They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, but any environmentally-conscious consumer knows that’s not necessarily true. Due to irresponsible fishing practices, some species of fish are in danger of extinction, so it’s up to diners to know what’s OK to order, and what to boycott.

Monday night we attended a Sustainable Seafood Dinner at the Boathouse on the Isle of Palms. The S.C. Aquarium regularly hosts these events to spread the word about sustainability. Four courses of responsibly-harvested seafood (and wine) later, we feel much better equipped to tackle a menu. 

Seated on the covered deck of the restaurant, we started out with introductions from Boathouse GM Lee Cohen, the Aquarium’s Megan Westmeyer, and Michael Bragg of E. & J. Gallo Winery. Westmeyer and Bragg spoke between each course as well, introducing the wine and food we were being served.

For the wines, we enjoyed everything from a smoky pinot noir to a sweet pinot grigio, with name telling us the origin of the grapes and giving us insight into the production. Of the five courses (including a cheese plate) we were served, my favorite was the local clam ravioli with yuzu truffle broth (clams are one of our state’s biggest seafood products) and the ginger-poached Floridian golden tilefish with rice noodles, vegetables, and a white soy butter, provided by local fisherman Mark Marhefka. Because of the rough winter waters, two of the planned dishes were replaced with substitutes — we didn’t complain when we got Maine lobster instead of monk fish. 

The next Sustainable Seafood Dinner is at Middleton Place on Sat. Feb. 19. “Instead of a traditional seated course by course dinner, it will be more of a social gathering with food and beverage pairing stations set up in the pavilion,” says Aquarium rep Kate Dittloff. “They’ll have bonfires outside and hopefully some live music.” For more info on the dinners, check out