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Fish King (Glendale) - What do you buy there v2012

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Whenever there's a post asking for a fishmonger in the Burbank/SFV area, Fish King is a name that commonly comes up.

I've frequently recommended that place, because the selection is pretty good and wide but the prices are decently high. I've only recently REALLY started going to Fish King, and I wanted to know what everybody buys there?

Here's my experiences.

Galley:
- They'll fry up anything they have in the market (apparently?). They had soft shell crabs for 5.99/ea. We had a bunch of these fried up and they were delicious - changed my opinion on soft shelled crabs entirely.
- sashimi is at market rate. They'll slice it up for you for free. This works out to ~11/half pound, which equals 6-10 slices of fish. A pretty good deal but a small variety.
- halibut crunch sandwich was pretty good, but not $9 good

Market:
- The poke here is not good - they premake it and it sits there for who knows how long. The poke materials really break down the fish and the texture becomes way off.
- Stuff is EXPENSIVE. The shrimp here were $14.99/pound, +$2/pound charge for cleaning. In comparison, I got U-15 shrimp from Costco for $10.99/pound, cleaned.
- 1 pound of lump crab meat in a can (chicken of the sea brand) was ~$34. the same brand, same size at costco was $16
- sashimi grade fish was priced pretty good - $26 or so for ahi, $18 for albacore (great deal/taste), $22 for farmed salmon, and $25 for scallop
- oysters were unbelievably expensive. $1.50 - $1.80 each, add an additional $.50 each for opening if you want to eat there

I think I'll stick to the specials @ the galley + sashimi grade fish.

soooooo what do you guys usually get here?

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  1. I have purchased the following recently:
    .
    Bag of frozen crawfish tail meat, fresh halibut, king salmon, and ono filets

    1. i'm not sure comparing an independent retail outlet pricewise to costco is completely fair. kudos if you prefer the quality of the fish at costco.
      i have never found fish king to be overly expensive for what you get. compared to, say, 99 ranch or von's or (insert supermarket here), yes, it costs more, but i think the quailty at fish king is much, much higher.

      i have never bought fish from costco, so that may be the better deal. i feel like with fish king, i have a better idea of where the fish comes from, however.
      and the service is outstanding.

      i wish they had a broader selection, though.

      i've bought sturgeon, snapper, whitefish, cod, whole snapper, whole branzino there.

      15 Replies
      1. re: linus

        "i'm not sure comparing an independent retail outlet pricewise to costco is completely fair."

        It's not fair at all, but in these economic times I'll gladly save $7/pound on shrimp. They were great btw; to others reading, if the seafood road show comes to a costco near you those U-15 shrimp are AWESOME.

        For reference, Fish King shrimp prices a/o 8/12/12

        #1 graded mexican jump shrimp 19.95/pound, cleaning charge .50/lb with tail on .75/lb
        #1 graded large shrimp unknown source, 14.95/pound, cleaning charge 2.50/lb, tail on 3.50/lb
        #1 graded medium size shrimp unknown source, 8.95/pound, cleaning charge 4.00/lb, NO tail on cleaning
        Cleaned large shrimp, $13.95/pound

        1. re: ns1

          costco price savings duly noted.
          however, for the tsouris of having to go there and deal with the parking lot, crowds and lines, i will arbitrarily add back the seven dollars a pound.

          1. re: linus

            protip: weekdays before 6pm = in and out in less than 30 minutes. Rule does not apply to Alhambra Costco.

            I don't want to seem like I'm anti fish king or anything, because I plan to go to the galley regularly. I'm just curious what other posters feel are worth the price (and evidently the shrimp are worth the price to you).

            they also had some santa barbara prawns (or was it shrimp, i don't remember) fresh (not live) for $12.99/pound which I thought was a great price. Just didn't know what to do with the product.

            1. re: ns1

              Santa Barbara prawn is one of the best things in the ocean. Steam it whole, or boil it, or sashimi it (safer if it's live prawn). Providence has a great prep of this dish:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TuIcw...

              1. re: ns1

                i should clarify: i have never bought shrimp from fish king. i've had nothing but good luck with the fin fish there.
                also, thanks for the tip re: costco. you are very blessed. i go to the costco at burbank and victory, and i'm pretty sure the traffic light there is at least thirty minutes.

                but, since you did give me a tip, i'll give you one: mccall's in los feliz has excellent fish. however, you should not go in there without a nitroglycerin capsule under your tongue for when you see the prices.

                1. re: linus

                  Burbank/Victory is my home costco and I did that shrimp purchase trip in <30 minutes on a Friday at 6pm (while driving home from Fish King no less). Tank up on gas while I'm at it. I'm a glutton for punishment.

                  re: McCalls

                  By chance do you know what their sashimi grade fish prices are? They were on my list but I haven't had a chance to check em out yet. If it's $30+/lb pardon me while I LOL to the bank.

                  1. re: ns1

                    to make it in and out of that costco in that time, you are, obviously, dr. who.

                    i can't recall the sashimi grade fish prices at mccall's. i am sure they are not cheap.
                    i know times are tough, but there are other reasons besides price to buy fish there: locally owned and operated, quality of the fish, provenance of the fish, sustainability of the fish.
                    i have bought branzino, snapper and skate there. probably some other fins, too.

                    here's their twitter feed so you can see what they are currently carrying, as it varies from day to day:
                    http://twitter.com/mccallsmandf

                    1. re: linus

                      I often have good luck at that Costco. Last Wednesday evening, I stopped in around 7:15 to get a few bottles of wine. I was pretty direct in my shopping endeavors (i.e., no random browsing) and was at the gas pump 20 minutes later.

                      I even go there on a weekend afternoon (say, after 4:00) and usually get my shopping (including aisle browsing) in well under 90 minutes.

                      1. re: Jack Flash

                        maybe i attract bad luck.
                        from the unusually long traffic light at burbank and victory, to the insanity that is the parking lot, to the massive crowds in the aisles, all of them with no compunction about blocking aisles in their desire for free samples, to the criminally understaffed checkout lines, it always takes me approximately, i don't know, forever to get in and out of there.
                        and then there's the 20 minute wait in the gas line to save a few dollars on a tank...

                    2. re: ns1

                      varies on the fish, but nothing is higher than $22/lb. i think albacore was $13/lb.

                      a pound of sashimi is a lot of fish...and this is coming from a 220lb guy. it took me 6 months to get used to finishing half a pound of sashimi.

                      1. re: miteymike

                        I can eat a full pound of sashimi without thinking about it. It's like 16-20 slices. I'm only 145 btw ;)

                        sashimi grade albacore for 13/lb!??!!? it was 18.5/pound @ Fish King!

                        1. re: ns1

                          I don't think miteymike has the pricing right. McCall's has always been a little more expensive than Fish King whenever I've compared the two. They get a great product but their case devoted to fish/seafood is small and they are pretty expensive. I

                          1. re: bg90027

                            thanks, this is what I figured from the pictures/neighborhood.

                            1. re: ns1

                              certainly mccall's is more expensive than fish king. very little there fishwise is UNDER 22 bucks a pound.
                              then again, the fish is high quality and it's always pretty relaxed shopping in there. and they have skate. and fresh sardines in season.
                              they do tend to run out of stuff occasionally.

                              1. re: linus

                                Fish King is fine for what it is, and I end up there a lot, but the fish from McCall's - and even from random Mitsuwas - is consistently better.

          2. I love Fish King. Everything from the Sushi to lox, to shrimps, to stuffed lobster tail when available... to so many different peaces of fish i can't even list. Everything has been very fresh. I can taste the difference when the SO tries to serve me a piece of fish from whole foods because it's closer... yeah, no thanks. my first question is always, 'is this from fish king'? and the answer better be YES!
            I also love their soups. Fried fish is good... Codfish is way better than the Halibut and cheaper.
            I've had a couple of funky oysters there so I don't get those anymore.

            1. I shop here a couple of times a week and love getting the fresh wild fish - salmon, halibut, petrale sole etc. It's always incredibly fresh and well worth it. Sushi for lunch, smoked fish, once in a while whole fish (smaller one to feed two when grilled or baked). I buy shrimp - cooked both cooked and uncooked, small portions of cooked dungeness to add to a salad etc. I love Fish King.

              1. $1.50 to $1.80 is expensive for oysters? Other than the aquafarm vendors at the farmer's market, I can't think of any place much cheaper. What do you consider a reasonable price for oysters and where do you find them cheaper?

                I've never bought anything from the galley. I always buy fresh wild fish to cook at home -- black cod, sea bass, swordfish, salmon, sturgeon, etc. I've also bought prepared soups, ceviches and sauces, and the frozen crawfish tails.

                7 Replies
                1. re: bg90027

                  I would consider 18 bucks for a dozen shucked oysters cheap.

                  @FK, Fannie Bay's were 1.79/ea shucked, Bluepoints were 2.00/ea shucked. At these prices I can go to any number of restaurants in LA and at least have some beer with my oysters.

                  I dunno, any 'hounds got a rec for a dozen oysters shucked for 18 bucks? Delphine's on Monday's is pretty hard to beat - $2 for west coast, $1 for east coast.

                  1. re: ns1

                    So you are going to compare their shrimp prices with costco and their oyster prices with a bar/restaurant's one day per week speical pricing, and then call them super expensive when they don't meet those prices?

                    I often buy one or two dozen oysters from a Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Hollywood Farmer's Market for $10/dozen. They are better than Fish King's and cheaper. That doesn't do me any good though if I want oysters on any day other than Sunday though. So what if you want oysters on a day other than Sunday or Monday?

                    It's fine if you are a good bargain hunter and don't think Fish King's quality warrants the higher price. That doesn't make them expensive though. I don't see any evidence that they are above average in price when factoring in quality. I think the average price I see in restaurants for shucked oysters is in the $2-3/oyster.

                    1. re: bg90027

                      "I often buy one or two dozen oysters from a Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Hollywood Farmer's Market for $10/dozen. They are better than Fish King's and cheaper. "

                      This is exactly what I'm talking about. A dozen oysters @ Fish King is $24. I'll wait until next Sunday and get 2 dozen from Carlsbad Aquafarm.

                      Clearly I am not as ballin' of a hound as the rest of you.

                      1. re: ns1

                        In fairness though, they are $10/dozen unshucked. You are also buying directly from the Aquafarm so the pricing should be cheaper. I also often prefer the fish that I get at the Hollywood Farmer's Market. I still need to find things to cook the other 6 days of the week though and am happy to shop some at Fish King on those days.

                        1. re: bg90027

                          What's the shucked price on those? I see guys eating right by the booth all the time.

                          Buying an oyster shucker on amazon right now. Guess I'll start learning.

                          1. re: ns1

                            I don't know. I know that there is a surcharge and would assume it's similar to Fish King's but don't know exactly what it is. I've never had them shuck them.

                            1. re: bg90027

                              thanks, I'll be there this Sunday to find out and report back :D