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Where to Buy FRESH Shellfish in the DC Area

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I noticed on several threads people mentioning how they always use FRESH scallops and shrimp. May I ask where everyone is buying fresh.....NOT frozen or previously frozen shrimp and scallops? We live in the DC area and every supermarket from Harris Teeter to Whole Foods ONLY sells frozen or previously frozen. Even the area fish market, Cameron's, previously frozen. The only shellfish I can find fresh is lobster, crab, oysters, mussels and clams. I have never been able to find scallops (sea or bay) or shrimp (any kind) truly fresh. I don't shop at Safeway and the only other store near me is Trader Joe's - everything is frozen except their smoked salmon and even that I believe is previously frozen. I go to Cameron's in Silver Spring and their Georgetown location and while they have a wider variety of fresh fish not previously frozen, their scallops and shrimp are. Thanks! PS- If you're going to recommend a place on DC's waterfront please tell me the specific name of the market. My husband and I shopped there a few times (it's not convenient for us) and we were underwhelmed by the quality and high prices. We get far better quality fresh shellfish and seafood in the PA-NJ-NY areas than any we've managed to find in DC-NOVA-MD (except Wegman's outside of Baltimore but again that's not convenient shopping) we live in DC.

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  1. Might be worth checking Super H (first) and Grand Mart (second) - I've seen fish still moving and maybe the shellfish is fresh too ... communication about "quality" might be a little difficult in terms of culture clash. Alternatively, if you're buying case lots, you might inquire to ProFish wholesaler in DC (since they're wholesale, they won't want to spend a lot of time holding your hand, but they'll give you the straight story).

    1 Reply
    1. re: wayne keyser

      Second Super H; Grand Mart can be hit or miss for fresh seafood depending on the day of the week.

      Fresh World in Springfield is closer to me, so that's where I usually end up. Several tanks of fresh fish and the iced fish usually have really clear (not cloudy) eyes.

      http://www.freshworld.us/main/main.phtml

    2. Looked at the ProFish site and they do sell retail and certain shellfish fresh.

      I still lament the unavailability here of fish and shellfish the British can get locally every day ... oh, for scallops that come with the roe!

      2 Replies
      1. re: wayne keyser

        ProFish is everywhere (see their trucks for restaurant deliveries). But we're just a couple and although sometimes we have parties or bbq's we'd never have enough guests to be able to purchase shellfish by the case. Besides, I believe we'd need a tax id # which we don't have.

        I wasn't aware GB had good shellfish. Good to know. One of my fondest memories is fresh (not farm raised) Belon oysters in northern France, Bay of Biscay (not too far from UK). Cheers!

        1. re: Misha3373

          See their site ... it's split into "wholesale" and "retail".

      2. Hate to break it to you all shrimp and scallops in are frozen on the boat or short after otherwise it would spoil. You can't get "fresh out of the water ship and scallops" unless you are close to the sources.

        4 Replies
        1. re: agarnett100

          agarnett100, yes! I believe this is true. The only place I've ever been where I've been able to purchase fresh, never frozen shrimp and scallops is in southern Florida (one of the Keys) and Hong Kong. My husband reminded me of this.

          I don't believe most in the US can really purchase shrimp or scallops not-previously-frozen unless they live in SC, GA, southern Florida and maybe coastal areas along Gulf of Mexico (although I wouldn't consume fish from those waters).

          It's much easier to cook fresh scallops than those which are frozen or previously frozen. Plus I think they taste a lot better. :)

          1. re: Misha3373

            Given the prevalence of Chinese restaurants with live fish tanks featuring scallops, shrimp, both of these items can be found never frozen.

            Shrimp caught off the Georgia and Carolina coast can often be found "never frozen" and Scallops from the New England area are available commonly "never frozen". In Boston and New York, they are easy to find at retail. In DC, much harder. But they are available to restaurants. According to retail regulations, all seafood sold in a thawed out state need to be labeled as previously frozen or "refreshed". Unfortunately, in-shell scallops are incredibly expensive

          2. re: agarnett100

            I routinely buy shrimp that is labeled "never frozen."

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              Where do you live?

          3. Thanks Wayne but Springfield is a real hike for us. We live in upper north west DC and use metro (no wheels unless we rent).

            1. Try Frank's Seafood in Jessup just off I 95

              http://franksseafood.com/prices.php#S...

              7 Replies
              1. re: Hue

                Thanks but it looks like these are all frozen as well. Although Jessup, MD is not convenient for us (we live in Washington, DC) I might try them for other varieties. Thanks!

                1. re: Misha3373

                  Yeah, I'm thinking "fresh," "convenient," "seafood," and "Northwest DC" isn't happening. Please eliminate two.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    Hmmmm.....lived in Philadelphia, PA and was able to find fresh seafood, including shellfish, on a regular basis and very affordably. Also lived in a little NJ town about 45 minutes south of NY and never had a problem finding FRESH seafood. Where do you live? And more importantly, can you find FRESH seafood/shellfish?

                    1. re: Misha3373

                      I live in Alexandria and get my seafood from the fish tanks at Grand Mart in Springfield. When I lived downtown, I had to settle for the Maine Avenue Fish Market. As far as "affordability" goes, DC isn't Philadelphia. If you want cheap, fresh, live seafood, the Korean markets and suburban wholesalers are pretty much your only option. If there's a place that sells live fish and scallops in upper northwest DC, I've never seen it.

                    2. re: monkeyrotica

                      OT, but - I SOOO miss the 'wet markets' in SF's Chinatown where goggles are practically required due to all the flopping and splashing in the shallow bins.

                    3. re: Misha3373

                      Not certain about the Shrimp, but the do have "fresh"(never frozrn) dry scallops..dry being the main issue!!

                      1. re: Hue

                        Still in the Shell?

                  2. It is expensive but the absolute best place for fish is black salt market.

                    1. we just saw some gorgeous dry sea scallops at american seafood in arlington, identified with their source location. didn't ask if they were ever frozen.

                      1. Are "day scallops" considered fresh??
                        Been around Md many years don't think I have ever seen scallops in shells..

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Hue

                          These taste as good as they look:

                          http://www.taylorbayscallops.com/our-...

                          1. re: Bob W

                            They are fantastic

                        2. Mediterrea Fish in the Mosaic District in Merrifield has good looking shellfish -- It's near Dunn Loring Metro if you do not mind walking down Merrilee Avenue and crossing Lee Highway to get there.

                          I do concur with other posters -- sadly it's hard to get the really good stuff in the area for whatever reason, didn't use to be that way but the old timey local fish stores all disappeared by the early 1990s.

                          1. There aren't any shrimp or scallop fleets plying the Potomac. Get in your car and drive south to Appalachicola or Cedar Key, FL. You'll have better luck there.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                              Agreed. Don't kid yourself, the shrimp are caught over multi-day fishing expeditions far away from NE DC. The fish and seafood are frozen on board the ships and eventually thawed by the seller, be it it HT, Whole Foods, or H Mart. The thing to look for should be the volume of seafood the store sells. Do items sit for a while or is there turnover (and hence shipments) frequent and rapid?

                              I grew up in eastern NC and you can actually get fresh shrimp from a couple of small seafood counters - one of them is co-owned by a husband and wife. The husband owns a shrimp boat and supplies the shrimp himself, so everything is caught and sold within 24 hours. The few times a year I go home to visit my mother I always insis we make a few shrimp dishes because those shrimp are just so gorgeous, especially after becoming accustomed to what we work with in DC and what I had to use for many years in Atlanta.