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May 25, 2011 11:31 AM

Where to Buy Sushi Grade Fish

Does anyone know where I can find sushi grand hamachi or tuna as well as uni and quail eggs. I am in the Ft. Lauderdale area but would go some distance to get it. Thanks.

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  1. Keep in mind, "sushi grade" is not a term as to which there is any universal agreement what it means.

    Places like Whole Foods and Epicure Market (newer Sunny Isles location is closer to FTL) will often have what they describe as "sushi grade" ahi tuna.

    Japanese Market / Sushi Deli on 79th Street Causeway has (frozen) "sushi grade" tuna, salmon, and probably hamachi as well. They used to carry "super-frozen" (quickly and very low temperature, supposedly less degradation in quality) tuna, not sure if they still do.

    I would not necessarily dismiss it because it's been frozen - a lot of fish used for sushi in the US is frozen ->

    I've used their salmon for a tartare before, and following their instructions for defrosting, it was very good quality.

    There is also a seafood market in Hollywood (Triar?) that I've heard good things about and probably could have what you're looking for.

    Fresh uni will be tough to find retail. May have to go online, I've heard good things about Catalina ->

    Quail eggs should be easier to find. I've seen them in the egg case at Publix even, you probably could find at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Epicure too.

    Sushi Deli
    1412 79th Street Causeway, Miami Beach, FL 33141

    Epicure Markets
    17190 Collins Ave Sunny Isles, Bch, FL

    5 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      Thanks for those ideas. Frozen doesn't do it for me but I guess it's worth a try if that's all that's available that's decent. Looks like Cataline does have uni so thanks for that tip - a good find.I'll keep my eyes open for quail eggs too.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        > "sushi grade" is not a term as to which there is any universal agreement what it means.

        Hurray for this. Indeed. It's meaningless. Or perhaps it means "If this seems expensive, we're going to call it that so you don't mind so much".

        I've lived on or near the water my entire life, so I know fish. And I know many many times these days, I'd far prefer to have flash frozen then recently defrosted fish - over so-called "fresh fish".

        Ok, so it's never been frozen, great. But just how long do you think it's been since some fisherman hauled that fellow in from the sea out on the ocean... then came in (maybe a few days later)... then shipped it to a wholesaler (possibly by air + truck)... who then shipped it to the resto... who then may have been sitting on it for a few days.

        So I'm not at all impressed with "fresh" fish, unless I know the full story, which usually you'll never find out.

        1. re: CFByrne

          If you click through that NY Times story I put up there, you'll see it says that almost all of the fish served at sushi bars in the US has been frozen at some point in the transit process - and that's not necessarily a bad thing, as for some fish it's necessary to kill potential parasites.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            Yes - good stuff Frod. Money quote:

            "Most would be even more surprised to learn that if the sushi has not been frozen, it is illegal to serve it in the United States."

            1. re: CFByrne

              I know this departs from your original inquiry, but I'd consider crafting a sushi dinner that isn't based around tuna. For example, you can acquire many local fish that can be turned into a unique sushi feast. Yellowtail, hog snapper, mutton snapper, and even pompano can make for outstanding usuzukuri, served with some homemade ponzu and a little seven spice. This sort of meal is a delicious departure from the traditional tuna sushi platter, not to mention it's a wiser ecological decision since tuna is dangerously over-fished.

              As far as acquiring this stuff, you'll actually have an easier time and it will be far cheaper as well. Pop's Fish Market on Hillsboro in Deerfield would be my top destination, but you also have Delaware Chicken Farm in Hollywood, Fish Peddler in Pompano, and All Sea's in Coral Springs. At each of these places you can buy whole if you are crafty enough to butcher yourself, or have them filet it for you. I like to buy whole and use the odd bits (cheeks, fin meat, etc) to make a Japanese-inspired ceviche.

              Good luck!

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. This frozen fish is not as good as never frozen nonsense is a complete myth based off misconceptions. at the tsukiji market in japan where tuna gets sold to the top sushi restaurants in the world the tunas are frozen at one point or another for auctioning, then Defrosted and sliced. for places to purchase check out
            local markets like: epicure, whole foods and freshmarket will occasionally have ahi. Just use common sense to determine if its good enough quality or not. wont be gods gift to sushi, but for tartare or hand rolls it should get the job done

            1. I frequently see whole bonito in the 10-15-pound range at Foodtown, I wonder if that would be a good substitute for ahi?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Semprini

                Well who knows what someone calls "bonito" actually is.

                But, for what it's worth, when I go offshore fishing in the Keys, these are thrown back, or kept and used for bait cut up. Apparently they are super bloody and poor tasting.

                Here's an random fisherman's discussion I found on this - opinions vary:


                1. re: CFByrne

                  Same could be said of mullet or mackerel, but I happen to like the latter on the grill. One man's "trash fish" is another's treat, etc...

                  1. re: Semprini

                    I can handle mackerel/kinfish/bluefish if they are extremely fresh (with 24 hours) AND were handled perfectly (immediately bled and iced upon catching). Grilled, fried, or ideally smoked, this is passable.

                    But that's almost certainly a vastly different story from buying bonito at Foodtown and hoping to use it for sushi!

                    1. re: CFByrne

                      Point taken, and my experience with bonito is pretty minimal. I take it you wouldn't recommend a ceviche with Foodtown milkfish either? ;)

                      1. re: CFByrne

                        First off as an old surfrat from up north bluefish in the 1.5 to 2.5 range are sweet as sugar. It's the larger blues that have been feeding off bunker that have an aweful taste. Fresh is always key. Mackeral when super fresh is great but try and find it in Florida.

                        Yellowtail super fresh $4 lb whole out of a 110 gal ice chest,Presidente supermarket and they filet it and give you back the bones and head to make stock!