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Wild Salmon: Where's the best?

Ciao Hounds,

I am usually reluctant to buy any salmon in New York since a lot of the fishmongers habitually pass off farmed salmon as wild (it's easy to spot the difference).

However, I have a demand for it this weekend, from a guest. Anyone got any current recs on good sources of wild Atlantic salmon in NYC at the moment?


- Sean

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  1. I have only seen them occasionally available at Citarella and Wild Edibles. Other places like Whole Foods or Dean & Deluca only have farm raised in my visits. I suggest you call ahead. Sometimes they wiill get it for you if you request it for the weekend or tomorrow.

    1. Westerly natural foods market on the west side/midtown has some of the best wild-and most affordable, salmon in the city. The fish monger who supplies the fish to Citerella is the same one who stocks Westerly and it's so much cheaper!

      1. The salmon at Eli's on Third Avenue always looks unbelievable - but at a price. They were also, I believe, the only purveyor to pass the NYTimes testing of wild salmon.

        1. Fairway has both farmed and wild, but I'll admit that I can't tell the difference. I know that I got wild arctic char from them, and it tasted completely extraordinary (whether or not I was duped).

          9 Replies
            1. re: rose water

              I think I've heard something on these boards about Fairway passing off farmed as wild in the past, and I don't trust them...

              Westerley's my pick.

              1. re: kayonyc

                Re Fairway: I recall reading this in a NY Times piece.

                1. re: gloriousfood

                  For what it's worth, I stopped by Fairway for other staples yesterday and looked at the fish. But it was a quick look. The fish there doesn't look to be of the highest quality.

                  - Sean

                  1. re: Sean Dell

                    "I stopped by Fairway ... [t]he fish there doesn't look to be of the highest quality."

                    It's really not that great at all (about a step and a half above supermarket fish IMO). What it is a fair bit cheaper than Citarella next door, though. I buy shrimp and other stuff you know is bought frozen at ALL fishmongers - or the occasional piece of something when I don't want to spend the extra money for a prime piece - but if I want a "nice" piece of fish and am willing to pay for it, I don't even consider going to Fairway. Pretty much the same deal with their meat, though that's a bit better than in overall quality than their fish, IMO. Basically, Fairway and Whole Foods are much the same in that way.

                    1. re: MikeG

                      I think it really depends on which Fairway. I agree with respect to the smaller one on Broadway and 74th, but uptown I have been able to find really good stuff. That's not always the case, but I've had more hits there than misses.

                      1. re: ballulah

                        There may well be something to that. To my annoyance, I find that the "original" Fairway seems to be becoming the unwanted stepchild in a neighborhood ever-filling up with people more interested in prepared and "trendy" food than there were here when I moved in (a while ago now.) I still shop there for some basic stuff but this one at least really doesn't stand out much these days. When I don't want Citarella-type price/quality, I usually just go to Chinatown for seafood and Whole Foods for meat - easier for me to get to than most other places even if it's a little further in distance strictly speaking. Chinatown fish is rarely "amazing" but it's usually solidly decent at good prices, and if I'm going to pay too much for meat, I'd just as soon pay the "extra" for whatever it is that Whole Foods is or isn't doing in terms of sourcing it from at least less-inhumane producers. Since I can't afford to eat Greenmarket fish and meat on a regular basis, that's my compromise...

                        1. re: MikeG

                          Which Chinatown fish place do you frequent? Or are they all the same?

                          1. re: eatfood

                            I go to the ones that smell the least! Hahaha. It varies. But there's a place on Mott St, turn south on Canal and head almost all the way down the block. There are two fish markets there, near the end of the block before the square on the west side of the street. I find they're usually the best and almost interchangeable...although I usually go to the southernmost one most often.

            2. I was just at the Lobster Place in Chelsea Market the other day and they had some wild salmon, but it was pricey, circa $24.00/lbs. They didn't have much, but it was late in the day. Give it a shot.

              1. Pisacane on First and 52nd had great wild salmon last week. 212-752-7560

                2 Replies
                1. re: erica

                  Pisacane is a fantastic fish monger in general. Doesn't surprise me at all that they would have great anything!

                  1. re: ballulah

                    I love the store, and the people who work there. They rarely get mentioned here. If you do not see what you want, they may have it in the back, so ask. (Monkfish, for example, does not usually make it to the display case but they always seem to have it; same with skate)

                2. Ciao Hounds,

                  I called around and all that was available was wild Alaskan King salmon. Incidentally, beware 'organic' Scottish salmon. It's farmed, and the word organic in this context does serious injury to the language!

                  So, in the end, I opted for convenience (I live on the UES) and went to Eli's Vinegar Factory, where I got wonderful fish for a quite penurious price.

                  Thanks for all the recs.

                  - Sean

                  1 Reply