Food & Drink: Mindful Menu

Pacific Catch embraces sustainability

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A recent Clean Catch menu at Pacific Catch featured roasted Chioggia beets, cubed and served like poke on a romaine lettuce leaf. Photo by Tanya Henry.

It is hard not to get cynical about the food/restaurant business when it seems like every other day a large corporation swallows another “little guy” and inevitably the quality of the smaller entity quietly erodes. With chain restaurants or multi-units, this scenario typically plays out with a gradual diminution of food quality.

Fifteen-year-old Pacific Catch, with eight locations throughout the Bay Area, appears to be changing that paradigm. Six months ago the company’s original CEO, Keith Cox, returned to the group after leaving in 2012. For those old enough to remember, Cox also started World Wrapps with several partners in San Francisco in 1995. I recall thinking that he was a bit ahead of his time with those crazy multi-colored tortillas.

Today, Pacific Catch has embraced a sustainability model, and timing seems spot-on. Along with hiring a director of sustainability, the restaurant has partnered with several organizations—including the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch—that require Pacific Catch to source its seafood from environmentally responsible places.

Here’s the upside of a multi-unit business when it’s done right: The revenue generated from multiple locations allows the company to grow (scale), purchase good-quality ingredients and pay for talent in the kitchen. From all accounts, Pacific Catch is doing just that. Its recent Clean Catch menu featured several inspired dishes, including Citrus Poke Tacos made with cubed kanpachi fish, orange, yuzu, pomegranate and ginger. The Salmon Bowl was a delicious medley of flavors—quinoa, grilled salmon, brown rice, soy tahini drizzle, cilantro-pepita pesto, avocado and more.

Navigating the food world is no easy task these days—and seafood is one of the most restricted facets of the industry. But if Pacific Catch stays the course, and continues to take a mindful approach to its expanding business, let’s hope for smooth sailing ahead.

Pacific Catch, 133 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera; 415/927-3474; pacificcatch.com.

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