6 Fresh-Caught Fish to Get at Sea Level NC


SEAFOOD. It’s all about fresh. And it’s not always easy to find. But at Sea Level NC, in Uptown, they have an entire section on their menu dedicated to day boat catches. Deliveries from the Carolina coasts are made just about every day, and head Chef, Jonathan Moore, works up complementing flavors and ingredients to serve up a freshly-caught, perfectly-cooked seafood dish to savor.

Here, a list of six fresh-caught fish you might find on your next visit to Uptown’s newest seafood restaurant.

1. Catfish
Farm raised by the very reputable Carolina Classics in Ayden, N.C. Catfish are raised in earthen ponds, and these fish are fed a strict natural diet with no pesticides or synthetic chemicals. It is a very clean tasting fish—and delicious on our catfish Reuben.

2. Trigger Fish
Line-caught in N.C. and S.C., these fish are a smaller, laterally-compressed fish, and they’re typically under five pounds. The price for these fish on day boats runs about the same as grouper. There’s not a bad way to prepare this tasty fishsee what chef has on the fresh catch menu.

3. Sheepshead
It’s commonly known in the fishing world as “convict fish” due to the large black stripes on the skin. These fish naturally feed on shellfish and sea urchins, and their diet creates a wonderfully rich flavor. Sheepshead is a medium-flake filet perfect for pan searing and basting with herb butter. They’re hard to catch, but great to cook.

4. Southern Flounder 
This is a flat fish bottom dweller, a staple “Down East” on the Carolina coasts.  Often caught using an ancient Indian fishing technique called Flounder Pounds (underwater mazes that lure fish in, that they cannot escape). At Sea Level NC, we often get our flounder from Amanda Hooper with Off The Docks Seafood Company in Wanchese, N.C. These fish are great for whole-frying.

5. Grouper
Grouper is a crowd favorite. These fish are big - usually at least 15 pounds on up to 50 pounds for a snowy grouper! We rely on Tim Griner of Charlotte Fish Company, with his boat The Mariner, for these big beauties. Grouper is great on the grill, grilled skin off.

6. B-Liner Snapper
Also known as Vermillion Snapper, these fish are usually in the 2-5 pound range. The B-Liner Snapper flesh is extremely delicate. It has a mild flavor that is wonderful raw or for crudos and ceviches.

Walk on in to Sea Level and see what’s fresh for the day on their “Fresh Catch” menu. They also accept reservations and do call-ahead seating. Validated parking is available at the Hearst Tower. Call 704-412-2616 to reserve a table.

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