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Feb 11, 2006 09:34 PM

Fishmonger in the Watchung/Plainfield area?

  • v

I just moved to NJ and am looking for a place to buy good seafood. Most of the seafood I have seen in the area grocery stores look way past their "expiration date"! Anyone have any suggestions?

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  1. There is a small fish store in Westfield, near the train station. It's ok, I haven't ever been too impressed. I can't remember off hand the name, it's on South Avenue, there's a CVS on the same side nearby.

    Best bet for me has been the Shop Rite in Clark, on Central Avenue, on the border of Westfield. The fish counter is VERY good there, good sales too. The only thing I got that wasn't so good was the fresh calamari but everything else has been top notch. It gets rave reviews from my BIL, who is a health inspector and said that Shop Rite in general tends to have the best as far as the large markets are concerned.

    Having said that about Shop Rite, do not assume all are the same. The one in Watchung (at the Blue Star mall) is horrific on all accounts.

    I know both of these may be a tad to far for you.

    If anyone else knows of other places, please let us know. I'm in the same general vacinity and would love to have options. I've even traveled up to Whole Foods in Milburn for better produce and meats at times.


    8 Replies
    1. re: sivyaleah

      Sivyaleah, I have been to the Shop-rite in the Blue Star mall and totally agree with you. I will check out the store in Westfield (some other day.....when there is a little less snow to deal with!).
      Brian, I have been to the Asian Food center and they have quite a selection. Have to admit though that I feel a little intimidated with the language barrier and all. I guess I am too used to my midwest grocers where everything is already cleaned, filleted and ready to go.....:-) I still don't know how to look at a whole fish and tell if it is fresh, let alone how to clean, cut/fillet it!

      1. re: Veena

        I believe Sivyaleah is referring to the Shop Rite in Clark, not Westfield. The Clark Shop Rite is on Central Ave, close to the Garden State Parkway.

        I plan to go there myself and try out the fish counter.

        1. re: Val Ann C

          I stand totally corrected. I meant the Shop Rite in GARWOOD, not Clark! So sorry! I was getting confused - must have been snow blindness!

          It is on the border of Garwood and Westfield, on South Avenue. the one in Clark is ok too, but I think Garwoods is much better. Should be closer for you too.


          1. re: sivyaleah

            I finally made it to the Shop-rite in Garwood.......what a difference between that and the one in the Blue star mall!! Thank-you for the tip!

        2. re: Veena

          "I still don't know how to look at a whole fish and tell if it is fresh"

          most fish have clear eye, not cloudy. also, most eye should be convex, not concave. this can be seen from a distance. nice gills and little smell, too.

          1. re: piney

            Smell of the fish is a big should smell something like seawater, not that rotten fishy smell! Also the flesh will be firm if you touch it with your finger. If you press lightly and it leaves an indentation, the fish is past its prime. Nice shiny look on the skin, not "slimy" looking.

            1. re: Aimee

              So, now here is another question....I don't mean to sound like a total idiot can I smell or touch the fish when it is behind the counter? I did not think I would be allowed to do that!

              1. re: Veena

                No, it is not a stupid question. A good fishmonger will totally understand if you ask him to bring something out so you can look at it. You can see if the flesh looks plump and firm, and if you feel like you want to poke it just to make sure, just ask him if it is OK. At that point you can give it a sniff, too. I would say that the whole fish counter area should smell OK, if I walk in and smell a bad fishy smell, I won't even consider a purchase.
                FWIW, I buy fish at one of the local Shop Rites (not near you) and the quality is good. So you should give the one near you a shot that others have rec'd.

      2. Hi, I know that fish place in Westfield too - it pretty much only sells fillets, good ones, but only fillets.

        I find the best in the area to be Captain Fresh. It's part fish market with a small (by area standards) Chinese butcher and grocery attached.

        You'll find it on Route 22, just west of the big Sears on the north side of the road.

        One of the bigger Chinese markets will also have a better fish selection than the "regular" supermarkets. Try Asian Food Center, just about a mile or so west of Captain Fresh.

        If all else fails, the plain, frozen fish at Trader Joe's in Westfield is always a safe - if unexciting - bet.


        1. there is a tiny fish place in watchung, as you go from the post office/pizza place/florist toward the watchung circle. i've always been curious, but have never been there. has anyone else gone there?

          1. I probably should keep my mouth shut about this, since it is my wife who does all the shopping, but I'll weigh in with her opinions. She buys mostly salmon, and will go either to Captain Fresh or Shoprite on 22 in Watchung. I know, I know--it's a really skanky supermarket, but when they have something like salmon on sale, the turnover is brisk, so she usually does well with it.

            1. The tiny fish shop in Watchung by the P.O. is excellent, right off Somerset St. It is a branch of a larger fish marker in the Portugese section of Newark. The fish is a little higher priced but very fresh. In addition, Kings supermarket (in Warren, Berkeley Heights etc.) usually has expensive but very fresh fish. Both of these places stand by their products as well.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Rona

                Agree w Rona. Though now the tiny fish shop, Mansueto's, has changed hands, its new owners are dedicated fish mongers as well.

                (Since I don't buy Chinese made foods -- having lived in that part of the world long enough to have been amply warned -- I avoid Asian markets. Mansueto's and Warren's Kings are the only places I go in this area, though b/c of mercury not too often.)

                1. re: superf

                  Mansueto's is terrible. I bought some seafood from there once, and it just didn't taste fresh. I went back a few years later (last year), walked in, and it just smelled awful. There wasn't much of a selection either. So I left without buying anything.

                  I used to go to Captain Fresh all the time when I lived in the area, but when I went there last year, they were closed. Did they shut down for good?

                  The place in Westfield is good, and their shrimp are the best in the area.

                  Anyone know of a place to get good seafood in Bergen County? The Lyndhurst\North Arlington area specifically.


                  1. re: TFK

                    While Captain Fresh is closed, the fish monger has opened a store further down rt. 22 on the westbound side in a strip mall. I believe it's in Plainfield.

                    1. re: TFK

                      you have to try Mansueto's again, new owners took over in April 08 and the place has changed for the better. the fish is fresh daily from fulton or local from point pleasent and they make all their own salads and soups and they have changed the cases so the smell is gone! come august they will be doing fish and chips

                      1. re: TFK

                        Well, Kings in Warren always has something good. I didn't have your problem with Mansuetos fortunately. However, I had it with Captain Fresh and the (other) Asian Market, I can confidently say they are too risky despite the discount to Whole Foods. Somerset Farms is worth checking out on Thursdays, when the proprietor drives to Hunts Point, though, like the rest of their goods, better go over it verrrry carefully before buying. But nothing comes close to Seabra's of Newark.