Trendy NYC Restaurant Team Might Convince You To Buy Tinned Fish

Those familiar with New York City's dining scene undoubtedly already know of Hart's and Cervo's, two trendy seafood-forward spots under the same restaurant group. Hart's, located in Brooklyn, features a Mediterranean menu that changes frequently, while Cervo's (located on the border of Manhattan's Lower East Side and Chinatown) focuses on Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. But the restaurants share more than overarching ownership. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, both shifted to selling groceries before they could resume seating people for meals, according to Grub Street. And that shift ultimately led the team to launch another business specifically focused on their own signature tins of fish.

Grub Street reports the team behind Hart's and Cervo's had been big fans of tinned fish and had the idea of starting their own brand for a lot longer than the pandemic era. The spread of COVID-19 simply acted as a catalyst for the idea which turned into Minnow, their line of canned sardines, cod liver, and wild sockeye salmon.

Not your average can of sardines

If your tinned fish knowledge extends only to roe or anchovies, then Minnow owners Nialls Fallon, Nick Perkins, and Leah Campbell want you to reconsider, reports Grub Street. Each of the three types of fish Minnow sells are sourced from some of the best waters where these fish are found which translates to some of the freshest, high-quality canned fish around (via Minnow). Minnow's sardines come from the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain where they are canned; the cod liver (packed in it's own oil, naturally) is sourced from Iceland by an outfitter that Grub Street shares also harvests for local restaurants; and the wild sockeye salmon comes straight from Alaska's Bristol Bay.

If you want to enjoy the same quality of fish that you would find in Hart's or Cervo's from the comfort of your own kitchen, the tins come with price tags that Minnow's owners believe reflect the quality of the fish inside. A single tin of Minnow's sardines cost $11 for 4.2 ounces or about 10 to 14 fish. The Icelandic cod liver is $9 for 4.3 ounces, and the wild-caught salmon is $14 for 7.5 ounces. While those prices are certainly less you might spend on an ounce of caviar, it is considerably more expensive than the canned fish typical of grocery stores like Starkist.

Tinned seafood is becoming more and more popular

Canned fish have become increasingly popular since the onset of the pandemic, reports The Strategist, sharing that the salty ingredient has been spotted more and more frequently on both our Instagram feeds and resturant menus. The article namechecks brands like Don Bocarte, Matiz, and JOSE Gourmet as go-to cans for chefs. Even clothing company Patagonia has its own line of canned fish, Patagonia Provisions, which start around $7 per can.

Eater spotted the tide on tinned fish turning in the U.S. before the pandemic in 2019, writing that as early as 2013 some restaurants were beginning to embrace the somewhat controversial food. (Eater calls out NYC's Maiden Lane specifically, which has a shop attached devoted to all things canned seafood. Coincidentally, Maiden Lane was co-opened by Minnow's Nialls Fallon, according to Grub Street.)

Though Minnow only launched its webstore on January 26, as shared on Instagram, people are clearly clamoring to try the new tinned fish brand from the popular team.