Tuna Melt(down): Seminole Hard Rock Gambles on Kindai

My colleague Owen Morris, over at our sister paper The Pitch in Kansas City, has been blogging about tuna lately, particularly that sorry monster the bluefin. Morris reports, via last week's release from the World Wildlife Foundation, that Atlantic bluefin tuna may be entirely wiped out by 2012 (that's three years away). If you'd like to view a scary graph of the way the giant bluefin has declined since 1960, have a looksee: It's hovering just barely above extinction. And yet, the industry soldiers on -- tuna fishing season begins in May, as earnestly as ever. And no wonder. A whole bluefin can sell at auction for as much as $180,000.

I gave up eating bluefin (whose belly meat is called "toro") several years ago, but I've been thinking about it again lately because I just received a press release about Kindai tuna. The Japanese are farming the bluefin called Kindai, or rather, Kinki University in Japan is raising them from eggs in experimental laboratories, and then farming them at sea. The Japanese eat a lot of bluefin; in fact, they power the industry, and they're probably desperate to culture a stock of these fish before they go bye bye for all of us.

Depending on whom you listen to, this is either a fantastic breakthrough in sustainable acquaculture or a diversion that creates lots more environmental problems. But the Seminole Hard Rock at Coconut Creek has got its hands on some, and executive chef Francois Ternes is going to be offering it at his sushi bar, beginning tomorrow night tonight, Thursday April 23rd, and from then on every Thursday and Friday night from 8 to 2 a.m., as both sushi and sashimi, until he runs out of the stuff. Ternes says he thinks the Seminole is the first Florida restaurant to dish up the Kindai. Reports say it tastes as silky and beefy as wild bluefin. It's being marketed as the most select of luxurious luxuries (it sells to restaurants for $40 to $70 a pound). My PR doesn't reveal how much the Seminole is charging per piece, but my advice is, bring the credit card with the highest limit and your biggest sense of entitlement.

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