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Striped Bass at Super 88

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I'm reposting this from the general topics board, because I don't know if anyone else has had the same experience in Boston....
OKay, this is gonnah sound silly...I bought a striped bass at the Super 88 a few weeks ago. Steamed it with scallion and ginger...It had that slight taste of ammonia!!
"Whoa", I said, "You are not very good at selecting fish, you need to be more picky next time!"
My friends (Ben and Steve!!) said, "Look for those gills, make sure they're red"..
Well, okay..Today, I went back, and got one that was still swimming around!! I saw it leap out of the net!! I took it right home, cooked it the same way...It STILL tasted slightly of ammonia!! What did I do wrong? What is wrong with the fish tank? The only thing I've done differently both times is to use a stainless steel pan inside my bamboo steamer. Is this a no-no that everyone else knows? I'm getting frustrated!

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  1. Hmm... I have no idea... did the fish smell fishy when you bought it? Maybe it was sick? Other than that... you can try rubbing salt and/or alcohol(rice wine... or vodka, or whatever you cook with) on the fish to get rid of some of the fishy smell. Stuff some ginger in the cavity... I dunno. Sounds like you are doing things right (mom always use stainless steel pan... and it was alright...)

    I am puzzled.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Ben

      Thanks; I have another fish, (Chinese buffalo carp) from the same tank...I'll try the wine and salt on it tonite.

      1. re: galleygirl

        So, I rinsed the carp,then soaked it in Shoaxing(sp?) wine for an hour, because that one smelled of ammonia too...I cooked up the soup, which would have been damned good if the broth didn't taste of ammonia...I didn't even taste the fish, because the smell of it put me off so much I just dumped the whole thing into the trash...I think Kev was right, and it was the tanks that aren't clean...(Maybe that's why I've had better luck buying fish at the original Super 88, they're smaller, and maybe the tanks are kept better, because it hasn't happened there.)...
        But there are SO many people of different ethnic origins buying whole fish, and I can't be the only one having a problem...But the place is always doing a land-office business, with people whom I would think are even pickier than I am!!

        1. re: galleygirl

          The following message (#7655) was posted on Chowhound's Boston Area
          Message Board:

          Posted by: Hugh DeMann
          Message Subject: Re(4): Striped Bass at Super 88
          Time/Date: 16:31:18 1/20/02

          In reply to Re(3): Striped Bass at Super 88 posted by galleygirl on
          January 20, 2002 at 12:54:20

          1stly, those bass are likely freshwater fish and it is the water.
          The salt water fish you get in the summer is (as another poster said
          already) totally different from the hybrids grown commercially.
          Fresh or salt, the fish are not fed and swim in dirty tanks. They
          constantly filter water while they slowly starve, getting their
          nurients from suspended waste in the tank. Its the coooking process
          that turns the uric-type amino acids into amonia. In a word, YUCK.

          1. re: Hugh DeMann

            Hugh, would you mind shooting us a quick email, to webmaster@chowhound.com? Thanks much!

            1. re: Hugh DeMann

              Great explanation; thank you so much!! I guess I never figured that they were in the tanks THAT long, but I'll bet I'm wrong..Yuck is right...Now that I think of it, all the tanks at my favorite restos are immaculate compared to the ones there...I've also had the same taste from fresh-looking fish that I bought from their cases...Which were probly swimming in the tanks not too long before...But there are a LOT of people buying fish out of that tanks---I can't be the only one to notice!!! I'm gonnah check the tank hygiene at the OLD super 88...

              1. re: galleygirl

                Can you give me a clue as to where both the old and the new Super 88s are? Yellow Pages hasn't been much help.

                Thanks.

                Pat G.

                1. re: Pat Goldberg

                  New one is in new South Bay Center, in what is officially Dorchester....The shopping center is off Mass Ave. Also accessible from 93 South...617-541-5624.
                  The new one is officially listed at 50 Herald Sq in Boston, near the Boston Herald, if you're on the outskirts of Chinatown and go past Tufts NEMC and OVER the Mass Pike, it's right there..617-423-1688..
                  I had to look them up in the commercial section of the white pages.
                  They both have parking lots that a challenge to figure out :)

      2. Those Stripers you buy in the stores are farm raised and have nowhere near the flavor of it's wild counterpart. I have even found them to have a little moldy taste to them sometimes. That amonia flavor must come from the dirty tank, otherwise I don't know what it could be. Try it's mediterranean cousin Bronzino. Still farm raised but more flavorful.