Salmon’s been a staple of Ted’s Butcherblock since Ted Dombrowski in 2005 opened the downtown meat counter and café, selling at a rate of 3-4 sides a week, but customers have always gotten their flounder, halibut and scallops needs met elsewhere. Now Dombrowski’s installed a seafood case which he hopes will help make Ted’s Butcherblock a one-stop shop.
“On the peninsula, there aren’t a lot of places for fresh seafood,” Dombrowski says. “We put on the case and took on the same concept as the butcher side: My whole number one thing has been I need to carry the best quality I can find.”
That means the seafood case, like the butcher case, won’t be restricted to local products.
“I don’t carry any beef from South Carolina,” Dombrowski says, referring to the heat and humidity that’s notoriously tough on cattle. “I took the same approach with seafood. If someone wants halibut, it’s not going to be local.”
Still, there are plenty of fish from faraway places which won’t show up at Ted’s Butcherblock, including shrimp, catfish, tilapa and other products from Southeast Asia and South America. Dombrowski, realizing the sustainability concerns pertaining to seafood are far more complex than the issues posed by domestic beef and pork, consulted the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative before putting together his fish case.
Dombrowski ultimately settled on a line-up he describes as “basic,” featuring grouper, mussels, shrimp and clams. “I’m not Whole Foods,” he allows.
The case will also include a rotating fresh catch.
“This week we had in some really beautiful rockfish,” he says. “Next week it might be wreckfish.”
Although Dombrowski has more experience with meat than fish, he says he isn’t daunted by a whole halibut.
“At this point, I’m pretty comfortable around knives,” he says.