Swanky new Upper East Side bar savors sources of its caviar
A swanky new caviar bar on the Upper East Side is getting its eggs from a slew of overseas suppliers — as well as a sturgeon farm in Florida that’s operated by the owner.
Huso — which takes its name from the Latin word for beluga sturgeon — sells caviar flights created by Chef Buddha Lo, an Eleven Madison Park alum, that run from $195 to $640 at the 12-seat venue located at 1067 Madison Ave.
“All of our caviar is certified,” said David Bashkov, grandson of owner Mark Zaslavsky. “We have the names of the farms, the breeds, all the details. The caviar comes from Italy, France, Florida, Israel and China. We don’t do Russia or Iran.”
But the most mouthwatering spoonfuls for the buck may be coming from Zaslavsky’s Sturgeon Aquafarms, located in the Florida Panhandle near the Alabama border.
More than 15 years ago, Zaslavsky put 100 Caspian Sea sturgeon into tanks and flew them to Florida to launch his 120-acre farm — shortly before the US banned the critically endangered species in 2005. It was a perilous journey, said Bashkov.
“A rabbi did some prayers,” Bashkov told Side Dish. “Thankfully, the fish survived.”
Now, the Florida farm is among the only ones licensed to distribute caviar domestically. (Top Chef Thomas Keller, of The French Laundry and Per Se, also has his own domestic aqua farm.) Already producing osetra and sevruga, Zaslavsky expects to be producing beluga this fall under an exclusive license.
“It’s amazing to work with products and know where they come from,” Lo said.
Dishes include Olivie Salad, a hollowed-out potato stuffed with eggs, new potatoes, dill, pickles, carrots and smoked beluga meat served on a bed of sevruga caviar.
Other small-plate, all-day dishes include Wagyu tartare with caviar, along with more traditional caviar flights.
Caviar is making a comeback in New York. Noted Eleven Madison chef Daniel Humm served it “by the gallon” at Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Oscar after-party, Page Six reported in February.
But as a species, sturgeon is almost extinct, due to overfishing and corruption.
Fishers pay inspectors to overlook illegally caught fish and improperly use scientific permits to raid the Caspian Sea, where the number of beluga sturgeon plunged from 26,000 in the 1960s to 2,800 in the 1990s.
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