How common is it that restaurants that know what they’re doing with other dishes don’t know how to cook fish?
I understand how this thing started. People got to like katsuo no tataki and it became the default for tuna to be raw in the middle. Fine. Tuna can be really good that way.
Then a few years ago I was served a salade Niçoise with pieces of half-raw salmon. Now, that’s not a health code violation if it’s sashimi-grade (i.e. flash-frozen to kill any parasites), but it’s still the wrong texture and flavor for a dish that’s supposed to have confit. So since then I’ve been on my guard when ordering fish at other than the most sophisticated places.
The other night I ordered a fresh local halibut main course and the server told me they serve it “medium.” Say what? After some discussion I figured out that he was just warning me that they default to wrong. I told him I wanted it a point, and explained in detail what that meant. It came out overcooked and dry. I sent it back, and they brought out one that was half-cooked. This is a chef-driven, fairly sophisticated place and the other dishes were executed precisely.
Has this seared thing gotten so popular in Southern California that there’s a generation of chefs who don’t know there’s a point between half-raw and overcooked?