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New Fish store on 2nd street, Manchester NH

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New Fish store on 2nd street, Manchester NH

Just been open a few weeks, they say they ship in fish from Maine each morning, my friend tried it last Friday and he is huge into fish said it was maybe the best he has had in a while, they will even cook the lobsters, they also has a small and varied selection of unusual things .

Its in the old Ritz camera store right next to McDonalds, going to try it out tomorr

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  1. I drove by it yesterday after 6pm and it was closed--let us know about the selection, esp whole fish?

    1. yes, do they cut their own fish? anything other than the usual suspects?

      1. I've stopped in twice to pick up mussles because I can't get over how much better they are than from the grocery store. Also picked up some haddock on the second trip and it was the best I've gotten anywhere, hands down. They are very helpful and nice and offer great suggestions.

        1. Nice, thank you - love fresh fish. How is their selection of shell fish?

          5 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            If someone could post the name of the store and a phone number it would be appreciated. Before driving a bit off my regular path I'd like to be able to call to verify if they are open.

            1. re: Dave B

              sorry Dave, I tried calling the MacDonalds next door to get the name, but they don't pick up their phone.

              1. re: whs

                ok, it's Free Range Fish and Lobster, 885 2nd St. tel 518-5585. www.freerangefish.com Hours: Mon-Sat 10-7pm, Sun 11-6

                1. re: whs

                  Awesome - thanks! I shall put their info into my trusty Blackberry. I would prepare seafood at home more often if the choices for super-fresh product was wider. The grocery store offerings just don't look all that wonderful much of the time.

                  Can't wait to check it out.

                  1. re: whs

                    Since I have a son/d-in-law/grandson in Manchester, I sometimes see what's up with lexpatti and company; glad I did, and saw the name of the place, since it's by far our favorite place to buy high quality fish at good prices here in Portland. Way to go, Free Range!

            2. Went to Free Range Fish and Lobster tonight. Bought haddock fillets for $4.99 lb. The freshest I think I have ever had. Hope they are successful because I plan on shopping there a lot. Prices are great and SO FRESH! Supermarket two days ago had haddock $8.99 lb.

              13 Replies
              1. re: Moose Miss

                did you notice if they have any whole fish? and if so what kind?

                1. re: qianning

                  They have very little in the way of whole fish on display. I saw trout and a salmon. They did say that if their Portland store had it they could have it shipped over in the daily delivery.

                  1. re: vbm

                    thanks for the info.

                    1. re: qianning

                      qianning, I just read about Cape Ann Fresh Catch, a community-supported fishing program out of Gloucester MA. They sell whole, head-on fresh fish. Only problem: you have to head down Boston-way to get it: http://namanet.org/csf/cape-ann-fresh...

                      1. re: whs

                        thanks for the link. in fact i go to cambridge mass's courthouse fish market for most of my seafood purchases. i'd give anything for the market in manchester to be more similar....alas!

                        1. re: qianning

                          we can dream--though getting somebody in NH to eat a fish with head-on is probably unachievable...lol

                          1. re: whs

                            heck, i'd settle for dressed smelts if they were only local.....alas!

                            1. re: qianning

                              does the courthouse in e cambridge have fresh smelts for sale? ever had the fried off the menu?

                              1. re: sakeandgin

                                sometimes they have fresh smelts in the market, but not usually local, & they almost always have fried smelts available at the restaurant and in a warming tray at the market.

                                When i first went to courthouse it was a couple of years ago during the beginning of my "where are the local smelts phase", and one of the owners explained to me that local brackish water massachusetts smelts are alomost impossible to get because no-one fishes for them commercially anymore. He was so nice about the explanation, and so knowledgeable about his products that I became a total regular, even though he did not have exactly what i was looking for at the time.

                                I've never ordered the fried smelts at the restaurant....their fried flounder is so good that's what i always get at the & my DC feels the same way about the fried oysters, so not much exploring going on for us at the restaurant.

                                I have had excellent success with all of their whole fish from the market, including a wonderful flounder that we steamed last night.

                                1. re: qianning

                                  Thanks...I will stop in next time i'm through the area my daughter lives nearby. I am happy to hear about the fried oyster...any oyster raw or fried is good by me...know any great place for taiwan oyster omelette???

                                  1. re: sakeandgin

                                    oddly enough taiwan oyster omlette has never been my thing (i'm not big on eggs for some reason). the places to try would be shangri-la in belmont, taiwan cafe in chinatown, jojo taipei in allston, and mulan in cambridge, but none of them really specializes in seafood.

                                    1. re: qianning

                                      thanks for the recs....btw if your in ct fresh smelts from new brunswick ca and fresh whole fish at city fish in wethersfield just off 0f 91 south of hartford @ city fish ctfishct.com

                                    2. re: sakeandgin

                                      fyi, Formosa Taipei in Nashua has Taiwanese oyster omlette on the menu. A group I was there with ordered it, and to my surprise I really liked it, tasted better than i remeber from my years in Taichung.

                2. Hey Guys,
                  Thanks for all the positive reviews of our new store in Manchester. To answer some of the questions on here. Yes we do deliver daily from our Portland Maine store. The hours in Manchester are 10am-7pm. 7 days a week! Our number is 603-518-5585, or you can call us in Portland at 207-774-8469. We carry everything from Alligator and frogs legs to Sushi Grade Tuna and everything in between. If there is something that you are looking for and we don't have it let us know and we can have it there in a day or two. Thanks and happy holidays!

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: FreeRangeFish

                    Do you have a website? I drove by today to try go get some fish, but you had just closed. I am DYING to see what you have, and what prices.

                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                      www.freerangefish.com

                    2. re: FreeRangeFish

                      any oysters??? I'm learning to shuck myself

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        You shuck yourself? :-O

                        1. re: gryphonskeeper

                          not fast enough yet, but yes learning - brings the cost down substantially when I have a craving...... :-)

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            I was curious about the oysters too so I called. They said they always carry them and currently have Damariscotta river oysters, and often have a 2nd variety as well. Price is $1 each.

                            Lex, shucking oysters just takes some practice. Once you get through a couple of dozen you'll be a semi-pro. My method is to use a small towel on the kitchen counter top. Place the oyster on the towel with the hinge facing toward you, then fold up part of the towel to press down on the oyster with your hand, holding it in place. The towel offers some protection for your hand in case the knife slips. Get a real oyster knife and it's pretty easy, although I've used a short regular screwdriver before if no oyster knife was available.

                            After a little practice you'll quickly learn where the sweet-spot near the hinge is....gently work the tip of the knife in while wiggling it and most of the time the top shell will pop free. Occasionally you'll encounter a fussy one though. The secret is to not get all tense and use a lot of strength fighting it....with the knife tip in the right spot next to the hinge it's more a game of finesse and gentle persuasion.

                            I've shucked a few thousand oysters.....I've gone oystering in Great Bay (NH) a few times in the past and even have my own set of 16' oyster tongs. It's great to come home from an afternoon on the bay with a bushel of oysters! Years ago in the Dominican Republic I downed about 160 oysters in one sitting, although those are much smaller than our local oysters. Four dozen local oysters is about the right amount if I feel like going on an oyster binge.

                            1. re: Dave B

                              sweeeeet, had a nice fill last night but Dad and neice's beau were doing the honors............. nice wellfleet!!

                              1. re: Dave B

                                Amazing! Had the chance the past 2 years to try my hand shucking at the Wellfleet Oyster festival. My shucking skills can't quite keep up with my appetite, but I'm practicing!

                        2. re: FreeRangeFish

                          I was in the area so I stopped by this am for two pounds of fresh, heads-on Maine shrimp for tonight's appetizer. Thanks to chowhound for posting the new shop and info about the Maine shrimp season.

                          1. re: dfrostnh

                            I'll be right over!!! YUM

                          2. re: FreeRangeFish

                            Boy, reading all these posts makes me glad I live in Portland right on the water, within walking distance of the fish markets.

                          3. We had lobsters cooked there as well as steamers for Christmas Eve. The claws, my favorite part, were enormous and tender. The steamers were sweet.

                            I will definately be making this a part of my grocery routine.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChardonnayQueen

                              If you don't mind me asking, how much per pound were the lobsters? How big were the lobsters? Next time I go to KC's Rib Shack for lunch I'm going to stop by the fish store.

                            2. Went in today after reading about in NH Magazine and here. Huge disappointment. Fish was similar to that in the local grocery stores. Haddock was all slimy and the salmon was slimy and looked like it had been beaten with a hammer.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: jread23

                                Sundays are generally not a good day to buy fish, especially when the fisherman have been on holiday since Christmas.

                                1. re: whs

                                  Good point. I'll check back again some other day. Maybe they should change "delivered daily from Portland" to "delivered when possible".

                                  1. re: jread23

                                    Good morning,

                                    I'm sorry to hear that you weren't very happy with the quality of the fish at our Manchester location. We do deliver daily and in fact buy daily from the local boats. On any given day of the week we cut at our Portland facility 2500-3000 lbs of fillets. No they're not all haddock and salmon, but we do cut a fair amount and it sounds like something got goofed. My apologies, and I hope you give us another shot so we can earn your business. I spoke with the guys down there and if it's not quality fresh fish it won't be in our display for sale. I'm always available so please give me a call if you would like. 207-774-8469 ext 100

                                    Geoff Denley
                                    Owner

                                    1. re: FreeRangeFish

                                      Thanks for the reply. I will definitely head back in this week and give it another try.

                                      1. re: jread23

                                        Went in yesterday and had a much better experience the 2nd time. Everything seemed much fresher. Bought some Atlantic Salmon and Cod. Good prices and it tasted great.

                                2. re: jread23

                                  that is too bad, I was in on Thursday 31st - and loved everything I saw. I bought a beautiful piece of swordfish (cooked later that night and was fantastic) and also 1 1/2 doz oysters that were fantastic - no bleeding hands either. I can't wait to go back.

                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    Last night my husband and I enjoyed some Deep River (I think?) oysters and littlenecks...some on the half shell, some broiled casino style...some of the best and sweetest oysters I've had in a long time! My only disappointment was that my husband didn't show up there on a day when they had fresh shrimp available, we're really looking forward to that!

                                    1. re: solargarlic

                                      i'd agree, the local shell fish offering at free range is definitely strong. so far we've had oysters, mussels and maine shrimp, all excellent.

                                  2. re: jread23

                                    I had a similar disappointing experience. I bought salmon and grouper. I couldn't wait to get home to cook some up. However when I opened them they smelled strong and old. I spent $58.00 there. How can a place that is supposed to know so much about fresh seafood even consider selling something that smelled old.

                                    1. re: magnetizit

                                      i gave up on the place sometime months ago...they'd be so much better off if they would carry less inventory and turn it much faster....the final straw for me was some mussels that had a label with a harvest date that was at least two weeks previous....i didn't buy them, and i haven't been back.

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        I haven't been back either. I have been going to the guy at the candia rd traffic circle and haven't been disappointed.

                                        1. re: jread23

                                          i tromp all the way to courthouse fish market in cambridge. ridiculous, but true.

                                  3. Stopped by for first time yesterday and was delighted to find Chilean Sea Bass - my favorite. So fresh - great dinner. They have a wide variety of seafood - much of which you can't find anywhere else in our area. I'll become a regular!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: CandlepinJo

                                      Jo, sorry to be a wet blanket (and let me first that I regularly buy my fish from the Free Range store in Portland), but I'm sorry to hear that they're supplying, and you purchased, so-called "Chilean sea bass." This fish is actually Patagonian toothfish, and it is severely overfished and not sustainable. Please consider purchasing any of the great fish available from sustainable and more local sources: Chilean sea bass is just a bad environmental choice seen from any direction.

                                    2. We stopped in for the 1st time on Sunday and decided on haddock (there was so much to choose from it was hard to decide). The haddock was the BEST haddock we've ever had! We will be regulars at this place!!!

                                      1. We picked up some beautiful monkfish on Saturday. The selection otherwise was pretty average, the usual suspects like cod, haddock, salmon, tuna. No head on, and they don't carry bluefish.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: whs

                                          mmmm, I just got a great recipe for portugese fish stew that requires monkfish! one of these days..............

                                          1. re: lexpatti

                                            Jasper White has a great Portuguese fish stew that includes linguica--in the Chowders book. It's one of our standards.

                                            1. re: whs

                                              nice!! I have a very tatered recipe of Jasper's from I believe the globe for lobster/scallop chowder but can't find it in any of his books or on line. I've searched before. this would be a good weeekend for a stew or chowder - brrrrrrrrrrrr

                                        2. Fresh skate wings and smelts today!

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: whs

                                            where are the smelts from?

                                            1. re: qianning

                                              they claim the smelts are from maine...we are having some for dinner....

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                the smelts were pretty good. thanks for the tip whs.

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  Glad you liked 'em--they also had some whole red fish when we were there, but the eyes looked a little sunken, thus maybe not very fresh?

                                                  1. re: whs

                                                    i haven't been going often enough to get the rhythm of free range yet, but it definitely does seem when asked an awful lot of things "may be on today's truck", which has an arrival time that seems to vary widely.....so far i've only bought shell fish (mussels, oysters) and the smelts.....

                                                    for whole fish i'm sticking with courthouse...it isn't so convenient, but the quality can't be beat, and in truth my schedule takes me to boston at least as often as to manchester, albeit that manchester is closer...

                                                    i didn't notice any red fish when i was at free range....are you sure it was red fish not snapper? snapper would definitely not be local is my point and if it came from the south, through the wholesale markets to portland to manchester...well you see what i mean....the only local retailer before for whole snapper was saigon market manchester or nashua but usually it is pretty dubious....so i go to courthouse when i want that or really any whole fish...see above!

                                                    anyway, i'm still pleased to find someplace that is selling fresh new england smelts...the frozen ones from the great lakes are just awful.

                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                      I have been a patron of freerangefish since it opened, and have been so thrilled with the quality of their fish, shrimp and oysters. My husband and I enjoy raw oysters and have been so dissappointed in anything we've tried, other than at restaurants on the seacoast. Toby's (he's one of the owners, or perhaps the owner of the Manchester facility) got the most fabulous, sweet and fresh oysters available. He will also take the time to show customers how to properly shuck an oyster, and you can purchase the oyster knives right there ($1.99?). Just had their swordfish and jumbo shrimp cocktail again last night, have had their crab cakes and other fish many times and it's always been fresh and delicious. The lines at Christmas were crazy, but they did their best and I had given myself plenty of time to get through them. They also have a nice selection of condiments, and frozen items such as chowders, and more exotic items like frogs legs, alligator and more. They sell a few bottles of wine, some veggies and fresh bread which make for a quick and complete 1-stop-shopping meal, though of course those selections are minimal, but that's not where we want them to focus their energies anyway! They have so many varieties of fresh fish in their 40' wide cooler, if you go there with an open mind, you may be surprized at what you walk out with. One request for Toby: I would love to have recipies to pick up, nothing fancy just a b&w copy, but especially for those fish that aren't the norm. I'd be more tempted to buy something I've never tried before if I knew I could follow a tried and true recipe. Terrific job Free Range Fish! And thank you for opening!

                                                      1. re: hireland

                                                        One more request - bluefish!

                                                        Someone made a face when I asked if they would carry it.

                                                        1. re: whs

                                                          that's our summertime go to grilling fish....another reason i tromp all the way to cambridge....

                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                            Went by again yesterday. Seems to be hit or miss with the freshness of the fish. I really wanted salmon, but it looked awful again so I went with the pollock and some monkfish. Anyone know why fish stores don't remove the membrane from monkfish?

                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                              my dad lives in teh lakes region but often gets in to Boston and ALWAYS!!! stops at Courthouse. He raves about this place - I still need to get in there myself.

                                                              1. re: lexpatti

                                                                yep, you do.

                                            2. We went and checked it out...the prices were spot on, but some of this fish was hacked thin and almost shredded, I think thats where the problem may lie in the displaying of the fish...just some of it didnt look appealing to the eye. We made the trip from Merrimack, so we were going to leave with something, and did. We bought 1/2 pound of dry scallops and 3/4 lb of salmon and came to 12 bucks. Cant beat that. I did see the monkfish, which I have had in a restaurant, and not sure why it is left kind of ugly like that

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: ctroutman

                                                The display is a little ragged at the Portland location too, and too close to the ice, as fresh water isn't good for fresh ocean fish. That's why I buy from Harbor Fish - it all comes from (pretty much) the same auction, it just looks better cared-for, even though it's a dollar more.

                                                1. re: johnnydj

                                                  funny, i always got to harbor fish when i'm in portland too....they also seem to have a wider variety, don't know if that is wider sourcing or driven by clientele...

                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    Both, I think. Ben has some new connections in the past few years - down south and the Europe/Mediterranean arena. He gets sardines and polpo from Portugal, for example. Not to dump on FR - they win on price, but that's not the only reason to bu8y fish - and I've had some pretty old, iodiney fish from Harbor too just cuz the price kept going down.

                                                    1. re: johnnydj

                                                      i don't get to portland often enough to really compare....last time we were there, in february, we picked up a piece of canadian turbot at harbor, and it was excellent, and something i never see around here, even at courthouse in cambridge.

                                                  2. re: johnnydj

                                                    Portland Lobster Pound, behind Becky's Diner, only has a small selection but Roger, the owner, is a fanatic for freshness and his prices are good. If I want something other than basics like haddock, squid, mussels, lobster, live crab or scallops, I go to Harbor.

                                                    johnnydj, most of the fish may come from the same auction but that doesn't mean that it's all the same quality. I've asked Roger to get some sole and it's taken him several days because he didn't like the lack of freshness at the fish auction. He said he wouldn't buy unless it was very fresh.

                                                    1. re: hicow

                                                      True, hicow - there must be grades and their relative price point. Good to know about Roger. I've popped in there in summertime when Commercial St is too jammed with tourists and scored well every time.

                                                2. Tried the new fish market three times, scallops were so fishy and chewy.Told the fish market about the scallops and they said there scallops are frozed first.Tried two more times both times fish was old dry and very fishy.

                                                  1. They were unfortunately unable to get shad or shad roe.

                                                    1. Had been meaning to go since it opened late last fall, but never made it over, and I'm glad! That would have meant three more months of being totally hooked - no pun intended - on this place. It is exactly what Manchester and the surrounding area need! The grocery stores are weak compared to the freshness and quality Free Range delivers. I started my habit at the end of April, and have been going every Sunday since. In three visits I have bought 3 dozen oysters, 5 lbs of steamers, 3 lbs of scallops, 3 lbs of Tuna, 5 lbs of Mahi-Mahi, 1 lb of fresh caught Atlantic Salmon, 1 lb of haddock, and a pound of sword fish. As someone who has grown up fishing and spent endless hours in my own kitchen and restaurants on the coast buying and cooking seafood, I can safely say that I have a lot of experience and have seen all kinds of fish - from the best to the worst.

                                                      Free Range only delivers the very best fish and shell fish to its customers. I think a lot of people have varied and mis-aligned expectations when it comes to how fish should be. For all those concerned - a slight fishy smell is certainly Ok, and acceptable. Any time you catch a fish right out of the river or ocean, and touch it, you're hands are bound to smell a little bit like fish. Don't worry - it's natural. Scallops - even when you catch them fresh, you'll get a distinct, yet light fishy smell. This too is normal. You must experiment with different types of fish and cooking styles to achieve the ones that suit your tastes. Restaurants have a tendency to overcook everything, and over season everything to mask certain smells and natural tastes.

                                                      Keep an open mind about what you're buying at Free Range, and keep in mind, it's all fresh, wild caught. Not hormone injected and farm raised to control smells and tastes.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: RyanF

                                                        Thanks for an interesting first post on CH--would love to hear your thoughts on other local restaurants and purveyors.

                                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                          Sure. What do you recommend?

                                                          1. re: RyanF

                                                            I've posted many times on my favorite Manchester restaurants and food sources. Was curious what you like.