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Fish King vs Bristol Farms?

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  • mocro May 24, 2007 06:36 AM
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For you SGV folks....I need some swordfish and was wondering if it's worth it to make the trek to Fish King in Glendale? The swordfish at Bristol Frams has been looking good, but do you think Fish King is significantly fresher? Thanks!

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  1. I've never been to Fish King but usually when I have a taste for swordfish I've been picking it up at the BF on Fair Oaks. I haven't been disappointed. Other fish (namely salmon) I've been sticking exclusively to Costco. I'm not sure if Costco sells fresh swordfish, but if they do, I'd recommend that! Costco has so much turnover that the fish is always top-notch imo.

    7 Replies
    1. re: amandine

      Thanks so much. I swear by Costco for my high end meats, shrimp, scallops. It never ocurred to me they'd have swordfish, but I'll call and see. Thanks so much.

      1. re: mocro

        They don't have but good idea.

      2. re: amandine

        While Costco's products, salmon included, are always top-notch, be aware that the salmon they sell is the colored, farm raised, as opposed to wild caught.
        Might try How's Market on Huntington as an additional thought.
        Got some very good halibut at their new location in NoHo this week, and at significantly less per pound than either Whole Foods(another option) or Bristol Farms.
        Fish King is always good!

        1. re: carter

          How's is kind of limited right now - I went yesterday looking for a big chunk of fish to roast and came away with some OK halibut steaks, three big ones for $18+, which I wound up grilling. Their salmon is all Atlantic farmed crap, too. I see though that Ralphs is having their annual supply of Copper River salmon in - it's expensive, of course, but it's darn good fish.

          I really need to get down to the Asian markets. Their seafood sections can be a little stinky, but they know fish and their turnover is 'way high, so you aren't likely to be buying yesterday's inventory.

          1. re: Will Owen

            If you go and you have to have them pick it for you from a tank, never, ever accept the first specimen -- at least at the San Gabriel flagship store.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Give us the story. What's that about?

              1. re: amandine

                It could just be me... but at the big store in San Gabriel, they'll try and give you the worst fish first so that if you're not discriminating enough, they'll have got rid of the worst one that other, pickier people wouldn't accept.

                I would dismiss it as coincidence if it didn't happen every time I go. The worst was when I went to go buy Dungeness crabs. He starts grabbing them and putting them in the bag and I said, "No, those are DEAD. I don't WANT dead crabs, give me something better!"

                Fortunately someone interceded on my behalf, as the guy then immediately stopped being able to speak English... my Good Samaritan started reading him the riot act in quite imperious-sounding Chinese, fingers pointed and everything.

      3. Fish King gets their stock from downtown daily, which is nice. Basically, you're paying their 40-50% markup so that they wake up at 5am and go shopping at International Marine, LA Fish Company, etc. and you sleep in.

        Personally I just go to LA Fish Company as it's right near the medical school campus and I am a particularly cheap individual (plus I'm very picky). Let me know when you see fresh Dover sole for $5/lb at Bristol Farms ;-)

        6 Replies
        1. re: ttriche

          You're also paying for their expertise -- 90%+ of the patrons at either Fish King or Bristol Farms wouldn't be able to pick out high-quality fish at the wholesale fish markets downtown.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            I was looking for Dover sole a couple of months ago as I'd promised it to a visiting aunt who loves it. I tried everywhere; Fish King, Bristol, Whole Foods, Santa Monica Fish Co. Everybody talked about "the weather up north." I was all set to give up and saw it on sale for $5.99 lb at my local Von's. It wasn't half bad.

            I called Fish King and Bristol Farms about the swordfish. They both have and BF's is a few $$$ a lb more, not enough to make a drive to Glendale worthwhile. I asked if I should buy it tomorrow for Saturday and they said no, they get it fresh every day. Fish is delivered daily between 7 - 10 a.m. so that's a very good sign. Thanks for everyone's help on this.

            1. re: mocro

              hmmm, beware dover sole! unless it specifically says it was flown in from europe, it's a completely different species, which just uses the name as a "commercial convenience" (think pacific red snapper). the old name for this west coast dover sole is "slime sole", which kind of gives you an idea of the texture once it's cooked.

              1. re: FED

                Yes, I made the very big mistake of getting some of that, and it really was entirely too much like a plate of vaguely fishy snot. Halibut is about as mooshy as I can tolerate. For other flatfish, I like to stick with grey or petrale sole or sand dabs.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  petrale sole is the best flatfish on the west coast and is right up there with true dover sole (IMHO). it's a beautiful fish. personally, i usually pick up either that or sanddabs (actually, most often rex sole). when good halibut is $25 a pound, petrale is $12 and rex is $7 (though you have to take it off the bones after it's been cooked).

                  1. re: FED

                    Having grown up eating catfish and itty bitty bluegill, I think I know how to do that! The good part is that fish on the bone is fish at its best, just like meat, and a quick scoop with a table knife peels it right off.

                    I have not seen sand dabs in the markets for a good two years now - I think the restaurants must be buying them all. Rex and petrale, cooked the same way, are a more than adequate substitute to my taste.

        2. I've been to Fish King twice and it is NOT worth a trip even if you live in Glendale.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Bite Me

            explanation please

            1. re: bodie

              It's been a few years since I have been there but I recall low inventory and difficulty getting served. the place didn't look all that appetizing. Just didn't seem all that special. Maybe the heat of the valley shot my brain cells -- I took a cooler with blue ice -- but it just seemed to me not worth a special trip. If Bristol Farms has a nice selection, and you're already there shopping, it seems to me that would do the trick.

            2. re: Bite Me

              Clearly you're going to some alternate, sham Fish King, one run by shoddy fish pirates... I've been going to Fish King for coming up on eight years here and I've never had a single bad piece of fish or seafood from them, ever.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                I've been to Fish King maybe only 6 or 7 times, but I did get a bad piece of fish. This past Xmas eve, I got a hunk of the allegedly sushi-grade ahi. When I got it home it smelled horrible and was so fatty that it was difficult to slice. The place was packed so I figured stuff hadn't been sitting around, but still, maybe there was some significance to it been Dec 24? Even so, it was just the once, and I've been back since.

                1. re: badmeow

                  I have to be honest, I never go to Fish King on the major holidays (mostly Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Armenian Christmas) -- I go the 23rd and keep the fish and seafood I need for the Feast of the Seven Fishes assiduously on ice.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    So is there really an issue with buying fish the day before a holiday, or do you just not want to risk it?

                    1. re: badmeow

                      I've seen the lines out the door. I don't buy ANYTHING food-related the day before a major holiday -- that includes not going to BevMo today.

            3. Fish King sells quality high end fresh fish but I've been struggling with the scene. A little run down, spotty service, so so inventory and presentation.

              Bristol on the other hand presents very well with a clean crushed ice backbrop and smokin' good firm, fresh cuts that will deliver....for a price. Fish King's price per pound might be a little less. When I'm looking to impress it's Bristol.

              1. Just came from Fish King - we chose the Fresh Pacific King Salmon at $15/lb. vs. the absolutely gorgeous Copper River salmon @ $35+/lb. We decided to hold off on the C. River to a time when we aren't feeding a half dozen others. Hama Hama oysters at .89cents each for throwing on the grill also! Time to light the coals!

                Service at Fish King was efficient and knowledgeable - I quizzed alot about the size of the hama-hamas.

                (P.S. Also, construction workers were all over interior of what at one time was Mrs. Gooch's - just up the street - looks like it's being transformed into a How's,,,or is it going from How's to something else. Signs and awning looked brand new!,but still boarded up at entry.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Local

                  btb , ignore the Hows comment...just had the chance to search the board and realize I'm just a tad out of the loop on glendale marketing.

                2. From well over a decade of shopping there I'd say Fish King has greater turnover and is fresher than Bristol Farms (and I buy the swordfish often). You might also consider the swordfish at Whole Foods, which is usually very good. Still, Fish King is the real deal in the area.