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Sustainability FAIL: Walzog Has Bluefin Tuna On Lakeside Grill Menu

In the “How The Fuck Can This Happen” moment of the day, I was just sent the menu for the yet-to-open Lakeside Grill at Wynn Las Vegas and, lo and behold, my eyes popped out of my head when I saw Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio on the Soups and Salads portion of the menu.  The Bluefin Tuna is of the most endangered of all the endangered species of fish that are in the sea.  The gross overfishing of the Bluefin has put the poor bastard on the brink of extinction.  While everyday-consumers might not know this, a chef of David Walzog’s (Executive Chef of Lakeside Grill) caliber should know this and this item on the otherwise decent looking menu is a great shame.  Here’s a screenshot of the point of concern with Lakeside Grill’s menu…

Lakeside Grill Menu, Sent to me on 10/19/10

Lakeside Grill Menu, Sent to me on 10/19/10

So after looking at this, I then thought of all the recent sushi / sashimi tastings I’ve been on, and thought to myself, “Holy shit…I never asked what kind of tuna it was!”  I’m glad to say all of the public menus I can see of Shibuya at the MGM Grand are Bluefin free.  However, my heart sank when I, just now, saw the toro we were served at Yellowtail at the Bellagio appears to have come from the belly of a Bluefin tuna.  So, Akira Back, I’m calling you out, too!  Here’s a screenshot from the Bellagio’s website…

Yellowtail Menu on Bellagio.com as of 10/19/10

Yellowtail Menu on Bellagio.com as of 10/19/10

When the server placed the plate down for us, he just said, “Toro.”  That is the opportunity when I should have spoken up and said, “Toro from what?”  I fucked up.  I wasn’t thinking.

Let this be a lesson and a reminder for all of us to be responsible about what we put in our mouths.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium has put together an incredibly valuable Seafood Watch card for us to keep in our wallets so we are informed when we go out to these restaurants and to the grocery store.  You can download it for yourself at – http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_recommendations.aspx

There's Not Many Left (photo: smh.com.au)

There's Not Many Left (photo: smh.com.au)

I publicly apologize for my error in tasting.  I should know better to ask first, eat later.  Now what will Chef David Walzog, the people of Wynn Las Vegas and Chef Akira Back and the people of the Bellagio do?  I, for one, will certainly not eat in a restaurant that I know has Bluefin Tuna on the menu.  TLV Army, I call upon you to speak up to the people of the Lakeside Grill and Yellowtail to get the nearly-extinct Bluefin OFF the menu!

*****TLV UPDATE – 10/19/10, 1:35pm PST*****

Whoever does the tweeting for the official Wynn Las Vegas Twitter page (they sign as ^JB) has said that the menu sent to me was not a final menu, that Lakeside Grill has no intention of selling Bluefin Tuna or any other non-sustainable food item and that the Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio item was a mere placeholder.

I call bullshit.

If it was a place holder, then why not only have Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio but also have an additional description of Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette and Shaved Jalapeno?  Was Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio really the only thing to come to mind to see what the font looks like?  Why not write Peanut Butter and Jelly?  Why not Dead Baby Carpaccio?  I call bullshit on them, and I argue that if I didn’t publicly call them out in the post above, diners would have seen Bluefin Carpaccio on the menu come the opening day of November 1st.  Here is a screen shot of Direct Messages sent to me from the @WynnLasVegas account…

Direct Messages on Twitter from @WynnLasVegas to @TastingLasVegas on 10/19/10

Direct Messages on Twitter from @WynnLasVegas to @TastingLasVegas on 10/19/10

Admittedly, the prices are obvious placeholders, as every price on the menu was $20.  But, also on the menu given were specific items such as a Butternut Squash Agnolotti and Garlic Bread Meatballs that were both found in the press release originally sent used as teasers of what’s on the menu.  In the press release from representatives of the Lakeside Grill was the offer to see the menu, which obviously I took them up on.

I’ll take @WynnLasVegas’ word that Bluefin will not be on the menu, and to them I say buon fortuna.  I’m not going to call this as a win for Tasting Las Vegas, but I will call it as a win for the health of our oceans.  We shall see on November 1st what the Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio was a place holder for.  Bald Eagle?

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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8 comments to Sustainability FAIL: Walzog Has Bluefin Tuna on Lakeside Grill Menu

  • so old

    Nice call out big guy… Fucking blufin is so yesterday. maybe some sort of gooeyduck clam carpaccio would have been more appropiate. Obviously no imagination at lake side grill.

  • A win for the oceans indeed! Thank you for standing up for this species and for using our pocket guides to help keep our oceans healthy.

    Alison Barratt, Monterey Bay Aquarium.

  • Jules702

    Thanks for looking out Mike! And thanks for your always priceless journalism. Even though it pisses me off that people take our oceans for granted, your take on the situation kept me laughing!

  • Right on…way to go my friend. I am so ashamed at the stupidity of those that hide their head in the sand. One large step for sustainability.

  • Thanks for the comments and the support, everybody! With groups like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and great people like Rick Moonen leading the way, there is still hope for our oceans yet! It’s upon all of us to champion the cause they dedicate their lives to so their vision becomes reality.

  • Mike
    You know we are homey’s man…as an insider, I promise you this was a placeholder item man. I’ve been in tastings and this was never a real menu item, you’ll see when you check it out brother! Swears! And you know I have no reason to BS you man..Jet

  • Jet,

    I know you’ve got no reason to B.S. me, nor ever would, but don’t you think it’s a stretch to say that it was a “placeholder?”. Then why were confirmed unique menu items also on the menu? Why would representatives volunteer to give me an unfinished menu? Why type bluefin of all things as a placeholder?

    I have no doubt bluefin won’t be on the menu when it opens to the public, but I have a hard time believing that it wasn’t going to be on there if no one called them out on it.

  • julia

    slightly late in the day, but.. i agree with mike. if it was only a placeholder, why the hell would they have sent it to him in the first place(holder) as a menu? BULLCRAP (my new favorite word)

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