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Restaurant Spotlight: Border Grill champions sustainable seafood

Spotlight: Sustainable seafood

Border Grill at Mandalay Bay

3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South,

www.bordergrill.com

File it under a decade of doing the right thing.

With a nine-year commitment to fighting overfishing and endangerment, Border Grill is one of only two restaurants in Las Vegas with a 100-percent sustainable seafood program. (The other is Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood, also at Mandalay Bay.)

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based restaurant chain adheres to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, a conscientious consumer resource that outlines species to avoid, as well as “best choices” and “good alternatives.”

This is where the fun comes in for Executive Chef Mike Minor.

“When I’m in the dining room, I’m teaching my guests about the food they’re eating,” he says.

He tells people that farm-raised salmon is artificially colored because farm diets lack wild-diet staples that are responsible for the fishes’ orange, pink or red pigments.

He also shows customers that lesser-known catches, such as barracuda, can be just as tasty as popular favorites.

Many of the dishes Minor serves are “bycatch,” or fish that are unintentionally netted while pursuing other species. By forging close relationships with small fishing operations, he’s able to get exclusive offers.

To try something new and fresh at Border Grill, Minor recommends sampling the seasonal menu, which changes weekly.

“Alaskan halibut season has just started, and we got some of the first fish that landed,” he says. The halibut goes into ceviche, tacos and seafood stew.

Border Grill also carries all natural, hormone-free, antibiotic-free chicken and beef, as well as organic rice, beans and seasonal vegetables. Buying seasonal cuts down on the distance produce must be transported, and thus reduces the restaurant’s carbon footprint.

The menu isn’t fully organic, but “we do what we can, when we can,” Minor says.