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Best Smoked Salmon

Thought I'd start this thread since I didn't seem to see any current ones dedicated to just smoked salmon. And at least in my house, seems to be one of the staples we have around holidays.

I had mentioned that one of my faves is the smoked salmon from Chapman's (newly re-located at 1875 Leslie Street, Unit #3--York Mills & Leslie). It's not cheap as I said I recently bought 10 smallish slices for about $15, but to me it has a rich, layered smoky flavour. And I find the actual smoked salmon is very delicate and melts in your mouth. I also love that they slice it thinly. It's the best one in the city I've found so far that's to my liking.

I used to purchase Pusateri's house-made brand of smoked salmon--crusted with fresh herbs and lemon zest, but I found the quality went down tremendously over the years. And I also am not a fan of the way they cut it--too thick for my liking.

Would love to hear others' faves now so we can give them a try....

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  1. You definitely can't go wrong with the smoked salmon from Kristapson's. Lucious and full of flavour, and they've got a couple of locations.

    http://kristapsons.com/

    -----
    Kristapsons
    1095 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

    Kristapsons On Yonge St
    3248 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: yoyodyne

      Love Kristapsons. They also sell delicious whole smoked trout for $5/each. They don't smoke the trout, but get them from native or Metis fishermen in the Georgian Bay area, I believe.

    2. Kristapsons, all the way. I have been able to enjoy any other kind of smoked salmon since having Kristapsons'. Their fish literally melts in your mouth...

      1. Yes, Kristapsons is lovely.

        Chapman's was the last place I know of in Toronto to employ a professional lox slicer who sliced to order, but he has (sadly) retired or died.

        Really, though, the PC "Bay of Fundy" smoked salmon from Loblaws and many of the cold smoked products from Central Epicure are very good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: embee

          I like the PC one too. Costco and Sams carry a well priced smoked salmon, I think it's norwegian and supposidly won an award..

          I find it a bit oily though. Still yummy.

        2. Whilst I agree Kristapsons' version is fairly tasty, however I find them to be a touch too dry and less oily for my liking. Personally, I find the smoked salmon at either Domenic's, Seafront or Mikes inside St Lawrence market has better texture and more oily. Taste wise they are very comparable to Kristapson's. I guess I would like to compare the 'best' of the 'St. Lawrence three' to the likes of Zabars or Russ and Daughter of New York

          7 Replies
          1. re: Charles Yu

            Oh, Russ and Daughters is the BEST.

            I'm generally a Kristapsons girl, though it really makes a difference if you buy it directly from them (uptown Yonge or Queen East) as opposed to one of the many gourmet shop outposts. If you're feeding a crowd, you can buy a side from them and it's great. When you get it fresh, it has an oilier melt in your mouth consistency. BUT if you get it when it's not quite right (and even directly from them, I've had this experience), I agree with Charles that it can be too dry.

            I like some of the ones they sell at Mike's (though I still wouldn't confer Russ and Daughter status on them). I've also had good, but inconsistent, experiences with the Stadtlander smoked salmon that you get at Pusateri's, All the Best, etc.

            1. re: Charles Yu

              There used to be a gourmet store on Balmoral near Mt. Pleasant (7 or 8 years ago) that had some interesting in-house flavours. One used a curry dry rub. It was really delicious. I generally consider Kristapsons to be the be-all-end-all, but Chapmans' is also very good. The PC products would be fine, but they often seem to suffer from too much temperature variation in the freezers and in the trucks, because I've had many that are crusty around the edges of each slice, or have waterlogged spots.

              1. re: Charles Yu

                How does Kristapsons compare to Milbree-Viking? We tried the M-V smoked salmon and didn't find it had much smoky flavour. I seem to recall enjoying more smoky salmon while dining on the BC coast.

                1. re: mobirose

                  Does Viking even have cold smoked salmon? The smoked salmon I've had from there has always been hot smoked.

                  1. re: embee

                    They have about 2 or 3 different flavors of hot-smoked salmon, but they definitely have cold-smoked salmon!
                    It's usually on the top shelf in the refrigerated glass section right by the cash. They have them already sliced in about 200g packs. If you request, they'll go and cut you un-sliced sections or slice you bigger servings.
                    I find Milbree's salmon, the fattiest smoked salmon out of all the ones I've had.

                    1. re: sumashi

                      Yup, I've bought the cold smoked several times from Milbree and love it. Haven't had Kristapsons, though, so can't compare.

                2. re: Charles Yu

                  The Kristapson's salmon is West Coast, and thus inherently dryer. I wouldn't confer Russ & Daughter's status on anyplace in Toronto.

                3. I love Kristapson's, and especially love the "bits and pieces" they sell. Half the price, and it's the scraps off the bones, way more flavourful and rich IMO. Obviously not good presentation-wise for company, but when it's just the family, can't be beat.

                  1. Kristapsons is highly overrated in my opinion and pricey for the product they they produce, BC salmon. I drove there recently on a recommendation and must admit my utter dissappointment. My wife concurred and paid me the biggest compliment by telling me that i put out a better product. At $58 a Kilo, that just darned expensive.

                    I can order smoked salmon of the highest quality (Atlantic), custom smoked and delivered to my door within 2 days via FEDEX and come inside of that price.

                    The best smoked salmon I have ever had is from J Willy Krauch in Tangiers, Nova Scotia. Danish Style, which from what i understand is a simple salt cure for one day then lightly smoked for a day, packaged and on its way by overnight FEDEX

                    . Its simply one of those cases of once you have had some J Willy, well you just can't go back. :) We have it normally twice a year (Easter & Christmas), unsliced and the texture and smoke flavour is quite wonderful and the fish simply melts on the tongue. At something like $38 a kilo its almost half price. Its more than worth the money and I have been ordering since 2002.

                    A more balanced review can be found at teh link below.

                    http://www.alacuisine.org/alacuisine/...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Grazor

                      The alacuisine website is the place I thank for introducing me to Milbree-Viking!
                      I never thought about ordering from Krauch's before. The website link given on alacuisine isn't there anymore. I wonder if they would mail all the way to BC...

                      1. re: sumashi

                        Sumashi, I order and send as Christmas gifts each year as a thank you to some of my clients that are foodies and that has included folks in Regina, in California, Toronto, Montreal and New York, so i dont see BC as a problem. i would highly recommend that you try it. I suspect that you will be pleased.

                        1. re: Grazor

                          Researched around and there's no real website other than this:

                          http://www.tasteofnovascotia.com/rest...

                          So I emailed for a price list. Here it is for anybody interested!
                          I also asked about shipping. I would ship to Ontario and BC, so the quotes I were given were that 1kg shipped to Ontario would be approx. $36+tax, whereas 5kg would be $65+tax. Shipping to BC would cost an extra $7 to $10.

                          According to this, 1kg to Toronto would cost me well over $75, I think......
                          How did you manage to get under $53/kg??
                          :) You must be getting a very special customer rate!

                    2. Also on Saturday I went to Bayland Seafood at Burnhamthorpe and Dixe on the South East corner in the Eastern European mall there. It seems that the portugese couple that had owned Bayland for probably 30 years retired and sold the business to a couple of folks that used to be at Mike's Fish on Vansco in Etboicoke.

                      Got chatting to one of the proprietors Angelo and the subject of lox came up. We started sharing approaches whereupon he went out back and came back with a huge tray with a side of lox on it. he proceeded to slice a few pieces for myself and my friend. He said he had cured it with vodka and it was dressed with lemon zest cracked blacked pepper and dill. It was quite delicious and I would certainly purchase it; but let me underscore that this is lox that has been cured in the fridge rather than anything that has been smoked.

                      Its now called Waterfront Seafood Market and the quality is still extremely high and the new owners obviously know and care about quality seafood.

                      1. Over the holidays, finally got to try Kristapons and now see why everyone's such a fan. I loved it. At first glance, I thought I wasn't going to like since it looked as if it was sliced a little too thick for my tastes, but it's just so tender and delicate that it kind of melts in your mouth. So that wasn't an issue. I also enjoyed the slightly smoked flavour, not too over-powering. Overall, I think I'm now a convert to Kristapons!

                        Thanks all for the suggestions.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Raquel

                          I had tried Kristapson' a few years ago, but didn't think it was anything special and felt it was overpriced. (around $30/lb back then)
                          On Christmas eve, I drove by the store on my way to buy lobster so I stopped in. When I found out it was $58/kg I was thinking that was high and I only needed 1/2 kilo, but figured it would take me at least 30 minutes extra to drive to SLM and back so I picked up a kg. I served it on Christmas day and a few days later, not telling any guests where it was from. Everyone loved it and commented on how good it was. My wife and I also enjoyed it, and it seemed better than what I remember 2 years back.

                        2. Add me to the Kristapson's fan club...bought some recently and it was wonderful...like butter...melts in your moputh with a beautiful oily, fleshy texture. Outstanding stuff. You don't stay in bsuiness this long by making crap

                          1. Kris's is good, but not great....

                            I am surprised no one has mentioned this, perhaps its just such a great kept secret?

                            Go to City Fish, ask for Gus (the owner) tell him Justin sent you, and then ask for some Vodka Smoked Salmon.

                            For $15/lb, it is the greatest smoked salmon you will ever have.