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Good Lox in Seattle?

Anyone know where you can get some good, New York-style lox in Seattle? I'm dreaming particularly of the really thinly sliced, fatty Nova Scotia lox I used to get at Fairway in Manhattan...

I did a search, and it looks like some people get it at Costco (really?) and someone thought maybe Goldberg's in Factoria (evidently a controversial place) had it. I've seen at at Trader Joe's (okay and cheap) and QFC/Bagel Oasis on 65th (same blue box in both, felt too thick and, er, fleshy, if that makes sense.)

I'm not particularly looking for cheap, just really good.

Any ideas?

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  1. goldberg's buys the good stuff and then slices it like prime rib - best advice is to have it shipped from zabar's/russ & daughters/balducci's pre-sliced or, if you find the slices a bit thick, order it whole and learn to slice it yourself - in which case, it will have a longer shelf life.

    2 Replies
    1. re: howard 1st

      I used to love the gravlax (w/ dill mustard sauce) from balducci's old store in the Village, does it ship well?

      1. re: barleywino

        since gravlax is more heavily cured than what we have learned to call 'lox', it both ships and keeps very well. also be aware that, since there is no smoke component in the preparation of gravlax, it is relatively easy to make at home

    2. No, you just can't get it. Not anywhere. Save yourself the suffering of the search. Lox out here is pre-sliced, too dry, too salty, not oily enough, and not remotely even close to what you're missing. You can eat it if you accept it's not what you miss. And there are some nicely edible things out there -- the tuna guy at the Columbia City and U-District markets even makes a nice tuna lox.

      Actually the only place in Seattle right now with good, sliced nova is my refrigerator, since my parents are visiting and lovingly brought me Zabar's goods. But please don't break into my house and take it :).

      1. I'm a Costco fan, but their lox are from farmed salmon and not very good. My favorite cold smoked salmon comes from Portlock.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lauren

          I use the Costco when I have a crowd. For myself I buy the Gerard and Dominique brand, found at most of the upscale grocery stores. It's no Zabars, but quite tasty nonetheless.

        2. You GUYS - what about Pike Market?!? Gotta confess, I go there all Zen and not so much by name, but the fish guys halfway down near the sausage guys just before you reach the vegetable guys have lovely lox and they'll let you taste. I mean, c'mon, this is the NW! Salmon rules!

          1 Reply
          1. re: rcallner

            agreed that pike place market in all its manifestations is irreplaceable - BUT the best smoked salmon available there is not the same as what is recognized as the glorious lox of zabarian fame being from fatter fish, more heavily smoked and with a more intense cure. raised on the atlantic coast in a jewish family, i adore 'lox' - especially nova belly as purveyed by zabar's and other temples of semitic delights - and deplore its absence in seattle but have gotten much pleasure from the superb smoked salmon that IS available - just because i like white chocolate does not mean i cannot enjoy bittersweet...btw, as 'lox' is from the slavic word for 'salmon', 'tuna lox' as mentioned above would be a fascinating misnomer.

          2. What about Jensen's smokehouse at 10520 Greenwood Ave. N? They have a wide variety of deliciously smoked salmon products. As to the quality of lox vs. what you remember from New York - I think you should check it out and let us know how it compares.

            1. The best thing to do would to be to cure your own. Buy a nice FATTY chunk of king salmon. Pack it with sugar ,salt, dill and maybe a little white pepper. 36 hours later you will have your own little slice of heaven.

              A quick cure will leave you with a nice oily, velvety result.

              If you are really courageous and handy enough you can rig up you're own cold smoker with supplies from the local hardware store. You can find plans alll over the web.

              Light cure and smoke it!!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: passionfoodie

                your recipe - especially with the addition of a little aquavit - will produce a superb gravlax but the lox which we are discussing here is quickly brined and then lightly cold smoked; a fine difference, perhaps, but, like that between white and black truffles, inescapable.

              2. I may have managed to answer my own question - I was at Mutual Fish on Rainier Ave. S. this morning, getting something else, and decided to look and see if they carried lox. Lo, they did!

                I bought a half-pound, and at first nibble, I have to say, it's pretty damn good. My wife said it reminded her of the fabled Fairway lox in NY - I say it's not as thinly sliced (and hence translucent), but it is fatty, oily (not dry), and creamy. It was listed at $22/lb., which seems about par for lox in NY as well.

                The downside, as seattledebs points out, is that it is pre-sliced - they don't cut it in front of you. I think that accounts for the thickness.

                Still, for now, I think my craving will be sated.

                3 Replies
                1. re: southendeater

                  Thanks for the heads up about Mutual Fish and lox. You know even if it's not that nearly impossible dream lox that we're all searching for your review has prompted me to buy some bagels, lox and cream cheese. I'm ready for my quarterly fix.

                  1. re: southendeater

                    maybe you can ask them to set a piece aside for you that has not been sliced and slice it to you liking?

                    1. re: passionfoodie

                      Slicing nova or lox very thinly is an art. The guys at Zabar's in New York are masters at this (or Russ & Daughters, etc) - they don't use a machine or anything, but a knife held parallel to the top of the fish, slicing off very thin pieces. But it may be worth asking if the folks at Mutual Fish can slice it thinly. If they can, I know I'd go get some! It really does make a difference to the taste.

                  2. there is every possibility that mutual fish buys their lox presliced and will not be able to accommodate customers desiring it otherwise - however, in the interest of culinary education, i will be happy to demonstrate (at no cost) a class in the slicing of lox if a few chowhounders will obtain an unsliced side of lox and organize said class - my preference would be daytimes and wheelchair accessible

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: howard 1st

                      BTW this is kind of a side issue but the silent partner here is the bagel. I pilgrimage from Olympia to Seattle on a regular basis to get the lovely chewy not too big not too weirdly flavored bagels at Bagel Oasis on 65th. They're soooo good.

                      1. re: rcallner

                        I agree - I think the Bagel Oasis on 65th are the best bagels in Seattle. (This may not be saying much.) If anyone knows better, let me know so I can check them out...

                      2. re: howard 1st

                        With great expectations I went into Mutual Fish this afternoon. They do have lox, but the packaging looked suspiciously like Costco's, which is fine, but Costco doesn't charge $22 a pound. I didn't try any, but the sign said it was previously frozen.

                        1. re: joevandal2000

                          Might want to check Loki Fish Company (at the farmer's markets). I could swear they had lox...

                      3. Why not consider mail order from Zabar's if you want the real deal. It's a splurge but you get incredible lox, fantastic smear, and H&H bagels all in one shipment.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: landguy

                          Crow, in Queen Anne, has a house cured gravlax w/ aquavit on the current menu.

                        2. This place has the best bagels and lox (that I've found around here, anyway):

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: blaufrau3

                            Is the lox from Zabar's wild? It's strange to me that there would be better lox in New York then salmon country. The Olympia seafood company has some killer lox IMO, but I never eat lox in New York because I can never find it made with wild fish.