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Sushi grade tuna?

I'm looking for "good" sushi grade tuna near the PG County-Anne Arrundel County area. Willing to drive a little out of the way. Would prefer fresh vs. frozen sushi grade tuna. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Whole Food and the better Harris Teeters seem to always be claiming theirs is wild-caught "sushi-grade". but I don't think there's any real legal standard for this label. ya gotta poke and sniff.

    14 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      Used to work for Harris Teeter. Definately NOT the place to purchase "good" seafood. Will check out Whole Foods. Does anyone have any knowledge of Frank's Seafood in Jessup?

      1. re: Phoebe

        I was always suspicious of HT's claims and never did any sort of sushi/sashimi/ceviche with their product. although the Chincoteague oysters I liked just fine.

        1. re: Phoebe

          +1 I have bought tons of great sashimi-quality tuna at Whole Foods but my local HT usually lets me down with tuna which is often cut into very small filets and often an odd brown/gray color.

        2. re: hill food

          All tuna are "wild-caught". There is no such thing as a farm-raised tuna. Further, I don't believe the USDA has a "sushi" grading for fish.

          You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.--Groucho Marx

          1. re: flavrmeistr

            yeah my reservations were concerning the term "sushi-grade"

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              There is farm-raised tuna coming from the Meditterranean around Bosnia but it goes to the Japanese market...too pricey for here

                  1. re: fishymd

                    Well, I'll be! Interesting article. I guess I'm one of those fishermen that would be annoyed to see fish in cages. It'd be great it they fattened up to 300 lbs. and turned them loose, though.

                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      I was in the seafood business for 15 yrs or so and my thought to the issues along the US coast---in the 80's they put a penny/lb tax on seafood for marketing...they should now put a 5 cent a lb tax on it and use the money to pay labs at different locations along the coast to constantly release juvenile fish into the wild(by the millions and all fished varieties including bait fish) at the same time put a catch moratorium on for a minimum of 3 yrs to try to completely rebuild the stocks.

                      1. re: fishymd

                        I fished commercially out of Ft. Pierce and Stuart, FL in the seventies and eighties. There were five packing houses in Port Salerno back then. There's only one left in operation. Gill netting in the Indian River and near the inlets virtually wiped out the fish stocks, especially billfish. When they banned gill netting, the fish started coming back within about five years. The fishing is improving these days, but I doubt people alive today will ever see a 2,000 lb. blue marlin or a 1000 lb. bluefin tuna.

              1. re: flavrmeistr

                Concerning farmed tuna, that certainly isn't so.
                I do agree on the lack of regulation for terms like sushi grade

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  "With Google Earth, we could examine 91% of the Mediterranean coast and count 248 tuna cages"

                  Source- http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3...

                  1. re: fishymd

                    on Google Earth there is some HUGE enclosure off Spain I've noticed in years past (Costa Brava maybe? - near Barcelona) and all I can think is fish farm.

            2. I would try one of the two Wegmans - and I wouldn't get caught up in the fresh/frozen distinction. Most "fresh" tuna particularly sushi grade has been frozen previously - probably on-ship to preserve its quality.

              5 Replies
              1. re: drewpbalzac

                I would go a step further and say that essentially all "raw " tuna purchased in the U.S is previously frozen.

                As far as sushi goes, tuna is required to have been frozen by law.

                Now, all frozen or previously forzen tuna is not created equal.

                1. re: gusshane

                  In fact, all "sushi-grade" tuna in the US is frozen. It is necessary to kill parasites.

                  1. re: gusshane

                    Not on Long Island! Such a treat to have fresh tuna at any bar or grill on the East End, the difference is night and day; a lot of it is sold by the fishermen through the back door though, not from a chain supermarket. Sushi grade, if they do catch some, it all goes to Japan, or so I hear.

                  2. re: drewpbalzac

                    +1 I also buy sashimi-grade tuna from Wegman's (my usual stores depending on my other errands on the list are Whole Foods, Wegman's and H Mart) and it's always great.

                    1. re: drewpbalzac

                      If anyone has ever been to Tsukiji market in Tokyo, they could tell you that the tuna has been flash frozen at sea. You are correct in saying the distinction between fresh and frozen is overblown.

                    2. I am not sure what your H-Mart options up that way are, but I would see if I could find one or at least a solid Korean or Japanese market.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tommyskitchen

                        I had the same thoughts. I know I could make such an order at the Korean run sushi place inside the Lottes market near me.

                      2. http://www.aircrabusa.com/

                        Annapolis Seafood Market in Annapolis and Severna Park carry frozen wild caught tuna that is very good. I usually keep a package on hand.

                        1. The only place I buy fish in the area is River Falls Seafood in Potomac (I am not affiliated in any way). They are pricey, but if you go at the right times you can buy it right after it is delivered and being cut. I've seen - and unfortunately smelled - the fish at HT, WF, Wegman's, and there is no comparison.

                          I've heard there are a couple of good shops in DC, but the parking has always deterred me.

                          If you go to RF, around 1-2pm seems to be a good time for freshness and variety. Too early, you get the previous day's shipment. No shipment on Sunday. Do not go Monday morning. They always seem to have tuna, and indeed make their own sushi.

                          1. I'm the OP...Just a little more info on my thinking or request. I live at the beach in NC and have the opportunity to eat "fresh" NEVER frozen tuna from one of the local purveyors. He can get frozen anytime, but just doesn't carry it. If the boats can't go out...no tuna.

                            I've done extensive reading on the debate as far as "fresh" vs "frozen" sushi grade tuna. I have no problem eating frozen, but after being spoiled... I prefer "fresh" anything.

                            I worked for Harris Teeter for over 5 years and became well aware of what fish products they sold...and their origin. Most of it was (and still is) imported. What was puzzling to me is that there was an abundance of "fresh" everything at the Outer Banks, yet that wasn't what was sold. They chose to supply their 3 stores (there) with mostly frozen seafood. Was at the new Wegman's in Crofton last trip up and had to laugh that they were charging $25.99 a lb for tuna. I don't think I've paid more than $12.99 a lb for "straight-off the boat" tuna back home.

                            I'm in MD now and wanted "fresh" tuna if possible. I know of many Asian markets in the area, but REALLY question their origin. Chowhounders are a great source of info....that's why I posted here. Thanks for any input.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Phoebe

                              Even "fresh off the boat" tuna has been frozen. The moment it's pulled from the water it's put on ice.

                              Freezing the tuna kills certain parasites which would otherwise make you very sick if served raw. Cooked, it would be fine, but all sushi tuna must be frozen.

                              1. re: DanielK

                                Last week, I had a long conversation with my fish monger. While the tuna he gets has been placed on ice...it has NOT been completely frozen. He went into great detail what is expected by NC standards. A lot depends on the source, and the size of his store. He CAN legally sell not fully frozen fish. I am an avid fisher. Have eaten raw straight "out-of-the-ocean" tuna for 25+ years. Have NEVER become ill. Tuna is the only fish I would ever do this with. (Won't even eat local "fresh" oysters with out some type of heating, grilling, or steaming any longer)

                                1. re: Phoebe

                                  Unfortunately, you wouldn't get "sick" from eating that tuna, you would and probably have ingested parasites that are now living in your large and small intestines. In some cases, these parasites are in the form of worms, and after years of living undetected in your intestines, finally multiply and grow in such magnitude that you finally become very ill, this is, of course after drastic weight loss, and some people eventually die. The treatment for ridding the body of these parasites is quite toxic, and some die from treatment. Another unfortunate thing about these parasites once you've fallen ill, is that many physicians misdiagnose. So please use caution. While almost all tuna and other deep water fish carry parasites in their muscle tissue, not all will lead to such a situation, but one should not be ignorant to the possibilities of what one is ingesting. The reason why many use the frozen fish is because when it is frozen below 0 degrees for a certain amount of time, this ensures parasite destruction and therefore, safe to eat raw.

                                  1. re: shechef18

                                    From what I understand, swordfish is the one to look out for as far as parasites. Tuna, not so much. My fish supplier told me the one fish he refuses to eat is swordfish.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      freshwater fish and reef fish, though swordfish and amberjack can get "spaghetti worms" that can be 25' long in the flesh of the fish

                              2. re: Phoebe

                                I vacation quite frequently in Duck. It always amazed me that the fish at the majority of the vendors sucked, especially Harris Teeter, but also at many of the dedicated fish markets. The fish at River Falls Seafood is far better than most of those places (probably not the ones where you can buy it straight off the boat).

                                I mentioned this to one of the people at RF, and he said some of their fish comes from the Outer Banks. Because the prices are so high in the DC area, it is better for them to ship it here and other high-priced areas rather than sell it locally in NC. I found it ironic that I was looking forward to buying great fish while in Duck but I was already buying it here.

                                1. re: ttochow

                                  Go to Collington Harbor just south and west of the turn off for Duck. The seafood market there is cheaper and fresher than what you get in Duck, but may not have the big selection you get at the Duck seafood market

                                2. re: Phoebe

                                  You pay half the price for "right off the boat" seafood when it is "right off the boat" because it is in fact "right off the boat."

                                  When you buy seafood in DC it has been stored - shipped - stored - handled - sold. . . . All of those steps involve added costs that you have to pay for as the end consumer.

                                  Given that for Washingtonians it is cheaper to buy it at the store than driving to the outer banks to a rented (or owned) beach property it is a bargain.

                                3. Wegmans has a good seafood department; the prices range from decent to outrageous .Whole Foods has beautiful seafood, but their prices are generally outrageous.

                                  Harris-Teeter (our regular supermarket, we go to a nice one in Chantilly VA) does run some very good specials on seafood, including tuna. I wouldn't rule it out completely, but you have to go and see what they have on a particular day. My problem with H-T is the selection, not the quality.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Bob W

                                    You should also be concerned with the quality...especially when it comes to seafood. As I stated earlier, I used to work for HT's. I KNOW first hand not only where it comes from, but how it is handled...which is equally important. This is why I don't buy it there.

                                    Also, I was just at Wegman's in Crofton and they had the same $25.99 tuna for sale. The 2 countries of origin listed were as Tobago and Trinidad. For that price? I passed it up...once again. I don't buy foreign imports.

                                    1. re: Bob W

                                      The fish monger I was speaking of earlier is Carawan Seafood. Right as you come over the bridge in Kitty Hawk. I've been buying seafood from Bob for about 28 years and have only had to return something twice in all that time. Pretty good, I say!

                                      Don't even let me get in to the subject of where most restaurants at the OBX get there fish from. I know. I used to be a cook at 3 different restaurants at the beach.

                                      1. re: Phoebe

                                        Thanks for the tip! I will definitely look him up the next time I am there. I guess being near the ocean in Duck makes me want a lot of fish, and I get tired of eating over-seasoned, over-sauced, and nearly always overcooked fish at restaurants. It will be nice to have some good simple home cooked fish while I'm there.

                                        1. re: Phoebe

                                          When you're a local fishmonger, you catch what you can and you know your clientele well enough to know how much you can sell. If you're a grocery store in a chain, the business isn't so consistent and if they didn't use frozen stock, sometimes they'd run out, other times they'd have some not so fresh fish to get rid of.

                                          You're lucky to have a local vendor that you can trust and who sells what you want. Here in the Big City we have to temper our desires a bit. You can get good locally grown produce here, and good locally raised meats but you don't find them in the chain grocery stores. I'm not a fisherman but I don't think we have any local tuna. But we have crabs, and that's something that you can get "off the boat" in season.

                                      2. The Fishery on upper Connecticut Ave in Chevy Chase offers excellent quality and variety. Very helpful. next to Circle Liquor, across from American Diner. They packed 4 lbs mussels in ice for me, I drove down near Raleigh and every mussel was delicious. no throw always!

                                        1. Annapolis Seafood Market in Severna Park

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ninabasu

                                            Is this really the good (non CO) tuna?? Would love to know - planning to move to the area soon and compiling my list of purveyors. Thank you.

                                          2. Beware...the really red looking frozen"sushi grade" tuna is frequently tuna that has been flushed with carbon monoxide to get that great color...buy fresh only if this concerns you.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: fishymd

                                              Also beware of bright pink which is the color of the carbon-monoxide treated tuna at my local H Mart.

                                            2. BTW when you freeze tuna...it turns brown if its not flushed with some gas.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: fishymd

                                                sorry, or unless its flash frozen

                                              2. Try Fank's at the wholesale fish market in Jessup. Very higfh quality.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jfish

                                                  Thanks for the rec on Frank's. Have wanted to go there for years, but never have. I'll make it a point to...next trip up to MD and report back.

                                                2. I saw some sushi grade tuna at Wagshal's in Tenleytown. I didn't try it, so I can't tell you about the quality.

                                                  1. Google Salt River Lobster they come to farmers markets in dc and baltimore best seafood in the area. It probably wont be bearly as good as fresh off the boat but on a good day it is quite good. It should be sushi grade.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: bagnacauda3

                                                      B3... Went to SRL's site. Prices are in line with what's being sold in my area (fresh). I see that he sources his lobsters from Maine, but no mention of the origin of the other shellfish and seafood sold. Is it fresh/local like what's sold down on Maine Ave in DC? Would be interested in hearing more about the quality of their seafood.

                                                      1. re: Phoebe

                                                        As for lobsters, try and keep an eye out on the prices at the Shoprite grocery stores that are now popping up around Baltimore and DC...they source their lobsters in from NJ to Canada, bur often run ads for lobsters in the $5.99 lb range or even less.

                                                        1. re: Phoebe

                                                          There are very few things that are local when it comes to seafood around here. The only things commercially caught in the area are striped bass, eels, wild catfish,scallops and a few lobsters(very few) off of ocean city, More varieties are caught off of NC, mostly smaller whole fish like butterfish, whiting, spot, croaker, and snapper. There are also a number of farms on the eastern shore that raise clams and oysters, but thats about it, ...oh and crabs of course

                                                      2. Sushi grade tuna has been flash frozen which kills the bacteria making it safe to eat raw. If done properly, this still has the melt in your mouth texture that we all love. Unless you get fresh that you caught, I don't know that I would want to eat it without the special flash freezing process. I'm still hunting for it too. While the DC fish market is fun, I do question where all the fish is from and how fresh, it's a still good enough for eating but I would be careful eating it raw.

                                                        I hope you find what you want, I'm still hunting too!

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: pleehk97

                                                          Even if you caught it yourself it could/would have parasites

                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                            I've caught them for years in the Outer Banks and the very first fish we catch immediately gets cut on the boat and turned into sushi...I don't think that tuna has a high propensity for parasite infestation as with other fish like amberjack, snapper, or some fish that are brackish, freshwater, or reef fishes. They are all handled the same way(flash frozen) though for the sushi market- to preserve color, taste, and texture...Amberjack being the worst that I've seen...pulled a 25 ft. spaghetti worm out of the flesh of a 45 lb fish one morning. The other fish that tend to be bad are those in the cod family, almost always had small nematodes in the flesh, they are just a little harder to see.

                                                            1. re: fishymd

                                                              Around here on Long Island, I'm told the worst is swordfish. I've started avoiding it like the plague.

                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                Swordfish is overrated anyway...to my tastebuds it tastes like "old wet shoes" and yes, I have seen parasites in swordfish as well.

                                                                1. re: fishymd

                                                                  Yeah I'm not really missing it much.

                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                    I'd rather sell 'em than eat 'em. Cash money at the dock.

                                                                  2. re: fishymd

                                                                    swordfish - overrated and over fished. one I can 'walk on by'

                                                                2. re: fishymd

                                                                  fishymd... I'm the OP and back home on the OBX. On tonight's menu... fresh tuna tartare, (the tuna was plucked out of the water today) and soft shell crabs. I've been on many a fishing trip where the first tuna caught is cut up and enjoyed on board immediately. As far as parasites are concerned, there's far worse things in the water and air here to worry about! I'll continue to eat fresh tuna.....

                                                                3. re: scubadoo97

                                                                  One thing I don't understand about parasites in fish: If you were preparing, e.g., tuna sashimi, couldn't you see the parasites in the flesh, or are some harmful parasites very small?

                                                                  One more thing: What happens in Japan where fish is not flash frozen to kill parasites? Are there a good number of sushi-related hospitalizations there? Am I misinformed and fish is flash frozen there, too?

                                                                  1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                    First I don't think tuna has a significant parasite problem and from the pictures I've seen at the major fish market/auction house all the fish looks like its been iced down pretty well

                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                      But 32 degrees won't kill parasites, they just hibernate til they are in your stomach. The worst parasites are the ones you can't see.. And yes, most of the tuna and other fish in Japan for sushi is frozen, it helps firm up the fish and makes it easier to cut cleanly. But, there are really only a couple of dozen edible fish that they use for sushi and many of them don't live in water that make them susceptible to carrying parasites or themselves not usually carriers of parasites. The ones you need to worry about mostly are not usually served as sushi...fish in the bass family, reef fish from certain areas, freshwater fish, cod, amberjack, ...I've been in the seafood industry for 30 years and have only met one person that got parasites from seafood and they got it from eating ceviche in Peru that wasn't sliced thinly enough to kill the parasites with the acidity. So I wouldn't worry about it too much

                                                                      1. re: fishymd

                                                                        Yep. In Port Salerno, FL the Japanese buyers would be waiting at the dock with cash in hand. Swordfish, yellowfin, goggle eye, wahoo and snapper would go right into the freezer and on to the plane. We rarely saw a bluefin in local waters and then only in winter.

                                                              2. Tuna is number graded. #1 is the best and ends up in very high end Japanese Restaurants. #2 at middle of the road restaurants & some chains. #3 at lower end restaurants & some chains.

                                                                Most of the tuna found in supermarkets & club stores is frozen cryovaced #3 grade imported tuna.