the importance of supporting sustainable, responsibly caught fish, and it’s not just for taste. “To me the idea is that my generation and the generation after me has the ability to move the needle, to ensure that there will be wild fish in our oceans for years to come,” Chef Cimarusti explains. “The tipping point is now.” Cape Seafood and Provisions, 801 N. Fairfax Ave., 323-556-2525.

By Helene Seifer,

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