Last chance to sample Unsung Heroes menu at Blue Water Cafe

It’s the last few days of Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar’s Unsung Heroes Festival – an eco-foodie initiative by Executive Chef Frank Pabst which started eight years ago and runs February 1-29. The concept is simple: Blue Water champions the neglected underdogs of seafood in order to take the pressure off species that are over fished or fished in ways that damage ocean eco systems.

Eco-minded diners should take advantage of the Unsung Heroes menu at Yaletown’s Blue Water to determine which humble, under-appreciated species and flavours appeal to their swanky, sablefish-sated palates.

Sardines. Periwinkles. Herring. Sea Urchins. Anchovies. All of these long shots make a festival appearance.

After a little taste bud educational session, you may just want to give the unsung heroes of the sea an encore in your home kitchen. Menu details after the jump.

Blue Water is serving new dishes crafted for Unsung Heroes 2012 alongside tried and true winners from years past. The menu is designed as 12 sharing plates, each featuring a species that’s abundant in nature.

Pabst told WE that he aims to keep the essence of the fish, while by pairing the seafood with complementary elements that allow the taste buds to concentrate on more than one flavour – no easy feat. Creating the menu, Pabst has fun making flavours that can be challenging or unknown accessible to patrons.

With this aim in mind, Blue Water tucks pan-fried sardines into a cozy blanket with with pine nut gremolata, broccolini and harissa sauce. The Caesar salad goes to finishing school, emerging as “marinated white anchovies, pearl barley, cilantro chimichurri, parmesan, and romaine lettuce.”

Mackerel with sesame seeds, pickled sunchokes and radishes kabayaki sauce with orange and long pepper. Image: Blue Water Cafe

Herring roe marries Mediterranean tapas, appearing with taramasalata on  grilled flat bread with citrus marinated olives. Pabst fairy godmothers periwinkles into an escargot-like creation, poaching the sea snails kombu seaweed broth and serving with nori shoyu vinaigrette.

With everything on the Unsung Heroes menu weighing in at $12.50 and under, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a friend willing to drop by and learn about sustainable seafood. Learning by eating. Is there anything better?

Unsung Heroes at Festival at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar runs until February 29. Check out the full menu here.

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