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Apr 21, 2011 03:33 PM

Good deals on caviar

Trader Joes used to have pike caviar but it appears they no longer do. Gelsons has domestic sturgeon that is not a bad price, but I am wondering if there are any other places, preferably Eastside. I need to buy a bunch for a party.

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  1. Sometimes Costco has caviar.

    1. You might check with one of the big downtown seafood wholesalers that also have retail outlets. They will have very good prices on caviar at times (especially if you aren't looking for specials around the New Year when everyone is looking to buy).

      American Fish & Seafood
      625 Kohler St, Los Angeles, CA

      Los Angeles Fish Co
      420 Stanford Ave, Los Angeles, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: Servorg

        Thanks, downtown might be the best option. I have purchased from Bevmo a few times before and their domestic sturgeon is usually $35 / oz +-. Which is much higher than pike and even a bit higher than Gelsons.
        My guess is Surfas is similar.

      2. costco tends to sell it only at new year's. places i've gotten it at a price i was willing to pay:
        nicole's gourmet imports

        Surfas Restaurant & Supply
        8777 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

        Nicole's Gourmet Foods
        921 Meridian Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

        Beverages & More
        7100 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        4 Replies
        1. re: chez cherie

          Surfas has flying fish roe at an excellent price. I haven't had their brand, but have had FFR itself - and it's nice. Good luck in your quest!

          1. re: happybaker

            Culinary district's shipping brings the price up significantly, but thanks, that's a good resource.

            1. re: cls

              Well, you can just go and pick it up at Surfas I believe...

              Or call a place near you and ask if they have Tobikko - flying fish roe. I've had the wasabi type on apps at Camilo's in Eagle Rock, I am sure they don't pay shipping. Are you near a good japanese market? They might have it...

              1. re: happybaker

                Nijiya Market on Sawtelle in West LA carries a rainbow of colors of flying fish eggs: fluorescent red, grassy green and jet black. They also have some salmon eggs that look very fresh.

        2. I am by no means a caviar expert, so please bear that in mind when you read this.

          There's a ton of caviar available in the little Russian shops all up and down Santa Monica Blvd between Fairfax and La Brea. Guaranteed the prices will be better than at Surfas or Gelsons.

          Perhaps someone else with more caviar experience can speak to the quality of the cavair that can be purchased here.

          I can tell you that I once bought a small $20 tin of sturgeon caviar, a loaf of black bread from Stolichnaya bakery, and some Lurpak butter. Served it with pickles and vodka. Delicious.

          Mr Taster

          1. Okay, don't laugh, but I got some caviar that was very good and cheap at Ikea of all places! Went perfect with our Norwegian waffles and gravlax we had at Christmas. Really cheap.

            I would never claim to be a caviar afficionado, but I know what my mouth likes and it was pretty good.

            12 Replies
            1. re: WildSwede

              Ikea caviar wouldn't be my first choice...
              I ended finding it at the Korean grocery store downtown 5th and Alameda. $12/6oz for paddlefish. Was pretty good.

              1. re: cls

                12 bucks for 6 oz of paddlefish? That's awfully inexpensive. Or is that 12 an oz? $72 for 6 oz?

                1. re: cls

                  Mine neither, but have you tasted it? It is actually really good.

                  1. re: WildSwede

                    Haven't tasted the Ikea caviar, but willing to try.
                    Yes $2/oz. It's paddlefish which is small, black, and firm. No complaints. Although, IMO and experience, most caviar is a scam.

                    1. re: cls

                      I'm quite shocked that my recommendation for the Little Odessa shops on Santa Monica Blvd was met with crickets

                      Really, if you're looking for caviar at a good price, why wouldn't you go to shops owned by people who perceive caviar more as a staple item rather than as an extravagant luxury?

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        It really is a great idea, the closest I've been to a russian market is Jon's. Soo I guess it is time to do some more exploring. It'd be great to find reasonable priced caviar for parties. Maybe some Russian Standard vodka too :)

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          I'm loathe to go out and start experimenting with cheap caviar shops. Then again, maybe an afternoon and buying up them, keeping them in ice and then doing a taste test might be a good idea. Right now I've been paying $78 for 4oz of paddlefish.

                          cls - was the paddlefish you tried - was black? You sure you weren't scammed?:)

                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                            sorry, black whitefish.
                            Try a taste test, in my experience, only caviar bought in person in Russia has been noticeably better than "cheap" domestics.

                            1. re: cls

                              also amend: $12 was for 3oz.

                              1. re: cls

                                Which is my apprehension to buy Russian. I'm just prejudiced! (which I get from having Russian friends who give me the these looks, and a finger wag - but that's a post-Soviet thing "you can't get anythign good without consulting me first" - comes from years of living with an underground economy I suspect.)

                                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                  There is a good book on the subject. Russian caviar is not what it seems, and hasn't been for quite a while. It's a horrible ecosystem destroying business run by thugs.
                                  Try the whitefish I bought in Little Tokyo with good accompaniments and see if you get anyone who knows the difference. Just hide the jars.

                                  Little Tokyo Restaurant
                                  150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

                            2. re: Mr Taster

                              Hum. We certainly tried to get good caviar there and maybe they have it but if everything we were ever sold was merely okay and very expensive. Mr. JudiAU did get a slightly better product by yelling in Russian one time but it was still way overpriced for the quality .(He spent a year living in Moscow).

                              Can you give very specific suggestions?