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Jul 19, 2007 04:56 AM

Looking for a good fresh fish store

Cooked Whole Foods salmon last was not fresh at all. Any rec's in Boston Proper to buy fresh(er) fish? Thanks as always...

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  1. That's too bad - we get our fish at Whole Foods all the time and I have much better luck there than anywhere else, frankly. One note - I bet if you took your slip back to them they'd refund your $. That'd take a bit of the sting out of it, at least.

    1. I know this is not Boston Proper, as you requested, but if you can venture a bit over the river into East Cambridge, you will not be let down by New Deal Seafood on Cambridge Street. Carl , the owner, is incredibly knowledgeable about his FRESH FRESH FRESH product. (Also, FYI, he was featured in a Sheryl Julian article in the Food section of the Boston Globe last week and on the Globe's blog, "Dishing.") ANYWAY, please make the trip - you will have an engaging experience there and IMO just may be a customer for life. We bought the fresh opah this week, and it is one of the tastiest fish experiences I have ever had. Check out this link: Cannot speakly highly enough about New Deal.

      New Deal Fish Market
      622 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

      12 Replies
      1. re: Small Plates

        I second New Deal. Carl is great- he knows his stuff. If you're feeling adventurous or want to try something new, tell him how you're planning on cooking the fish and he'll suggest a few types. He can tell you where the fish is from, when it was caught, how to cook it, etc. I always trust his word.
        Definitely worth the trip outside of Boston Proper.

        1. re: JessFM

          Make that 3 recommendations...
          My 5 night a week, steak and potato eating boyfriend now LOVES fish. And is even stopping to buy it on his own.

          1. re: tallullah

            Ok, I'm making the trip to East Cambridge for fish. Thanks so much. I will report back...

            1. re: gramercyfoodie

              Once you are in the neighborhood, its worth checking out Courthouse seafood market a few doors down. New Deal is a bit more upscale, Courthouse is perhaps a bit more popular, but the both have a quality product and interesting selection. (On a Friday afternoon you may have a decent wait at Courthouse.) The New Deal fans are a bit more vocal on the board, but there are a number of us who lean towards Courthouse while keeping an eye on whats new at New Deal.

              At New Deal look at the cheese they have and at Courthouse its worth a look at the Portuguese products (olive oils, olives in the plastic buckets, some excellent vinegar peppers which are usually in the buckets too, but you need to request during the summer). You can also buy fish at Courthouse and for $1/more a lb, they will cook it at their restaurant a few doors down.

              New Deal Fish Market
              622 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

              Courthouse Fish Market
              484 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

              1. re: itaunas

                I love Courthouse as well... I often have clients who request a special seafood dish, and New Deal may not have the product while Courthouse may. I do find Courthouse a bit cheaper, but as I mentioned earlier, New Deal will often have something like opah, which is one of the most delicious pieces of fish I have eaten. On the other hand, I opted for Courthouse's swordfish over New Deal's a few weeks ago because of how fresh the product looked. Carl Fantasia at New Deal generously shares his wealth of information about all things from the sea with you... and this is an added bonus. GF, you should definitely check out both.

                1. re: Small Plates

                  At the risk of being moved to the homecooking board... Tell me more about opah-- texture? flavor? best preparations?

                  1. re: newhound

                    I copied this from the Hawaiian-seafood dot org site - fyi the type on sale at New Deal is the pinkish flesh from the belly. I encrusted it with macadamia, seared and finished in the oven and served with a citrus gastrique syrup and macadamia rice. Read on for description from the aforementioned site:

                    : Color, Taste, Texture: An opah has four types of flesh, each a different color. Behind the head and along the backbone is an orangish flesh. Toward the belly, the flesh pales to a pink color and is somewhat stringy. The fish's cheeks yield dark red flesh. These types of flesh all cook to a white color. Inside the fish's breastplate is another, smaller section of flesh, comprising a very small percentage of a 100-pound moonfish. A bright ruby red or liver color, this flesh cooks to a brown color and is somewhat stringy and difficult to fillet.
                    Preparations: The opah's large-grain flesh is rich and fatty, with a versatility of use that is attractive to restaurants. Opah is used for sashimi, for broiling, and occasionally for smoking.

            2. re: tallullah

              Make that 4... New Deal is AWESOME!!!

              1. re: inmanchick

                I finally made it to New Deal for the first time on Sat. Got some really fresh, delicious, local striped bass. Excellent. There is basically a 3 week period where commercial fish shops can sell local striped bass --and we're in it right now --I told my SO we're gonna be eating nothing but stripers for the next few weeks :)

            3. re: JessFM

              I was sold on New Deal the minute Carl Fantasia (awesome name) gave me his recipe for soft shell crabs. It's nice to find a fishmonger who really likes to cook, who will offer up suggestions, etc. Courthouse is great too ... I love that they will often steer me toward something I might not have tried. It always turns out great.

              1. re: yumyum

                ok, I'm curious, how does he prepare his soft shell?

                1. re: tallullah

                  I thought I posted it before when I bought them. In a nutshell, soak in buttermilk for an hour. Drain and dredge in highly seasoned flour (lot of salt and pepper). Shake off excess. Heat oil and butter over med-high heat and saute the suckers. His tip (besides the buttermilk) was to cook them for longer than you think, and he was right. They take about 15 minutes total which seems like a long time.

          2. Morse Fish in the South End, across from the Cathedral on Washington Street. It's also an inexpensive counter-service restaurant, with very good fried or broiled fish and shellfish.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              They tend to have solid halibut and cod (mmm Captain's cut) and fresh lobster.

              Right now there's a special on Wild Salmon (saw it in the window, not sure what breed).

              Morse Fish Co
              1401 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            2. Add me to the New Deal/Courthouse Fan Club. I slightly prefer New Deal; but on any given day I might find something better at Courthouse.

              If E Cambridge isn't convenient and downtown is, I recommend James Hook on Northern Ave.

              1 Reply
              1. re: 9lives

                you guys are all wonderful - thanks for the tips...will report back.

              2. Hi-
                The Brookline Farmer's Market on Thursdays offers fresh fish. The fish are caught that day. You can pre-place your order by e-mail (by 6:00 am on Thursday), which you might want to do as they have been known to sell out before the day is over. They also sell chow-dah in gigantic quantities. (Cyndi Barnes,

                I recently got some fresh salmon (which became lovely gravlax!) at Off the Boat (which also serves cooked take-out dinners). It's located in East Boston, located near the entrance to the Summer Tunnel. Very friendly service. You can place orders ahead for specialty fish.

                4 Replies
                1. re: JFC

                  That's a great tip. Thanks so much...Does anyone else know if other farmer's markets have (good, fresh) fish?

                  1. re: gramercyfoodie

                    The Fish Lady (from Globe Fish on Fish Pier, I believe) I have seen at Arlington, Lexington, and Brookline farmer's markets. Plus in the off season Busa Farms in Lexington had a drop off on Tuesdays. I think she did attend one in Cambridge, but sounds like the best way to get a schedule is emailing above.

                    Last year there was a Wellfleet oyster seller (who mostly supplies restaurants) highly recommended who attended at least the Davis Sq market and YumYum wrote about him at the time. I didn't see him at any other markets, nor have I seen him at any markets this year (haven't been to Davis). Other farmers markets on the Cape I think do have fish too, but haven't seen other sellers around the direct Boston area.

                    FWIW, Haymarket used to have fish stands year round, except they are certainly not the epitome of "fresh" fish. 9lives and another person noted that they have banned those for the summer. If already at Haymarket during the cooler season you can occasionally find something worth your while and they don't fully deserve the bad rap they get, but the fish lady is in a way different class. The fish market in the basement at haymarket I can't say enough bad things about, stay away (Blackstone meat market, though, is pretty good).

                    1. re: gramercyfoodie

                      Davis Square, Arlington and Lexington all have a fish stand.

                    2. re: JFC

                      To be clear, Cyndi does NOT claim that all, or even most, of her fish is even local, much less "caught that day." In her emails, she's very careful to explain which fish is local and fresh, and which is non-native and frozen, and the latter almost always far outnumbers the former. (For example, she offers farmed varieties of salmon, bass, etc.) That said, the quality of her fish is uniformly outstanding -- and she herself could not possibly be nicer -- and her prices are entirely reasonable.