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Best fish store in Manhattan?

Hey Hounds,

Looking for a really good fresh whole fish this week.

Wild Edibles has a good reputation, though I have never been there. Fairway and Citarella are ok, but not of the highest quality, I think.

Some people swear by Chinatown, but I have no clue about the fishmongers down there.

Any recs gratefully received.

- Sean

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  1. the fish store at Chelsea Market is one idea. not sure how the selection of whole fish is, though.

    1. I liked Wild Edibles when I would go to the GV location - it's now The Lobster Place or something like that - the fish also looks v. good there - I've gotten a couple of things. They seem to have a carefully picked selection, as if the buyer chooses what looks good, rather than having a huge array. There is a place on the UES called Leonards, that is supposed to be excellent - haven't tried it. We usually go to Citarella - pretty reliable. Dean & DeLuca on Madison always has the most desultory looking fish, nor am I thrilled with the WF quality.

      I'm always tempted by the fish prices in Chinatown, and while I'm not squeamish, and I'm sure that many flies may well have touched fish that I eat, the sight of them in the C'town locations turns me off.

      1. Grace's Marketplace at Third Ave & 71st Str has an excellent fish dept. Ask for Ronny....

        Citarella's is pretty good but not as good as Grace's...

        I was turned off by WE....or, I should say, by the smell...made me think it wasn't the cleanest or the freshest...

        I agree with whoever was negative about Dean & Deluca...looks & smells tired....

        Eli's Manhattan has a fish dept but I've never tried it...it always seems deserted...

        4 Replies
        1. re: fauchon

          Eli's Manhattan had some of the most beautiful salmon I've ever seen - at a cool $43 a pound - probably worth it, but a little too rich for me.

          As an aside - the D&D on Madison Ave always depresses me - some things are great - but the produce and fish departments are lousy - as if they don't have enough turnover - so I don't end up going there even though it's right down the street.

          1. re: MMRuth

            I'm in Eli's fairly often and *never* see any customers in the fish dept....maybe I go at the wrong times...maybe the astronomical prices are a turn-off...~~~shrugs~~~

            I completely agree about Mad Ave D&D...there's something really quite sad about it...

            1. re: fauchon

              My theory is that they do a lot of business in the prepared food and baked goods areas. The cheese selection is pretty decent, but pricey. I've had conversations with several managers there (they seem to have a lot of turnover, because I'd love it to be great, and they are aware of the problem, but I was just there yesterday and noted the same fish/produce problems. Nothing like the SoHo (or DC for that matter) store.

              1. re: MMRuth

                The produce is equally off-putting at the D&D SoHo location. Wide and varied selection, but mostly old, wilted and withered.

        2. If possible, I go to the fish stand at the Greenmarket on saturdays mornings. They always have wonderful scallops, flounder, etc. The only problem is that they only sell local fish, so the selection is limited, obviously.

          Otherwise,I really like The Lobster Place, both the Chelsea Market and the Bleecker Street locations. The fish is always fresh and the prices are fair.

          1. Add me as a fan of the Lobster Place.

            1. I live in Chelsea, and go to the Lobster Place for most fish, but for whole fish I go to Chinatown...too many vendors to know which one is "the best," but I've had a good experience with the one on the corner of Grand and Chrystie Sts. (after an excursion to DiPalo's on Grand and Mott).

              Used to swear by Citerella for mussels until I got a bad bunch, so Lobster Place is now my default....

              1. If you live on the UES you might consider Dorrians....on York between 83 and 84. They are an offshoot of the much lamented Rosedale. Expensive (!).... but I've never had anything bad. I also shop frequently at Eli's (91st St.). They're a tad cheaper than Dorrian.... but my husband always notices the difference! (And he is in no way a "foodie." )

                1. If you are looking for a good whole fish and know Wild Edibles' reputation, why haven't you been? I get almost all my fish from WE which means I take something home 2-3 times a week at least. I am always very happy. They had a huge mackeral the other week, just gorgeous. Something like 12 lbs, I didn't know that was even possible. GC has a much larger selection than Murray Hill although I understand Murray Hill supplies them. They aren't cheap and I am still wishing for a wholesaler. Some one recommended a place in Hells Kitchen but WE is so convenient for me that I haven't yet followed up. I have had some good fish from Lobster Place on Bleecker and at Chelsea Market and from Gramercy Fish although I still don't believe their $3 wild salmon burgers are actually made from wild salmon. I wish the Times would repeat their investigation.

                  1. I wanted to check out Wild Edibles with other Hounds, which is why I asked the question. But I am encouraged by your experience.

                    Where is GC, by the way? I am trying to decipher the acronym but nothing is coming through..

                    - Sean

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sean Dell

                      Grand Central - in the food market area - Murray's Cheese etc.

                    2. Thanks MMRuth, and Sean Dell, I didn't mean to be obscure or rude.

                      1. Thanks all.

                        I went to GC but there were no large wild fish available. Went to Fairways and the fish looked really, well, dead. Got a 7lb wild striper in Citarella that looked good. I'll know tonight!

                        - Sean

                        1. union square fish people are good. there is one on the weekend who sells fish from east hampton and one on wednesdays who sells lake and river fish from upstate new york. all the fish is super fresh and fairly priced. i also buy alot of whole fish in chinatown, usually on mott street, and have never been disappointed.

                          1. In defense of the Chinatown fish mongers, for the volume of fish they have right out on the sidewalk, those places have decidedly little odor. I've bought some beautiful fresh (and CHEAP) fish down there. There's one in particular down at the end of Mulberry St, near Baxter Square that is pricier than Canal Street, but quieter and fresher. And right next door is a spectacular little grocer that has such interesting Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Indian pantry staples, and also good produce.