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best lox?

wondering if anyone knows where to get really good lox. i'm sick of the stuff in the plastic packages.... need the NYC style thin-sliced nova!

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  1. Zathmary's was the only place that had what you are talking about.. I used to adore the hand cut belly lox. When I go to NYC I go to a place called Barney Greengrass on the upper west side. The sturgeon is what they are famous for but everything is good. Maybe they will ship it to you or try zabars online.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hoplover

      Having grown up in Brooklyn at a time when "hand sliced" lox was the rule and not the exception and lox outsold nova, it's difficult to find anyplace now that sells anything hand sliced at all, especially around these parts. Zabars is a good place to start. I wasn't impressed with Barney Greengrass. Though I haven't tried them, Russ and Daughters on the lower eastside (http://www.russanddaughters.com/pr_sa...) is supposed to have phenominal smoked fish. You can also try the New York First website (www.newyorkfirst.com) which has a grocery offering many of New York's finest foods (you'll need bagels to go with that lox). However, the cost of shipping from these places is usually as much if not more than the treats themselves. When in need, we purchase the 1 1/2 lb. smoked salmon from Costco. It's delish, thinly sliced (by a machine of course) and quite tasty. Otherwise, we wait until we visit the City.

      1. re: barlev

        Russ and Daughters is AWESOME - I have the NY Nostalgia package shipped to me once a year!

    2. You might check with the S&S in Cambridge to see whether the deli counter slices its own. www.sandsrestaurant.com

      And please let the rest of us expat NYers know what you find out.

      2 Replies
        1. re: Gabatta

          S&S is alright. The lox is not handcut, and its definitly cut way too thick, but its not bad. The bagel is okay. Im still searching for some lox that comes close to my beloved zabars.

          FYI, the chairman of Acme Smoked Fish (Zabar's lox provider) died this week. Very sad. I really hope that this does not harm their quality in the long run.

      1. So, are you looking for Nova (smoked salmon) or lox (cured, but not smoked)? There's a Rite outlet in East Boston that has good lox - but don't bother with their smoked salmon.

        For really special smoked salmon, mail order from russ & daughters - the King salmon (they call it western) is incredible. Get some sturgeon and sable while you're at it. It's expensive (western is $40/lb plus the shipping), but it's worth it. Nobody around here's going to have anything like it.


        4 Replies
        1. re: applehome

          Can you give address and contact info for the Rite outlet you mentioned? What else do they have? I searched the web but haven't come across it.

          1. re: JP RS

            It was on Marginal St. in Chelsea - but it's been a while since I was there and I find absolutely no reference to Rite Foods, like you said, so maybe they're gone. I still see Rite Foods herrings in the grocery stores - I think - I haven't bought any of that in a while either. The Rite Foods site just has the Tribe hummus, their address is down in Taunton - I know that Rite bought them out a while ago, but I guess it wouldn't be surprising if there had been some reshuffling. Sorry about providing an old reference.

            1. re: JP RS

              It is called Select Seafood on Marginal Street in Chelsea.

            2. re: applehome

              Both Russ&Daughters and Zabars buy their smoked fish from the same smoke house. I have never noticed that one is consistently better then the other. The quality of the fish at both places vacillates between excellent and perfection. I have found that Zabars does a better job of packaging it's shipments though.

            3. Sadly, we, too, import ours from Zabars when we go to NYC. Used to buy the stuff that Zathmary's imported from Brooklyn themselves before they shut down. I seem to recall some recommendations for the assorted smoked fishes, including salmon, at the Russian markets (e.g. Bazaar) in Brookline.


              1. I'm no lox expert but I am very surprised that there isn't anywhere in the Boston area to get hand sliced lox. Seems like just raising the issue would induce a half dozen places to start, get some, and to do it very well.

                1. I am not aware of any place that hand slices lox or nova in the area. Believe it or not, the best pre-sliced smoked salmon -- certainly the best value -- is the stuff from Costco. No packaged lox will ever be as good as quality and properly sliced lox, but the Costco stuff is pretty darn good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Blumie

                    The BEST (By Far) pre-packaged salmon is at Trader Joe's! That is probably the best I have ever had ... cheap too. 12 0z only costs $8.99 - It really is outstanding. (I am talking about their Atlantic smoked salmon - comes in a blue package in the fridge section) They also sell a smaller pack.

                    Yes, it is pre-packed, but my goodness it tastes fresh and oh so good!

                    1. re: rachelfromatlanta

                      I've had TJ's and agree that it's good too. Can't say it's better than Costco's, but it's good.

                  2. Whole Foods on River Street in Cambridge will hand slice their in-house smoked salmon.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foodscience

                      If they use the same smoking technique as the Framingham store, it is hot smoked so it is cooked through. Yummy, but definitely not lox. River Street might be different, though.

                    2. Formaggio hand slices their smoked salmon.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Velda Mae

                        Years ago, when Legal Seafood had a retail store out in Chestnut Hill (don't know if it's still around), they used to offer appetizing (lox, herring, white fish, sable, etc). I recall ordering a 1/4 lb of Nova and asking for it to be hand-sliced. 45 minutes later, it was still in process. Finally finished, we next ordered herring in cream sauce. When the hand slicer took out a ruler to measure the cuts on the herring filets, it was time to go. Unfortunately, be it in NYC or Boston, the hand slicing of smoked fish is a dying art!

                      2. Don't know if it is "the best" but the Butcherie on Harvard Street in Brookline has hand cut lox and it is very good.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: bostonhound

                          Barry's in Waban has hand sliced lox.

                          1. re: abbij

                            I get really god hand sliced Lox at Rein's Deli which is right off Rte 84 in Vernon CT right before Hartford. I know it is not in Boston but whenever I have a reason to go to CT I amke a point to stop there and get a pound or so to go. They also have great whitefish and sturgeon too and think they muct bring it up from NYC. Their deli sandwhichs are also very good as is their mac & cheese which used to be my daughter's favorite when they were kids.

                            1. re: abbij

                              I tried theirs a couple of days ago for the first time. Both Nova and Belly were great...although not sliced nearly as thick as you get in NYC......

                              1. re: Science Chick

                                Correction.....not sliced nearly as *thin* as in NYC!!! ;)

                              2. re: abbij

                                I agree. The hand-cut lox at Barry's in Waban Square is yummy and is the lox I remember from childhood. It's expensive.

                              3. re: bostonhound

                                I love the Butcherie's salty (belly) lox, it's one of the few places you can still get it these days.

                                For a smoked salmon, try Spence & Co's Traditional Scottish-Style. It's packaged, not hand-sliced, but beats any of the hand-sliced I've tried from anywhere in the area for real smokiness. Several supermarket chains carry the brand, but only Whole Foods seems to carry this particular variety.

                                1. re: BobB

                                  The Butcherie has a variety of lox including belly which is rare to find. Duck Trap and Spence both are very good for packaged, with the edge to duck trap for me. if you have a smoker, you can make your own pretty easily, though mine tends to come out more "kippered" than smoked salmon/lox.

                                  1. re: teezeetoo

                                    My experience (smoking salmon since 1970's) is that it is extremely difficult to cold smoke salmon. Virtually any other kind of smoking - straight hot, Indian, planked, and jerky are all very easy to do. And some of the results are indeed very tasty. But if anyone thinks that they can buy a $200 electric smoker and make cold-smoked salmon like they get at the deli, well... make sure you post your recipe here, cause we're all waiting.

                                    I've used an offset box with the main chamber never getting above 90F (a lot of books call for 90F, body temp, to be the max for cold smoking) and still cannot get the full congealing of the flesh that allows you to slice thinly across the grains without flaking. This has a lot to do with the initial curing, which busts the cell walls and forces out water, but I've tried many recipes and methods without great success. My closest attempts have come in winter when the actual chamber temp is consistently less than 60F for a couple of days, from fish that was dry-cured with kosher salt overnight (although the dry cure turns into its own brine as the water is expelled from the cells - this is what happens in barrel curing). Air circulation is critical, but too much at too high a temp will result in jerky, not Nova.

                                    I think that it's critical to have the large room that the commercial folks have used for many years. The amount of air circulation, with just the right amount of smoke in the air and at the right temperature is what does the trick. But I'm not about to build a room size smoker, so I'll have to keep buying the cold smoked salmon at the deli (or Costco or TJ's). The stuff I make is perfect for an appetizer with beer and crackers, or as okazu with rice (Japanese style meal). But that bagel with cream cheese, with capers, a slice of red onion, a slice of tomato, and the best creamy, melt-in-your-mouth cold smoked salmon - that's beyond my capabilities - and probably most amateur smokers.

                                    1. re: applehome

                                      no argument and similar experience. we brine, kosher salt, etc., and do best in winter at temperatures around 50 or so. but it never is quite lox, always more kippered in texture. it is however delicious!

                                    2. re: teezeetoo

                                      Have you tried Spence's Scottish-style? It has a noticeably stronger, smokier flavor than their "Classic," which is usually all you can find at standard supermarket chains.

                                2. Does Michael's deli on Harvard Ave in Coolidge Corner have lox? Given the authenticity and quality of their sliced meats, I'd think any lox they offer would be just as good.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: heathermb

                                    I don't really like the nova at Michael's - think you can find better quality at Bazaar up the street, but you're right, they're pastrami and corned beef are both top notch.

                                  2. By far, the best lox I've ever tasted came from Davis' Deli in Providence, RI. It's in Mt. Hope, near the intersection of Hope St. and Rochambeau St. If you're ever in RI, definitely stop by.

                                    1. Wulf's fish market on Harvard Street in Coolidge Corner/Brookline, a block before Kupel's which has the best bagels in Boston!

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: brenda02452

                                        Wulf's sells lox? I thought they just sold fresh fish. Agree about the bagels, but I pair them with the salty lox from The Butcherie across the street.

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          best bagels are either Rosenfelds in Newton Center or Iggys - kupels bagels are just pillows with seeds on them

                                          1. re: teezeetoo

                                            I second Rosenfelds....they are unrivaled in the Boston metro area!

                                            1. re: teezeetoo

                                              I agree about Kupels. Very disappointing. They always taste a little stale.

                                              1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                Not when you get them first thing in the AM! Easy for me to say since I live two blocks away...