Best fish in Brooklyn
- Brooklyn Food Critic
I keep forgetting about the boats in Sheepshead bay, got some ling today, it was amazing, it was, for "caught that afternoon" fish inexpensive. The boats usally dock after 3pm. Better than any restaurant!
More info, please. Where, exactly, are these boats you speak of? Do they sell fish right off the boat? 7 days a week? Do they clean fish for you, or sell only whole fish? Ling is cod, no? What other fish do they tend to sell?
BTW, best fresh fish I've found in Brooklyn, by far, is at the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket on Saturday's. Prices are fair, neither cheap nor expensive, I think. It's all caught fish (no farmed fish) and all fresh, but I'd guess caught the day before, not that very day as likely is the case w/ the Sheepshead bay boats.
The boats (whats left of them) are on Emmons Ave. If youre coming off of Ocean Ave., go all the way to the end and make a left, you cant miss them. They start right about where Randazzos Clam Bar is.
The charter boats usually make two runs, 7:A.M. returning @ around 3:P.M. and a night run that departs around 7:P.M returning around 3:A.M. They usually go for blues, fluke, flounder and porgies. Hours change depending on season. Its great fun to see the deckhands haggle w/ people over the catch-of-the-day at the docks. As far as the quality of the fish go? I take the 5th Ive always been a spectator. Do they clean them for you? If you toss them a mate a few extra bucks Im sure they will. Is it the best fish in the world? I wouldnt go that far, NY Harbor caught fish aint exactly a hot commodity. Not sure what type species Ling is, though I saw some cute pics of Ling Ling @ the National Zoo in D.C.
I say whats left because back in the day Sheepshead Bay was teaming w/ boats, but economics and demographics took its toll. A lot of the fishing boats converted to party boats and now offer dinner drinks and dancing while sailing around NY Harbor. For the true die-hard captains who have salt water in their veins its gotta hurt, but you have to roll w/ the tide. Things were so desperate that a number of years ago there was an ill-fated casino boat parked all the way @ the end of the bay. It ran into the ire of local politicians and The NYS Gaming Commission and was sunk - excuse the pun.
I've been blessed growing up with the fish from the Sheepshead Bay. One of my realatives owns one of the boats in the fleet. On the weekends it's best to get there around 1:30 P.M - 2:00 P.M when most of the boats dock.
Just as an fyi, ling is one of the common names used to refer to the red hake. Other less appealing names include mud bellies and sewer trout. The lingcod is a totally different fish found on the west coast.
The flesh of the ling (despite the less than glamorous names)is tasty and white but a little soft. Not thick like a cod fillet, but more thin like a fluke. They are excellent fried or made into fish cakes. Eat it soon after catching/buying, ling does not freeze well.
Having just been thru Sheepshead Bay, let me first say the calamari at Randazzo's is still fantastic. Tasty calamari and the hot marinara sauce is nicely spiced, not too hot.
Different boats come in at different times. The half-day boats will come back around 1ish and go back out. Other boats may go out from 8-3, others may stay out later. The best thing to do is to find out the boats that are fishing for the species you want, flounder (fluke), sea bass or porgies, bluefish and find out when they are returning.
Short answer, no consensus but the fluke boats are probably the only ones that go out for half day trips. Quality should be the same on all the boats, just be sure the fish looks just caught. Some mates have been known to hold over leftover fish and try to sell them the next day. Not often, but it's been done.
Can't comment on a specific boat.