New York fish monger recommendation needed
- NYChristopher Mar 27, 2007 10:23 AM
Can anyone recommend a fish monger in New York who might regularly have black cod. I usually buy from Fairway (UWS) or Lobster Place (Bleecker or Chelsea Market) but would argue that while I trust them for both for quality, I simply don't see black cod with any regularity.
(Or maybe I've been duped and "black cod" is the cod they regularly sell.)
UPDATE: Just discovered this is sablefish and that I have seen. That said, I'll certainly take any recommendations on fish mongers generally.
I'm going low brow on you, and I'll risk the wrath of the boards to say that I have never bought a bad piece of fish in Chinatown. I always go to the stinky triumverate (though not as stinky as you'd expect them to be, which is a good sign), two are practically next to each other on Canal one block east of Lafayette on the south side of the street, but I find that my favorite with the freshest and best selection is on Mulberry between Canal and Bayard, a little closer to Bayard. The last one is the most expensive of the three, but worth it, it's also less busy because there is less foot traffic.
I second the fish markets where Canal and Walker intersect. Very fresh and a bargain at $5/lb. I just feel guilty shopping there because I like to be conscious of where my fish comes from (for environmental and health reasons). For example, I'd rather get wild salmon than farm raised.
I agree with other hounds on the suggestion of 1) Chinatown and 2) Citarella. But there are cavaets to both:
1) Chinatown - depending on what type of black cod you are looking for. In Chinatown it is best to purchase black cod as a whole fish (with head, tail, skin attached). These will be the smaller sized black cod. In Chinatown I will not recommend buying cod steaks or fillets because without the head you can't examine the freshness (by looking at the inside of the fish or the eyes), and the fillets could have been sitting there for a long time (which is not uncommon in Chinatown). Another issue that may come up about fish purchase in Chinatown is that what they called "Black Cod" may not be the type of black cod that you are looking for. It is just how people name the fish in Chinatown, which is not very "scientific" or accurate. If you feel that you know enough to tell apart different types of fish, then by all means just select the one that you want. You can then get extremely fresh fish in Chinatown at a bargain price compared other locations.
2) Citarella - When it comes to freshness, I think Citarella is probably the best in town. The fish mongers are very knowledgeable and can help you with your selection. Fillets or whole fish, it is always fresh, so quality is not a concern at Citarella. The tradeoff is that you pay premium price for this guarantee. I like to buy my seafood at Citarella a lot because they often have a wide and exotic variety that you can't find in other locations.
Agree with other hounds that Whole Food and Dean & Deluca are suboptimal - pricey and not that fresh. In the case of Whole Food, the fish mongers often do not know the details (or even the names and sources) of the fish, which reflect how little care they put into their seafood department.
Hope you can get a good piece of black code for a great meal!
I LOVE the guy who runs the fish out of Oppenheimers (Jose, who I know for 15 or 16 years from the late lamented Jakes on 88th Street) but there isn't the turnover there to insure it is freshest---although I live above 100th Street, still go to Citarella at least 3 times a week for fish - never have had to throw out a piece of their fish.
So, I'm back with a similar question - which of these would you trust for anchovies and which of this would you trust for octopus (ideally Spanish and fairly small, maybe maybe 3#, maybe 6#). I just came across two recipes that looked intriguing but I'm not using canned or jarred anchovy and (I needn't say it here, but) squid is not octopus.
Here's the list so far:
Dean & Deluca
---Canal East of Lafayette
---Canal and Walker
---Mulberry b/t Canal and Bayard
---Grand near Forsyth
Gramercy Fish Market