Area 31's Menu Unaffected by Gulf Oil Spill... For Now

Wondering whether that ungodly oil slick off the coast of Louisiana is going to spoil your next seafood feast at Area 31 Restaurant, located on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel. Well rest assured, BP's big mess shouldn't stop you from enjoying the restaurant's marinated gulf escolar and other delicacies from the region, at least for now, says Executive Chef  John Critchley.

"The shrimp and calamari from the Gulf have not been affected yet," said Critchley in a statement released May 7. The chef says that the restaurant, named after Major Fishing Area 31 which includes the Southeast Atlantic Coast, the Caribbean, some waters off South American and, of course, the Gulf of Mexico, typically shifts its fishing grounds to the east side of Florida and Georgia this time of year.

In the longer term, however, the impact of the Gulf oil spill on even Miami's seafood scene is considerably more bleak.

"Everyone is anticipating an impact. What it means for (Area 31's) menu we don't know yet. We'll have a better idea in the next couple of weeks," says Ellen Marchman a restaurant rep. But Dr. Megan Davis, director of aquaculture at Florida Atlantic University, does know. And it's not pretty. "The impact of oil on the larval and early juvenile life stage of fish in open water and marshes an will be devastating to future generations of fish," Davis says. Oysters, shrimp and any other animals living in the sea grass or mangroves affected by the oil spill will be likely be unfit for eating, she adds.

Marchman says that whatever the ultimate impact is, the Gulf disaster has brought many seafood restaurants and chefs together and plans are in the works for a benefit/fundraiser to help fisherman in the Gulf whose livelihood  is in t in the near future. Stay tuned.

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