As mentioned in our previous post, Caviarblog had the pleasure of joining Chef Gregory Short of Masa’s (masasrestaurant.com) to taste a variety of caviar. Both Ali and a new member of the Caviarblog team, Sandhya, joined him. Sandhya was the objective moderator of the grading. Today, we will be reviewing Chef Short’s comments and grades for the six different selections of sturgeon. The six he tasted are:
Plaza Golden Osetra – This is the species acipenser gueldenstaedtii. Farmed in Bulgaria, these Russian Sturgeon are usually 10-11 years old, 5-8 ft long, and approximately 70 lbs at harvest. Chef Short gave this the highest grade possible with an A+. He described it as “slightly sweet with a nice pop”, having a “buttery essence” and said its balance made it stand out.
Plaza Osetra – This is also of the species acipenser gueldenstaedtii. Also farmed in Bulgaria, these Russian Sturgeon are usually a bit younger: 8-10 years old, 4-6 ft long, and approximately 50 lbs at harvest. Chef short gave this selection a solid A. He mentioned that it was slightly softer than the Golden Osetra and had a nice “slightly salty, slightly briny, but balanced” finish.
Plaza Sterlet – This is the first we’ve seen of the acipenser ruthenus at Caviarblog. The smaller sterlet are 3-5 years old, 2-3 ft in length, and about 30 lbs when harvested. Chef Short gave it a B+ and described the Sterlet as “powerful” with a hint of “anchovy” and a “very nice brine finish”. He also mentioned the “dark hue” in appearance. The Sterlet also comes from the same farm in Bulgaria.
Plaza Baerii – One of our favorites at Caviarblog, this acipenser baerii comes to us from a farm in Florida. This Siberian Sturgeon is approximately 5-7 years old, 2-4 feet long, and 25 lbs when harvested. Chef Short gave it an A- and described it as having a “slightly sweet, buttery finish that leaves you wanting for more”. I know that it has that effect on me.
Plaza Royale – Farmed in Idaho, this White Sturgeon is of the species acipenser transmontanus. It is approximately 8-12 years in age, 5-6 feet in length and 80 lbs at harvest. Chef Short loved the “great pop” and the “fresh, mature flavor that appeals”. He gave it an A+, which places it right at the top of the scorecard with the Golden Osetra.
Plaza Classic – This White Sturgeon, acipenser transmontanus, is farmed in California. It is approximately 6-8 years in age, 5-6 feet long, and 70 lbs at harvest. The younger of the two White Sturgeon, Chef Short gave this an A-. He commented on its “forward brine start” and a unique “soft cheesy texture like an Epoisses.”
A big thanks goes to Chef Gregory Short for lending his discerning palate to taste the various caviar and bring his insights to our readers. When pressed for an overall winner, Chef Short went with the Golden Osetra for its “texture and buttery essence that make it second to none”.
Thanks also to Sandhya for making everything run smoothly.