Taste: Almost Osetra
With the export ban on Caspian Sea caviar extended, here's what you'll find in its place on area menus.
The ban on the export of caviar from the Caspian Sea has been extended indefinitely. As local stockpiles run out, caviar connoisseurs will start to notice variations of the pricey delicacy on area menus.
Most often imported from Uruguay or Israel, this caviar comes from farm-raised sturgeon and mimics the roe — and the $75-to-$90-an-ounce cost — of the Caspian’s osetra caviar.
Where to try it: Philly-based distributor Caviar Assouline (icaviar.com) sells both kinds.
Produced in Tennessee and Kentucky, this $20-an-ounce American sturgeon caviar, with its small gray pearls, is the best substitute for strong-flavored Caspian sevruga.
Where to try it: At Atlantic City’s Red Square (the Quarter at the Tropicana, South Brighton Avenue and the Boardwalk; 609-344-9100), paddlefish caviar tops the popular clams Khrushchev, a plate of baked clams topped with parmesan bread crumbs and pancetta.
From the shovelnose sturgeon of Mississippi, this $20-an-ounce black caviar with large berries has the buttery, nutty flavor of the Caspian’s osetra.
Where to try it: Striped Bass (1500 Walnut Street, 215-732-4444; stripedbassrestaurant.com) serves hackleback as an appetizer, with all the traditional caviar flourishes.
Faux-luga, a nutty, soy-based $7.50-an-ounce “caviar,” has the large gray pearls and distinctive crunch of Russian beluga.
Where to try it: Derek Davis uses faux-luga to garnish omelets and soups and to dress up an appetizer of fingerling potatoes and sour cream at Manayunk’s Derek’s (4411 Main Street, 215-483-9400; dereksrestaurant.com).