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Fish Market Help!

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lmoy Jan 23, 2008 09:09 AM

I just posted on the "What's My Craving" board, then noticed that there's a lot more traffic here so I thought I'd give it a shot both places. Here goes:

I've been cooking a lot of seafood lately, but today's article in the Times about mercury in tuna and last year's "Guide to Guilt-Free Fish" have me wondering if maybe I haven't been as conscientious as I should be about choosing seafood that is healthy, safe, and sustainable.

I've turned to Monterey Bay Aquarium's website (http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr... ) to find out more about making good seafood choices. I would like to try to follow their guide, but it requires me to know all kinds of things that the people at my fish market in Chinatown never know about the fish -- questions like,

Was this farmed in the U.S. or in another country?
What method was used to catch this fish in the wild?
Was this caught in the Mid-Atlantic or the Northeast?

I love my fishmonger, but I am willing to go elsewhere if I can find a market that has the answers to all my questions. Does anyone have a place they can recommend?

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    Ann900 RE: lmoy Jan 23, 2008 09:22 AM

    Citarella, Citarella, Citarella. Expensive, but worth it. Very knowledgeable about the origin of the fish they sell.
    Whole Food is pretty good, as well.
    That said, I doubt that any fish monger can tell you exactly where in the AStlantic the fish was caught or even what method was used to catch it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ann900
      MMRuth RE: Ann900 Jan 23, 2008 09:30 AM

      I agree about Citarella, and it is not as expensive as some others (Eli's) and I think they do a pretty good job of marking their fish in terms of the signs. But, I'm just not a fan of WF's fish - it always looks a bit tired to me - same with Dean & Deluca, at least on Madison Ave. There's a well known fishmonger called Leonard's on the UES, but I've never bought anything there.

      1. re: MMRuth
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        idia RE: MMRuth Jan 23, 2008 09:43 AM

        Citarella yes!
        Whole Foods hooked me for a customer the day I first asked where the fish came from and the counter person said not in American waters, and then I asked him if I could please smell it before he wrapped it and he said "sure." As I was smelling it he said to me, "great smell, hey?"
        And I replied, "I don't smell anything." And he winked and said, "I know. Great smell, hey?"

        Addendum: However, I must admit that I purchased that fish on Philadelphia's Main Line Whole Foods. (I don't know if that makes a difference or not)

        1. re: idia
          MMRuth RE: idia Jan 23, 2008 09:45 AM

          Which WF do you go to - Columbus Circle?

      2. re: Ann900
        Miss Needle RE: Ann900 Jan 23, 2008 09:39 AM

        I agree about Citarella's. Add Wild Edibles to your list as well.

        I hate Whole Foods for their seafood. And I don't find them very knowledgeable either.

        1. re: Miss Needle
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          Lettucepray RE: Miss Needle Jan 23, 2008 02:14 PM

          I was at Citarella's (Third Ave.) today deciding what fish to buy for dinner tonight. Standing in front of the full display at 10:30 a.m., I realized there was no smell. Really fresh fish does not smell. The best selection, the best counter help.

          Oh...I bought the cajun catfish...2 nice-sized fillets for $5.38.

      3. financialdistrictresident RE: lmoy Jan 23, 2008 03:39 PM

        Don't remember where I got it but I have an EcoFish store list. Here are some other sites that may help you to purchase (and inform you for when you are dining out & ordering) sustainable fish: chefscollaborative.org, seaweb.org, nrdc.org, net.org, asoc.org (antartic and southern ocean coalition), seafoodchoices.org (has fish supplier lists and Afishianado newsletter), www.blueocean.org (has from sea to table program). Alton Brown has taken seafood sustainability on and was on the radio discussing the issue recently. I learned from this Board that wild salmon is available at Citarella and Westerly Foods (West side/midtown).

        3 Replies
        1. re: financialdistrictresident
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          lmoy RE: financialdistrictresident Jan 24, 2008 04:58 AM

          Thanks so much for the links! I will definitely check them out. And I'm going to look for that Alton Brown interview.

          1. re: lmoy
            financialdistrictresident RE: lmoy Jan 24, 2008 05:06 AM

            The Alton Brown radio segment about fish and sustainability was on WOR 710's Food Talk show. If you go to www.WOR710.com maybe it's available as a podcast.

          2. re: financialdistrictresident
            MMRuth RE: financialdistrictresident Jan 24, 2008 05:01 AM

            I've also bought wild salmon from Garden of Eden recently.

          3. l
            lmoy RE: lmoy Jan 24, 2008 05:02 AM

            Thanks for the tips, everyone! I will definitely be trying Citarella and Wild Edibles.

            Also, it might interest some of you to know that I checked out FreshDirect yesterday and they carry a few safe and ocean-friendly varieties of fish (U.S. farmed catfish, U.S. farmed striped bass, wild salmon, and U.K. organic farmed salmon).

            1. NYCkaren RE: lmoy Jan 24, 2008 05:58 AM

              I buy a lot of fish at the Greenmarkets. I think there's a fisherman at Union Square through the winter. That's only fish that's local to this area, of course, but they are going to know exactly when and where and how it was caught.

              2 Replies
              1. re: NYCkaren
                MMRuth RE: NYCkaren Jan 24, 2008 06:17 AM

                Yes - they were there last weekend. Long lines I'm afraid have kept me from trying them, but the fish always looks beautiful and they have steamed lobsters.

                1. re: NYCkaren
                  Miss Needle RE: NYCkaren Jan 24, 2008 12:15 PM

                  Totally forgot about that one. I like that place as well. I'm sometimes a bit hesitant to buy from them during the summer, though.

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