Del Frisco’s Grille’s long partnership with Foley Fish reflected in new seafood offerings
While more U.S. restaurant chains are carrying more sustainable seafood, few commit to carrying 100 percent sustainable species.
But Irving, Texas-based Del Frisco’s Grille has quietly been buying only sustainable seafood - primarily from Foley Fish in Boston, Massachusetts, for the past several years.
Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group has worked with Foley Fish for more than 20 years, and the seafood distributor is also the primary distributor to Del Frisco’s sister restaurant, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Together, the chain operates some of the highest-grossing restaurants in the country, including the Del Frisco's Double Eagle in midtown New York City, the Del Frisco's Grille at Rockefeller Center in New York, the Boston Seaport Del Frisco's Double Eagle, and the Del Frisco's Double Eagle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The longstanding partnership between Del Frisco’s and Foley Fish is based on mutual trust and similar priorities in seafood sourcing, according to Thomas Dritsas, the executive chef for Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. Foley offers “best-in-class products that come straight off the docks in Boston Harbor and New Bedford, which are flown dock-to-door directly” to its restaurants nationwide, Dritsas said.
“We share the same values in sourcing, securing, receiving and preparing the best possible, sustainable and safe seafood to serve our guests,” Dritsas told SeafoodSource.
Foley Fish has been an active partner in developing the restaurant group’s seafood sourcing policy, which takes into account fishing methods, species abundance, and sustainable management practices, Dritsas said.
“We always have sensitivity to specific types of seafood and shellfish that are under strict quotas, which influence our selections towards species that are strong in numbers and, as a result, ensure we pay respect to the environment,” Dritsas said.
Recently, Foley Fish has helped the chains innovate their menus so that they can offer healthier menu items – including more seafood and plant-based dishes, Dritsas said. Double Eagle now features stone crab from both Florida and California, along with king crab from Dutch Harbor in Alaska – “exclusively the red crab variant, as it’s considered to be the best king crab globally,” Dritsas said. It also carries Ōra King Salmon from New Zealand. And Del Frisco’s Grille is adding three new seafood choices to its menu this month.
“We’re excited to introduce three new seafood dishes – BBQ Shrimp Cobb, Mediterranean Shrimp Bowl and Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail – as fresh, healthy interpretations we feel would really appeal to our guests,” Dritsas said. “Each dish brings something new to the table, including unique tastes and ingredients that many are gravitating towards these days.”
The chain sources its shrimp from “reputable providers” from the Gulf of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez, according to Dritsas.
“They are all wild-caught and have a crisp texture and bright, sweet flavor profile that makes them taste delicious,” Dritsas said.
Its new Jumbo Shrimp cocktail is cooked in a shrimp boil to infuse flavor. It is served on ice with two different sauces.
“One brings a twist on the traditional cocktail sauce with chipotle and citrus for a distinctive profile, and the other is a lemon and dill aioli that pairs perfectly with chilled seafood,” Dritsas said.
Del Frisco’s is even venturing into functional food ingredients with its addition of turmeric in its Mediterranean Shrimp Bowl. Turmeric is “becoming more and more prevalent in today’s dishes for its health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties,” Dritsas said. In addition to shrimp, the dish includes turmeric rice, baby spinach, basil pesto, crispy prosciutto, and tzatziki.
Its new seafood dishes are gluten-free “to better accommodate those with specific dietary restrictions or anyone simply interested in gluten-free offerings as a lifestyle choice,” Dritsas said.
Dritsas said that while salmon and shrimp “consistently lead the sales mix” at the restaurant group, he is leading a push to menu and promote more types of seafood.
“Diversifying our menu items is especially important for today’s guest, and this is another way we continue to evolve,” he said.
Del Frisco’s Grille is exploring new seafood dishes, such as Icelandic Cod in White Miso, Snapper with Riced Cauliflower and Shellfish Tomato Jus, as well as Branzino with Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette and Wild Arugula.
“We love leaning into species that offer great flexibility for different forms of creative preparation and flavors we can pair with each,” Dritsas said
Dritsas said Del Frisco’s remains committed to the partnership with Foley Fish even after its acquisition by Landry’s Inc., which closed at the end of October. Financial details of the transaction were not announced, but previous owner L Catterton purchased the group in June 2019 for USD 650 million (EUR 589 million). As a result of the deal, the steakhouse chain will close four of its 35 restaurants, which it operates in 13 states across the United States.
Dritsas said Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group remains focused on bringing its customers a high-end culinary experience, with seafood serving in a major role at all the company’s restaurants.
Photo courtesy of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group