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GOOD SMOKED FISH?

Live in Marin, open to the city too, looking for whitefish, baked salmon to break fast for the Jewish holidays. All the fish I have tried is either dry whitefish chubs or not very tasty larger fish from Costco. Have bought salmon at the farmer's market, but not other kinds of fish. Any ideas?

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  1. Miller's East Coast Deli in the Montecito Plaza in San Rafael appears to have a nice selection: http://www.millerseastcoastdeli.com/w...

    I've not tried any, but I think their pastrami is pretty good.

    6 Replies
    1. re: gumbolox

      Thanks! I've tried their chopped liver and it was just ok.
      I'll check it out.

      1. re: edinny

        I'm not a big fan of their chopped liver either (too chunky), but I like other thiings I've had there (matzoh ball soup, bologna, pastrami). Mollie Stone's (especially Bon Air) has a lot of smoked fish items. It's not smoked, but I really like their herring in cream.

        1. re: The Librarian

          I love herring, will ck it out, thanks!

          1. re: edinny

            If you're a herring fan, you need to read

            Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built by Mark Russ Federman and Calvin Trillin

            Wonderful book about Russ and Daughters in New York. I've never been there, but everything sounded so good!

    2. South of the City in El Granada or at the Ferry Building Farmers Market (Sat or San Rafael Sun).
      http://www.creeksidesmokehouse.com/
      http://www.holysmokedsalmon.com/

      1. I hear that you're not a fan of Costco whitefish/larger fish.

        But their jars of herring are great (all you need to do--which you'd want to do w/ any jarred herring--is discard the brine, pick out and discard the onion, and mix the fish w/ a little thinly sliced fresh red onion and a good dollop or two of sour cream--not low-fat, the real deal--let it sit in the fridge for a day; and you've got terrific creamed herring--and at an amazing price for that big jar).

        And I've always liked Costco smoked salmon (not the smoked wild salmon, which should be better but is worse--I much prefer the cheaper, paler stuff).

        I've not found great smoked whitefish or trout in the Bay area--so what I do is buy some @ Costco and then make a smoked fish salad, which masquerades a multitude of dryness/meh flavor.

        And re other mentions on this thread.

        *I have never (even in NYC) had good chopped liver from a deli or shop--I think for whatever reason, you have to make that from scratch--happily a simple job--let me know if you want my recipe :)

        *Sorry to sound like a broken record (or shill for Costco), but in the Richmond Costco on Monday, they had more Jewish New Year fare than I've ever seen--including large containers of frozen blintzes and kugel and stuffed cabbage--no idea how good any of it is, but I love to use the frozen blintzes to make a blintz souffle when I'm hosting a Yom Kippur break-fast.

        A happy, healthy New Year to you and yours!

        7 Replies
        1. re: sundeck sue

          We weren't impressed by the luchen kugel. The chopped liver texture was too smooth more pureed than chopped.It looked like it came from a machine not from this: http://www.newhampshirebowlandboard.c...

          1. re: sundeck sue

            The Blue Hill Bay whitefish salad sold at Costco (same brand as the herring) is great, though the two-pound tub is a daunting quantity.

            1. re: sundeck sue

              I agree w/ Sue about the Costco smoked salmon. I grew up in NY eating lox and I'm amazed how good the Costco stuff is. But Sue is right -- the cheaper stuff is much better than the more expensive smoked wild salmon.

              Also, as Wolfe recommended Creekside Smokehouse in El Granada has great smoked fish. It all freezes really well, so you can really stock up while you're there. Bring a cooler, and while you're there get some smoked butter and go home and saute your vegetables in it.

              1. re: sundeck sue

                Hi Sue,
                Would love to get your chopped liver recipe. I've tried one before but it didn't come out so great. Thanks so much!

                1. re: edinny

                  I've adapted the recipe from my late mother's Temple Emanu-El (not the SF one) Cookbook over the years.

                  She would have "plotzed" (Yiddish for "keel over")--butter?! organic?! food processor?!

                  Hard-cook & peel 5 large eggs.

                  Whiz 1 small chopped raw onion in food processor.

                  Saute 1 lb. organic (esp. important w/ livers) chicken livers in 1/3 c. butter (I use unsalted, since that all I stock, but could use salted for this and just be more sparing w/ added salt to taste).

                  Add cooked liver + any butter residue in the pan + eggs to onions and pulse (don't whiz--this isn't pate--you want texture).

                  Add kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste.

                  Chill. Taste for seasoning again (probably will need more salt).

                  1. re: sundeck sue

                    Thanks! Was it originally w/chicken fat & you didn't want that? I'm wondering about using chicken fat instead of the butter?

                    1. re: edinny

                      it was chicken fat--and it wasn't about not wanting it--a bit hazy re evolution, but i think what happened is that for one holiday some years back, i didn't have chicken fat and, thinking pate, impulsively--and a bit provocatively--substituted butter--and never looked back.

              2. In the city, Bi-Rite's smoked whitefish spread is very good and so is the version from Canyon Market, though my favorite is from Paulie's inside the marketplace on Cortland.

                Swan Oyster Depot has very good smoked salmon. Was less happy than usual with Bi-Rite's cured salmon recently.

                Some of the best cured fish I've gotten is from La Bedaine on Solano in Berkeley. These are pickled with spices that are more French than Jewish. But call Alain and ask. The mackerel was sensational.

                1. I would recommend checking out the markets in Outer Richmond. there is a large eastern european community out there and there is one market in particular that i know carries a large array of smoked fish, whole chubs, etc:
                  European Food Wholesale and Deli
                  3038 Clement St
                  San Francisco

                  Also, that whole neigborhood along Geary has a number of Russian markets and shops worth exploring.
                  I had no idea that Safeway sold yarzeit candles (duh) and so i ended up driving out there looking for one, and all the delis i stumbled in to carried them.
                  that is of course, how i found out about the abundance of smoked fish and sausages out that way ;)

                  L'shana Tovah

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jupiter

                    The quality at the Russian stores is maybe not as good as at Russ & Daughters.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/358586

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      i think that it is hard to compare even markets on the east coast to what is happening at Russ & Daughters. that is like comparing canned tomatoes to a dry farmed fresh picked organic early girl. c'mon....well maybe not that extreme, but still, Russ & Daughters is impressive even for what's left of the lower east side.....

                      1. re: jupiter

                        There's comparable quality around here (if not the same variety in one place), I just don't think you'll find it at the Russian delis.

                  2. Whitefish chubs are dry, that's why people make them into salad.

                    Maybe you're thinking of smoked sable?

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/358586

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Whitefish by definition dry?

                      Not in my childhood memories from back East (though we know food memories aren't always the most reliable).

                      However, my most successful Valentine's Day present/splurge for my NYC-born/bred spouse was overnight-ed lox/sable--and, I believe, moist and flavorful whitefish--from Barney Greengrass.

                      1. re: sundeck sue

                        Dry by comparison with sable. Probably a thick fillet from a big whitefish is moister than I've had.

                    2. Go to the russian markets in the Richmond.

                      European Foods -- (3038 clement) has chopped liver that tastes like my grandmas. They also make great stuffed cabbage, homemade gefilte fish, and pickled apples.

                      New World Market makes a great beet vinatigrette salad and olivier salad.

                      Both of these have a variety of smoked fish.

                      1. I know what you are looking for. The best smoked fish that I have found in Marin is at Mollie Stone's in Bon Air shopping center. Get the Nova lox there and it is fine. They also have white fish. Sorry, but outside of LA and NY, good Jewish smoked fish is hard to come by.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: tstrum

                          Thank you all for your suggestions- a happy and a healthy New Year!

                            1. re: Windy

                              I went to the Larkspur Landing farmer's market and got smoked salmon from Santa Rosa Seafood (they smoke it right before you buy it) and also went to Miller's East Coast deli, bought herring, and doctored it with more raw onions. Miller's had Acme smoked sturgeon and sable that looked good, but very pricey. Smoked salmon was delicious! Will check out Le Bedaine and Paulie's!