Hong Kong Sea Bass Is a Specialty at Village Tavern in Greensboro

The fillet rests on a pool of sweet soy sauce, nestled in between a scoop of sticky rice and a little mound of sauteed spinach.

Mary Grace Viado’s Hong Kong Sea Bass is a specialty at Village Tavern in Greensboro, an Asian-inspired dish she describes as simple but bursting with flavor.

“It’s one of my favorites,” she says. “It’s a beautiful dish. The presentation is great, and it fits in with the variety of influences we try to have on our menu.”

Mary Grace, who has been with Village Tavern for 15 years, works in research and development, helping to devise new menu items and coach team members for the company’s 10 restaurants.

Born in the Philippines, Mary Grace is an alum of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked in restaurants in San Francisco and New York. She also served as a corporate chef for a restaurant group in the Philippines.

The Hong Kong Sea Bass first appeared on Village Tavern’s menu about six months ago and is served at dinnertime, which begins at 4 p.m.

Hong Kong Sea Bass


1/4 cup sesame oil

1 gallon water

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

5 ounces fresh spinach

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

6 ounces sea bass

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, julienned

1 tablespoon green onion, julienned

5 tablespoons soy-sherry-oil mix*

*recipe below

Place water, sesame oil and kosher salt on the bottom of the steamer. Bring to a boil, then set it at low to simmer. Oil fish and season with salt and pepper. Place it on the second level or perforated level of the steamer for 6 to 8 minutes. Be sure not to overcook the fish or it will become dry. While fish is cooking, pre-heat sauté pan with canola oil. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach and sauté until it starts to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Be sure it is hot. Microwave pre-cooked sticky rice for 1 minute. Shake the soy-sherry-oil mix vigorously. Place hot spinach at 9 o’clock, piling high. Layer with fresh ginger and green onion on top. Pour 2 tablespoons of the soy-sherry-oil mix. Place the fish at the center. Cover fish with 3 tablespoons of soy-sherry-oil mix. Brush fish with teriyaki glaze. Place hot sticky rice (oval-shaped) at 3 o’clock position. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately. 

Soy-Sherry-Oil Mix

Yield: Approx. 1 1/4 cups


1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup dry sherry

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup sesame oil 


In a sauce pot, combine soy sauce, dry sherry, water and sugar. Whisk until sugar is fully melted. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Whisk in sesame oil. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a squeeze bottle. Shake vigorously before drizzling on the plate.

Sticky Rice

Yield: Approx. 3 cups


1 cup sushi/sticky rice

2 cups water


In a small sauce pot with lid measure rice. Add water and stir well. Cover pot with lid and place on stove top. Cook on medium to low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, checking occasionally. Using a fork or a metal spoon, fluff the rice. Serve hot with the sea bass.