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

Pacific Bluefin Tuna Season Returns for Another Summer

June 18, 2024

Appreciate the good times while they last. You never really know when the next ones may come. That’s especially true when it comes to Pacific Bluefin Tuna.

Pacific Bluefin Tuna are some of the fastest fish in the ocean. But it’s not their speed that makes them elusive.

As one of the most carefully managed fisheries in the U.S., the annual harvest of Bluefin Tuna is limited to help prevent overfishing and restore populations to target levels. There is a capped amount for the season, and once that number is reached, there can be no more landing of Bluefin Tuna by commercial or recreational fishermen.

Consequently, this remarkable fish has sporadic and limited availability and may not be available from one year to the next.

Bluefin Tuna delivery at King's Seafood Distribution

A Highly Migratory Fish

Pacific Bluefin has the largest geographic range of all tunas. While they mostly live in open water, their fatty flesh gives them the ability to keep their bodies warm, unlike most fish. This is what allows the Pacific Bluefin to live in cooler temperate, tropical and open waters.

Bluefin Tuna spawn in the Western Pacific between central Japan and the northern Philippines from April through August. While some Bluefin end up spending their entire lives in the Western Pacific, some young fish will end up migrating to the Eastern Pacific to feed. Southern California waters provide a pristine environment filled with some of their favorite food – such as market squid and sardines.

Getting from place to place isn’t a problem for this fish, though. With their streamlined bodies and powerful tails, Pacific Bluefin Tuna are some of the fastest fish in the ocean.

At about age one, these fish start to arrive off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. They remain in the Eastern Pacific for a few years before migrating back to the Western Pacific Ocean to spawn, a journey taking as little as 55 days.

Why the Blue Fin?

Pacific Bluefin Tuna can be identified by dark blue dorsal sides. The color doesn’t stop there though. They also have a series of small yellow fins, edged in black, that run from the second dorsal fin to the tail. Their bellies are dotted with silver / gray spots or bands.

When you see a Pacific Bluefin Tuna, you’ll see that it’s built for speed. Compared to other tuna, they have relatively small eyes that are set flush to their body, streamlining their flow through the water. Make no mistake though: even though the eyes are small, they have some of the sharpest vision of any finfish and hunt by sight.

Tuna Poke at Water Grill

Prized Flavor

Prized for their fatty flesh and often served as maguro or toro in sushi restaurants, Pacific Bluefin Tuna are fished extensively throughout the Pacific.

At Water Grill, our Pacific Bluefin Tuna is locally sourced in the San Diego area. We work directly with local fishermen. Each fish is caught one at a time by hook and line. This helps to reduce by-catch while ensuring great handling and a top-quality product.

We bring in the whole loin of the fish to Water Grill, and cut and prepare it for several dishes that highlight its rich, buttery texture and meaty flavor. These include the Trojan Roll, Tuna Poke, Tuna Toro Tartare and Tuna Crudo along with the Wild Pacific Bluefin Tuna entrée with togarashi. View today's menu to see what's available today!

Cover photo credit: Kate/Unsplas from CA Sea Grant