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Mar 29, 2006 11:18 PM

Snapper’s Seafood – Richmond’s BEST fried fish & fries (may be lard involved)

  • r

The restaurant is spotless and shiny but the air is thick with the aroma of fry oil. The smell that always crinkles my nose and I never identify until the first bite … lard.

The deliciousness of the first taste of those fries seems to confirm it.

Fantastic super-fresh fries, medium cut, similar to In-N-Out… but really, really good … with a deep potato flavor and just the hint of sweetness … like some white potatoes have that natural sweet flavor.

They are soft and lightly fried and they didn’t make it home. I gobbled them up on the drive back. I didn’t even adulterate them with catsup. Too good for that.

There’s a nice attention to detail here. There are bottles of hot sauce on the counter
- Stubbs wicked chicken wing sauce
- Frank’s Red hot sauce
- Uncle Cho’s Tuong ot Sriracha sauce
- Crystal

The fish is lovingly cradled in an aqua paper basket lined with yellow paper and comes with three little cups of sauces
- Vinegar based red hot sauce
- Sweet sauce like for egg rolls with a little peppery bite
- Home-made tartar sauce with lots of sweet pickle relish

The snapper was fresh and moist with a thin coating of corn meal mixed with black pepper. After the food was finished, I noticed there was no grease on the paper. It’s the kind of fish I remember eating as a child that was fried by some of my friends’ mothers whose roots were in the South.

I asked the young woman at the counter how long Snapper’s was in business and she peeked around the corner and asked “Mama, when did the restaurant open?” It was 1992.

Nailah Beuford (aka mama) was dressed in white, and IIRC, wearing a white chef’s hat. Everything is fried to order. No heat lamps here.

The menu is linked below.

Other fish: Catfish, Buffalo, Filet of Sole, Whiting, Prawns, Oysters

The daughter said the snapper and the catfish were the most popular. Given the name is Snapper seafood, I went with that.

They also have chicken wings and chicken strips.

Sides include: Hush puppies, onion rings, red beans & rice, macaroni salad, potato salad and cole slaw.

The term ‘sandwich’ is a euphemism in fried fish joints in Richmond. It means you get two slices of supermarket bread on top of the fish and fries.

They have added chili to the menu. It is a thick mildly-spicy, tomato sauce type chili with some beans and ground beef. For $2.50 with some crackers, it is a satisfying lunch.

They had some small sweet potato pies from Cassandra’s bakery.

There’s one table with aluminum chairs and a counter with two stools. It is a tiny space. This isn’t my neighborhood and it looks a big iffy to me, so it is just a FYI. Most of the houses have iron bars on windows and doors.

However, everyone I met was very nice. The restaurant is homey like the food. I definitely will be back.

Snapper’s Seafood
1501 Ohio Avenue (take Cutting toward the bridge, Right on 17th, left on Ohio)
Richmond, Ca.94804

Closed: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday
Wednesday – Friday: 12pm -7pm
Saturday 3:30 pm to 9pm
Proprietor: Nailah Beuford


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  1. Can restaurants use lard for deep frying? I thought it was banned in California or does it only apply to fast food restaurants.

    8 Replies
    1. re: theSauce

      Lard? Banned? That doesn't make any sense. Why would CA ban cooking fat/oil/products?

      1. re: theSauce

        Wow, has the Olive Oil lobby become that powerful in California? Is McEvoy muscling out the pork producers?

        I am not a morning person, so I had to go off and have my cup of coffee and calm down so I didn't go off on a rant.

        First of all, if there is any obscure law about this in California it would be nice if someone confirmed it so I can ask the moderators to remove my original post from the board.

        I would certainly not want this postage-stamp sized business to be raided by the lard police ... and if they were, given all the contraband substances being pushed in Richmond, if anyone is worried about lard ...

        Second, I don't know for sure it is lard. I didn't take a bite of the fries until I left, so I never asked to confirm this. Don't ask, don't tell.

        Is possession of lard-fried food also a felony in California?

        I am guessing you might be thinking of McDonald's and thier fries that were at one time fried in beef tallow. There was no law against it, but some angry vegetarians started a class action suit when they found out the 'natural flavoring' on the fry ingrediant list was beef tallow.

        It seems ... sip coffee and calm down ... that unless there are actual facts to back up a claim that a business might not be following some regulation, that it is not fair to bring something up like this on a public forum ... especially when a business is as small as this and doesn't need any negative attention.

        I can not imagine that this is a law in California. It certainly would have gotten more attention. What ... we are going to single out pork fat an not other animal fat? Greasy rillettes, the current rage everywhere are fine ... as long as they are not deep fried in lard? Confit fine ... hush puppies in lard, no? One would think the accusasions of classism would be rampant. Doesn't some fancy restuarant in the area fry their potatoes with a touch of duck fat? It's not that food is deep-fried in animal fat, but only the animal fat used by specific cultures and classes?

        I'm so glad I'm not ranting and had that coffee.


        1. re: rworange

          Giggling to myself as I read your unrant.

          Personally, I preferred McDonald's fries when they used beef tallow. So much better tasting. I wouldn't object if Snapper's used tallow or lard. It would just make things that much better!

          1. re: Peter Yee

            Healthier too, believe it or not, than the trans-fat crap they fry in now.

        2. re: theSauce

          I take it back, perhaps the word "banned" is to harsh. While in Nevada couple of years back I was able to buy McDonald's fries fried with beef tallow or lard, which tasted like heaven! Upon my return to California I realize most of the fries are fried with hydrogenated oils. I asked one of the manager and he said they're banned from using lard. Perhaps, he means the company banned the use of lard due to consumer demand. But, in general you don't see a lot of places fried with lard anymore...

          1. re: theSauce

            Thanks. Yeah, it does make a difference in taste ... not that I'm saying the fries in Snapper's ARE fried in lard ... I feel like I should be wearing a trench coat and whispering "Psst .. interested in some ... good fries".

            1. re: theSauce

              When you have a chance, check out the fries at Bud's on Sonoma in Vallejo. They're still fried in beef fat and they're fabulous.


            2. re: theSauce

              There is no ban on lard in any restaurant in CA. McD's got caught using lard but lying about it. Which understandably upset Hindus and vegetarians. McD's can serve all the lard-fried fries it wants, it just has to own up.

            3. Never mind. I hate being the Emily Latella of Chowhound.

              My curiousity got the best of me so it is fried fish for Roberto and me again.

              No lard, just different veggie oils. Miss Beuford said that they used the same oil for the fries as the chicken wings, so that's where I might be.

              Yeah, those onion rings ... Roberto didn't get any of those either. Like the fries they never made it home. Light coating on large fresh sweet onion rings. Just stellar. Miss Beuford really knows how to fry.

              It must be the temperature, because the fried food is not noticably greasy and those yellow paper liners remain almost grease-free.

              We shared the 3-way combo today - catfish, buffalo fish and whiting. The coating on the different types of fish is different with the catfish having the most delicate coating. I liked all the fish I tried so far. The whiting was perhaps the fishest, the snapper the most moist, the catfish the most delicate.

              The buffalo fish ... interesting ... probably one I wouldn't order again. It was attached to bones and skin unlike the others. Not a bad fish, but there's the bother of picking around the bones,

              Tried a small container of the potato salad which has egg, mustard, relish and is vinegary tasting. The macaroni salad is mixed with tuna. Both are fine, but the onion rings and french fries are so superior, those are what I'd recommend.

              Got 4 hushpuppies. I'm no judge. I never had a hushpuppy that knocked me out. I don't get grits either unless they are adulterated with things like cheese and butter. The hushpuppies are round balls of cornmeal with the same coating as the snapper.

              IMO, the standouts at Snapper's are the fries, onion rings and fried fish.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                Hate hitting post by accident, anyway this sentence should have read ...

                Miss Beuford said that they used the same oil for the fries as the chicken wings, so that's where I might be getting the flavor.

                1. re: rworange
                  Constant Velocity

                  I'm jonesing to go here after reading this, and I live *nowhere* near Richmond. Field trip!

                  Thanks for mentioning that the macaroni salad has tuna in it. Some places, like the L&L Hawaiian that opened up near my house, don't give that disclaimer. I only eat fish fried, and that only once or twice or year, so it's kind of a shock to order macaroni salad and exepect, say, a vinegar or mayo or pickle taste and get . . . fish. It's put me off mac salad except my own.

                2. Well, that didn't work out well at all!

                  I wrote down your directions. Down cutting, rt 17th, left on Ohio. EASY.

                  Except you cannot make a right on to South 17th, it's barracaded with planted flowers and junk.

                  So, I thought maybe you meant my other right. Nope, that only goes a block. It's been a while since I've been around this neighborhood, I decided to go home and yahoo map it out. GOTCHA !!!

                  So, I went back to work and gathered my brother inlaw and we drove up, finally. But they're having some floor work done and won't be operating for at least another hour. Back on the road. Where to go?

                  We really didn't have any idea and drove past Quiznos. It'll be fast, besides, I'm nearly an hour out already from work. So we stop in. Lance gets a bowl of chili in a bread thingy, small bag of chips & water. This comes to 9.50 dollars. I get the prime rib sammich, regular size, small chips and a Mist drink, 12.69.

                  We'd never been to Quiznos, that was nasty. Like Subway, but they have a toaster oven. I suppose they gotta charge more for that fancy toaster.

                  All in all it was a bust and spent way too much money on garbage. Over 22 dollars for fast food sammiches, robbery.

                  Tomorrow? Try Snappers again.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Dr. Biggles

                    Sorry, I thought I made the correction about turning right on 18th instead of 17th. I did that on my second visit to my distress.

                    I keep wondering about that blue restuarant on the corner of Cutting and 18th. If I ever saw so much as one person eating there, I'd drop by. The closed curtains make me wonder if it is a front for something. I mean even on WEEKENDS I never see anyone in there. Also, I'm not getting any restaurant vibes about it.

                    However ... it looks like it is attached to someone's house and now I'm having fantasies of someone's mom cooking up a storm in the back kitchen ... if only someone would stop by.

                    I guess everone has to try Quiznos ... once.

                    In response to another post of yours, Roberto, whose metabolism is much better than mine, gets the majority of the share of my restaurant roving. I'm getting the feeling he doesn't like hot cross buns so much. Some are still waiting to be eaten. That sardine tasting is to make up for all my transgressions ... but there's only so much a sardine can do, eh?

                    Oh yeah, in the area on Cutting near Snappers, there's a new Mexican market ... Fiesta Latino.

                    I didn't give it much notice when it first opened. It looked a little scary, in fact. However, on the last treck to Snappers, the door was open and it looks beautiful in there ... really a supermarket and a big veggie section. I'll probably look in there on Saturday. Most of the markets have something on the week-ends, like carnitas, that they don't have during the week. It might be a nice option for Point Richmond folks who don't have anything but small groceries near them. It's on Cutting around 16th on the across the street from the blue restaurant.

                    Yeah, carnitas on Saturday ... I better go have my Mexican sardine lunch today to allow that.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Saw the Fiesta Latino, but not in a Mexicanny mood these days. I've had enough for the moment. I usually hit up Rumrill when I go to market.
                      One hot cross bun will go a long way. Even home-made ones. I mean, they're good and all. But 1 is enough.

                      Cutting & 18th, eh? You go right ahead. I got some stares getting out of my truck at Snappers. I look like a Norwegian Axe Murderer and I suppose they don't get much of those in these parts. It's too bad Snappers opens so darned late. I need to eat lunch at 11, I get woozy if I wait much longer. I will wait though, I promise.