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Top Chef DC episode recap...thoughts on rockfish

Jun 17, 2010 07:30PM ● By Anonymous



Baltimore chef Timothy Dean-- whose hometown, oddly, is credited as "Fells Point, Maryland" in his talking-head segments--landed in the bottom four in the elimination challenge.

The challenge asked the contestants to "represent their constituency" (see what I mean with the DC cliches?), so Dean made "a pan seared rockfish, because I'm from the D.C.-Maryland area." It was served with pickled leek, ginger and sesame. At the judges table, Tom Collichio says Dean served them "bland bass and aioli" and Eric Ripert criticizes the decision to leave the skin on, which made it chewy and unrefined. The line that caught my ear, however, was Collichio saying something to the effect of "there's a lot more to the Chesapeake area than a bland piece of bass."

Hearing Collichio's criticism got me thinking: are the ever-present rockfish dishes on area menus uninspired and boring? Out of local pride, I was initially defensive when I heard him deride our state fish, especially because, after hearing the challenge, I fully expected Dean to trot out (fish pun!) the obligatory crab cake. But after the episode, I realized how often I order rockfish and end up thinking, "Meh. That was only OK."

Thoughts? Have we over loved rockfish to the point that it's no longer used creatively?