(Article on BBC NEWS 1 ) After the ban, caviar from sustainable farming methods became very popular.
In January 2007, this ban was partly lifted but they still have quota of 96 tons. It is still very expensive and difficult to find caviar from Black Sea. (Article on BBC NEWS 2) Of course I like Iranian & Russian Caspian Sturgeon Caviar the best but I have nothing against American Caviar. They are very affordable (about $35 -$90 per 1 ounce) and taste great!
My favorite place to have American caviar is at Tsar Nicoulai Cafe. Their caviar come from sustainably farm raised sturgeon in California.
Tsar Nicoulai Cafe
1 Ferry Building #12
San Francisco, CA
Phone: (415) 288.8630
My favorite thing to have there is Sparkling Wine & Caviar Flight — $50
(1) 2002 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs with California Estate Osetra Caviar
(2) 2001 “J” Vintage Brut with Hackleback Sturgeon Caviar
(3) 2002 Domaine Carneros Brut with Paddlefish Sturgeon Caviar
*Do not get Whitefish eggs at Tsar Nicoulai . Many Americans call them caviar, but I do not like to consider them as caviar. They are much much cheaper, usually under $10 ounce, and has much different taste. They have much thicker skin, they are smaller and they taste a little bitter. (Also called "Tobiko" in Japanese/Sushi term)
Also I love eating caviar (including Caspian Sturgeon Caviar) at Ritz Carlton Terrace in San Francisco. I know the head chef Chang Sivilay. He is a native-born Laotian with extensive culinary experiences. In addition to their caviar selections I also like their Lobster and Eggs (soft scrambled eggs, Maine lobster, mascarpone cheese). They have very nice wine list also. I think their Sunday brunch is one of the best buffet I ever had (I am not big fan of buffet). Their buffet include good quality American sturgeon caviar and salmon roe. Only problem I have is that they call the brunch "champagne" brunch and serves California sparkling. I have no problem with California sparkling. I actuary think J and Mirabelle taste better than some of the French sparkling from Champagne reason. My problem is calling a California sparkling a Champagne. Champagne have to come from Champagne, France. I really do not like people abuse terms such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Kobe beef...
Ritz Carlton Terrace
600 Stockton Street at California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 296.7465
I received American Caviar from my friend Liz. They were from Florida.
I liked the texture of this paddlefish caviar, but they had little fishy after taste. I usually eat Caviar with blini and crème fraiché only. However, I thought this caviar needed some kick, so I added finely chopped onions on top. I paired it with Laurent-Perrier. It was lovely.
I remember First class on International flights used to serve caviar. They usually served caviar with bunch of other stuff to fill up space on the serving dish. They had finely chopped boiled eggs (both white and yolk), chives, White onions, crème fraiché, lemon ... But I believe that the best way to eat caviar is by itself or with blini and crème fraiché. If you put onions or lemon, how can you enjoy the beautiful sweet delicate flavor of caviar. Eggs, lemon and/or onions are needed when the caviar is not fresh or has higher salt content(for longer self life = cheaper).
Napa Valley Winery Exchange
415 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 771-2887
*Crème fraiché is different from sour cream. I think sour cream is too acidic and too dense to be served with delicate taste of caviar.