Slate’s Jack Schafer may have smelled something fishy about the Times’ tuna story, but, if you’re still fretting about it, rest assured that John Magazino, president of Primizie Fine Foods, has something in the works. He says he’s selling the city’s only Marine Stewardship Council–certified low-mercury sashimi-grade tuna loins, and, depending on the outcome of samplings, they could be in some of the restaurants he supplies food for (Gramercy Tavern, Cru, A Voce) by the end of next week. Magazino says he’s getting the fish, at $12 per pound, from families who catch their albacore using hook and line in the low-mercury waters of California, as opposed to Southeast Asia, where most tuna is caught. Since the fish is caught near the surface, it’s younger and doesn’t have such high levels of mercury. We’ll keep you posted as to where it will be available, but we’re thinking it’s a good time for Union Square Hospitality Group to get in on this, now that they’ve dumped Wild Edibles.
Primiziue Fine FoodsThe Times’ Fishy Story [Slate]
Related:Danny Meyer Cuts Wild Edibles Free
The foie gras protests outside Union Square Cafe may not have put a dent in anything, but we’ve just received a press release indicating that Union Square Hospitality Group will no longer use embattled Wild Edibles as its seafood provider, joining Keith McNally's and Jean Denoyer's restaurants in the snub. The release nods to the “courage” of ten workers who were let go after they filed a suit claiming they were stiffed on over time pay.
Being lifelong fans of labor strife and (especially) guerrilla street theater, we received this press release with some excitement. We are passing it on without comment, except to ask why this doesn’t happen more often. What could dramatize the struggle of labor versus management better than the preannounced crashing of ritzy parties?
As promised, Mario Batali served up some pork sandwiches at New Amesterdam Public’s demo market yesterday at the Seaport. Batali’s boots must be heated, as he was wearing shorts in 38-degree weather. Or maybe it was the sheer volume of purveyors who kept Batali toasty: Wild Edibles, Saxelby Cheesemongers, Marlow & Sons, and many more. Considering the cold, New Amsterdam Public had a good crowd a positive sign for the market’s debated future. More photos after the jump.
Keith McNally can appreciate the effectiveness of a good rally you’ll recall he personally protested the billboard that’s going up atop the Gansevoort Hotel. So when workers rallied outside of Pastis over the restaurant’s use of provisions from Wild Edibles (which has been sued over allegations of unpaid overtime), you can bet McNally listened. Brandworkers International announced today that Balthazar, Schiller’s, Morandi, Pravda, and Lucky Strike will no longer use products from the company until the dispute is resolved. Comrade McNally, we’re heading to Pravda right now to toast you with a horseradish-and-poached-egg martini.
Earlier:Wild Edibles Gets Caught in the Net of the Law
In the latest labor-law fiasco, thirteen employees of Wild Edibles, which sells seafood to restaurants like Union Square Cafe and Pastis as well as the general public via its retail stores, have filed a lawsuit against the company for failure to pay overtime. According to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, David Rankin, and as is evident in copies of the complaint we’ve obtained, the individuals most of them warehouse workers worked in excess of 50 hours a week for flat wages varying from $450 to $550 (“right on the edge of minimum-wage violations,” Rankin says, though he decided not to pursue those charges). Rankin also says that four workers were unjustly fired after they requested overtime pay at the end of August, and that another worker was unfairly written up for stealing fish. A motion for a restraining order, which we’ve also obtained, will be heard in court tomorrow. Between the overfishing and underpaying, caviar is truly getting hard to swallow.
Cesar A. Barturen, et al. vs. Wild Edibles [PDF]
Memorandum in Support of Restraining Order [PDF]
This week’s magazine is an overflowing egg basket of fascinating features. First, Adam Platt proves himself a glutton for punishment: Just a week after successfully securing a table at the Waverly Inn without being a movie star (just the brother of one), he charges head first into the dining crunch at Morandi. Rob and Robin, meanwhile, take on the equally ambitious task of attempting the perfect poached egg — part of an “egg primer” that rounds up their favorite dishes and introduces us to specialty eggs that don’t exactly taste like chicken. Meanwhile, Gael Greene opts to down her egg in fish form at the newly opened counter at Wild Edibles.