If you think you're eating grouper when you order it at a restaurant in Florida, you might want to think again. According to reports from Tampa many restaurants are serving Asian catfish, tilapia and other species as grouper. Why am I not surprised?
I stopped ordering grouper a while ago. I haven't had a good piece of grouper at a restaurant in over ten years. Last one I remember having that I absolutely knew was grouper was at the Grouper Seafood Grille on the canal in Treasure Island, Florida.
I'm not sure the cooks/chefs in some of these boutique restaurants even know what fish they're buying. I'm not sure some of the wholesalers even know. And it's not like you can ask the waitress to see the fillet before it's cooked. Best thing to do is look at a plate being served next to you. Even then, how can you tell without tasting it?
Here's a tip. Grouper has a very distinctive texture when cooked. It's almost like it has a lobster-type snap to it when you bite down. Firm, meaty flakes when cooked properly, but not at all like haddock, tilefish or halibut flakes. Not the same conformity either. In other words, when you fork off a piece, each bite will be a different size. That's the best I can offer.