Softshell Crab Shines On New Day Northwest

June 28, 2024

The Pacific Northwest sees its fair share of crabs. This week, they saw a seasonal treat from the East.

Kaelon Sparks, Executive Chef, Water Grill Bellevue, appeared on Seattle's NBC affiliate, KING5, to share Wild Maryland Softshell Crab from the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. During the segment, Chef K showcased our product knowledge, relationships with watermen and fishermen, and our seasonal offerings, preparing Softshell Crab on air and sharing information about Wild Pacific Bluefin Tuna.

"When the water starts to get warm, the crabs will start to molt - moving into a larger shell and growing. The watermen (which is what the fishermen for crabs on the East Coast in Maryland are called) will watch the crabs for signs of molting and move them to a little pen for even closer monitoring before it happens. As soon as the blue crabs molt and they're soft, the watermen will pull the crabs from the water to stop a shell from hardening. They’ll then package them up for us."

Chef K also spoke about how great summertime is for seafood, with the waters providing new products with warmer weather and water.

"Summertime is a really tough time to choose one thing that's delicious and coming into season. Just this last week, we got our first batch of Wild Pacific Bluefin Tuna from California. It's just a really delicious, meaty bite. We really love seeing this Bluefin on [the menu].”


Ready to explore what this summer has to offer for seafood lovers? Check out our menus where you can get Wild Maryland Softshell Crab and Wild Pacific Bluefin Tuna.

Wild Maryland Softshell Crab at Water Grill
Wild Pacific Bluefin Tuna at Water Grill

Chilean Sea Bass: The Sea's Greatest Rebrand

April 16, 2024

It wasn’t that long ago that having Chilean Sea Bass on the menu could get you run out of town. After a history of illegal, unreported and unregulated (also known as IUU) fishing, seeing this fish on a menu in the 90s became frowned upon. Thankfully, times – and practices – have changed. Now, fishing of Chilean Sea Bass is closely managed and certified. In fact, the MSC-certified Chilean Sea Bass is one of the most popular items on the Water Grill menu.

From near-extinction and banishment to craving, this fish has undergone quite the rebrand, but it wasn’t the first time.


The Patagonian Toothfish, or Antarctic Toothfish, was relatively obscure to the world market until 1977, when a seafood wholesaler from Los Angeles, Lee Lantz, “discovered” it off the coast of Chile. There, it was known locally as “bacalao de profundidad” or “cod of the deep” in English. The fish was not very popular (its original name didn’t help) and it was thought to be relatively worthless by many local fishermen. Lantz described it as having a high oil content and white, flaky flesh.

Knowing the U.S. market would be unfamiliar, and partially perturbed, with terms like bacalao or toothfish, Lantz realized it was prime for a rebranding. He dubbed it a sea bass, attaching “Chilean” as an exotic modifier to a familiar-sounding type of American fish. The “new” name wouldn’t be recognized by the FDA until 1994 when it accepted “Chilean Sea Bass” as an “alternative market name” to the Patagonian Toothfish.

Photo courtesy of Marine Stewardship Council


Because of the cold waters it inhabits, the Chilean Sea Bass is a very slow-growing fish, taking them about eight years to reach sexual maturity. However, they can live up to 50 years and reach weights over 250 pounds. Because of its slow-growing nature, and due to its blossomed popularity after its so-called discovery in the late 70s, the Chilean Sea Bass was at risk of being overfished. And it was.

NOAA states that “in 2000, more than 16,000 tons of Chilean Sea Bass were legally harvested in the Antarctic management area. Estimates vary, but there may be up to twice that amount taken illegally.” Although some illegal fishing may still happen, careful management and certification are helping the populations stabilize and restaurants take comfort in the viability and sustainability of the products they serve.


The Chilean Sea Bass is a deep lurker, usually being found at depths of 1,000 to 11,000 feet in the cold-water-deep-sea trenches near continental shelves. They will move to shallower waters to feed, with their diet mostly consisting of squid, small fish, shrimp and other crustaceans.


At Water Grill, we make sure to only feature Chilean Sea Bass that come from a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fishery. The MSC is an international organization that is committed to addressing the issues of overfishing throughout the world through fishery certification and seafood labeling. In addition to the MSC certification, all commercial fishing that is done in the immediate areas surrounding Antarctica, such as the Ross Sea, South Georgia Island, Herd Island, and other nearby areas, are managed by the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Commission and the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO)

Wild Ross Chilean Sea Bass Entree at Water Grill


Chilean Sea Bass has a rich, buttery flavor with dense and moist meat. At Water Grill, we serve MSC-certified Wild Ross Sea Bass seasonally paired with either a cauliflower puree or a butternut squash with sage brown butter. Hungry for more? Head here to check out our menus or make a reservation.