You're as likely to find mahi mahi or another firm-fleshed gulf fish on the bun these days, but fresh Florida fish broiled, fried or blackened, especially with a squeeze of lemon, sliced tomatoes and two or three rings of red onion, goes down brilliantly with Longboard Island Lager, a fresh, frisky and full-bodied beer from Kona, Hawaii.
raw bar fare
Any shellfish on ice from the raw bar will pair handsomely with the green apple snap of Austria's Hugl Weine Grüner Veltliner. This lightly lemon-scented white varietal is the bee's knees of oyster-friendly wines.
This buttery crustacean, whether boiled, broiled or stuffed into a roll with a mayonnaise-rich sauce, cries out for bubbly. There are many fine choices among sparkling wines domestic and imported, but one that delivers great bang for the buck is Italy's Ferrari Brut, a dazzling, very Champagne-like blanc de blancs that we introduced to readers in this space just last week.
Sauvignon blanc or sake
There are two very good but very different ways to go here. One is our long-running fave sauvignon blanc, especially the sassy, grapefruit-forward wines from New Zealand's Marlborough district, among which Kim Crawford is a perennial standout. The other way is sake, especially an unfiltered, milky premium sake called Shirakawago, available by the 300-ml bottle at better sushi bars.
Grouper, red snapper or hogfish fresh off the coals will sing prettily with a fresh, clean, crisply acidic unoaked chardonnay like those produced by California's Joel Gott or Toad Hollow wineries, as well as with many of the equally crisp, even flinty white blends from France's Bordeaux region, among which a new favorite of ours is Chateau La Gravière Entre-Deux-Mers.
You simply can't beat a citrusy, subtly robust and lightly floral white wine made from the albariño grape grown to perfection in Spain's Rias Baixas region. Our hands-down favorite of these is the estate grown albariño produced by Bodegas Martìn Còdax.
tuna or salmon steaks
For the more robust flavors of these fish steaks we'll go with a pinot noir, which Oregon famously produces to general raves. An even better choice in this case is the 2009 MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir from California. This luscious medium-bodied red, produced in a low-yield year (meaning intense, concentrated flavors), is all silky cherries and blackberries spiked with just enough briar for edge.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.