We marched up to the Seafood Shack as we sailed out of Livorno, the port for Florence, and asked what the chefs had purchased that day. We were given two choices: sea bass or sea bream, both whole with fresh eyes. We selected the sea bass, which was weighed and scaled and the price set (at $20 per pound it came out to $27). Then the negotiations began on how to prepare it. The chef suggested we leave the bones in so that the fish would be more tender, and we agreed. In the end, after much debate, we asked for our sea bass to be sent to Fahrenheit 555, the ship’s steak house, that night to be panfried with Indian spices.
We arrived at the restaurant for dinner and, after we were seated, the seafood chef popped by to confirm the preparation decisions. We reiterated our concept: make it spicy, blow our hair back a little. The fish was served with a crust of orange and deep rust colored spices, garnished with herbs and lettuce. Our whole table loved the flavorful results and the fish was indeed flaky and tender. However, we found it difficult to navigate the little bones on some pieces and wished we had requested that the fish be filleted.
The Seafood Shack team had offered to provide sides, but we suspected the creamed spinach and sautéed mushrooms in Fahrenheit 555 would steal the show (we were right). And while we loved the Indian turmeric and chili, we were curious to see how the fish would taste deep-fried with Vietnamese herbs. Overall we were happy with choosing the steak house, but this concept would really shine in the main dining room, on a night when nothing on the menu spoke to us.
The Fine Print: Pricing varies by fish and is sold by weight. The catch is purchased every few days, and some fish sells out by late afternoon.