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Area Seafood Markets


alan7147
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Am I the only one who doesn't, for whatever reason, "trust" the Maine Ave. fish market?

Maine Ave is fine. Obviously (and if its not obvious then it should be) during long stretches of heat during the summer, one should be cautious about what they buy there.

American Seafood in Arlington

Whole Foods

Balduccis

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Not a recommendation since they haven't opened yet, but Upstream Seafood Market is due to open in S.S. very soon...

In fact, Monday's trip to pick up my dry cleaning next door showed most of the equipment in AND there were employees in the store. I occasionally buy from Whole Foods or get frozen from TJ.

Edit to add -- there was an article in last week's economist on Whole Foods that mentioned their dedication to not stocking fishes that have been overfished, noting specifically that they won't stock "Chilean Sea Bass" (sic).

Edited by JPW
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...well, I wouldn't say it is my favorite spot because it's so damnably pricey (a deep sea bass(?) last night @ $20.99 a lb.), but the seafood counter at the front of Black Salt rocks. I've only purchased from it a handful of times, but it has proved first rate each time.

Truth be told though, I usually just buy my tilapia or scallops at the Safeway a couple of doors down. Although afterwards, as I did last night, I walk over to BS just to gaze on the selection for a few moments.

The meat counter at Wagshal's has the same effect on me.

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Anyone have a recommendation for good fish in Mont.Co., MD?

I’ve been less than impressed with Whole Foods and Balducci's.

Thank you!

River Falls Seafood, at the corner of River Rd. and Falls Rd. in Potomac, has absolutely stunning seafood.

At absolutely stunning prices, and I don't mean that in a positive way. I understand that this is simply what you have to pay to get seafood of this quality in Potomac, but it still has to be a special occasion for me - I can't afford to shop there on a regular basis. Prices are generally 30-50% higher than other places, but the fish is more than 30-50% better than other places.

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Strange request, but I had an incredibly delicious octopus salad at Pesce that I'd like to recreate. Anyone know a place that carries fresh octopus? I mean full size octopus (the salad had it very thinly sliced), not baby (which I've seen at Black Salt once or twice). I've seen it frozen a couple places, but am a bit concerned about how old it is.

Edited by cjsadler
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I was wondering what are peoples favorite spots to buy fresh fish and seafood?

The Super Fresh in Spring Valley on 48th Street usually has lovely stuff, and it caters to a rather demanding customer base. Also, you can pick up some wonderful wine there to accompany your fish.

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I can't believe I never updated this story after what happened to me at Slavin.

It came to mind this morning when I was with an area chef-type who was explaining to a group of folks why he thinks Slavin is crap. It had to do with a lack of freshness. And after what happened to me a number of months ago, I think he's absolutely right.

I bought some snapper fillet there. I keep a cooler in the trunk of my car and drove it home in that....with a bag of ice in there along with some of those gel freezer packs. I only live about 15 minutes from there, but it was late summer and I'm extra careful when I shop for meat, fish, dairy, etc. Now my wife, who has a very perceptive sense of smell, seemed to think something was fishy when I put it in the car. She said to me that it smelled off. I told her it couldn't possibly be bad. I've bought here all the time, they're reputable and for cryin' out loud it just came from the case. I shoulda listened to her.

When I opened the fish up to cook later that night it smelled foul. I mean, completely to the point that it had to have been turning when it was in the Slavin case. I immediately wrapped that paper back up, put it in a ziploc and threw it in the freezer. I was going to take it back for a refund at a later date.

When I did return, I brought the fish with me and told the folks behind the counter that the fish they sold me a couple weeks ago was bad. They couldn't believe it. They though I was so full of shit. Nevertheless, I insisted and they said they'd get the boss.

Well, the fucker makes me wait around in the store for probably a half hour before he finally comes out and starts with the "What can possibly be the problem" routine. I told him the story and he, too, thought I was completely full of shit. "As IF we might sell something that wasn't perfectly fresh," was the attitude. Eventually, reluctantly, and solely to just get me out of the store, he took one of his business cards (turns out he was either the owner or partner or some such thing) signs the back of it and writes a dollar figure on the back of the card to be my credit. No apology, no nothing. The guy was a complete dick.

I went back a few weeks later and spent the credit, being sure to more closely examine what I was buying. I've never been back since. So when I heard that dude this morning tell a story so similar to mine I immediately realized it's a smart thing to stay away from there. And now, even if I see a Slavin truck in front of a restaurant for a delivery, I avoid eating fish there.

One place the guy this morning mentioned was some Swedish market with great fish in Arlington. Does anyone know more about that? Wilson Blvd. at 10th Street or thereabouts?

Anyway, bottom line is, there's something seriously fishy at Slavin. I'd be very wary if you wander in there.

You get the fish, fail to look it over, decide it sucks, freeze it and then trot back to the store days (weeks?) later and demand a refund and you're amazed that they didn't fall all over themselves to throw money back at you? I'd be a little skeptical, too, if I was management.

A suggestion -- for anyone near Great Wall, in Virginia - -get your fish there. The thing's swimming until the moment you buy it. Even on the second day, it will be the freshest snapper you ever snapped. Cheap, too.

Don't forget to tip the guy who guts it for you.

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And now you know why I insist on smelling the fish. The fish guy at the Safeway on Columbia Road sold me some shad roe that was SO rotten, I have one of those "smell" memories of it from time to time. He will not let me smell anything. His explanation is that "Somebody might see you reject something and then they won't buy it either." :lol: Life in the ghetto. Or Safeway training. Whatever. So, there is a narrow selection of things I buy from them: like the vacuumed-packed tuna that I can see is STILL frozen; I check the date on bags of mussels, etc.

Fortunately, the people at Whole Paycheck will present the boned trout for me to smell. When they stop doing that, I will stop buying fish from them. What else can a person do?

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Han Ah Reum Asian Supermarket

12015 Georgia Avenue

Wheaton

(north of the "downtown")

Wide variety of fish and shellfish. A very busy business. Nice produce section, too.

Today I saw Chilean sea bass, red snapper, fluke, croaker, salmon, monkfish, butterfish, smelts, catfish, etc., and I always see clams, crabs, and shrimp

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Anyone know a place that carries white anchovies? Had these at a few restaurants recently and have been looking for them. Spotted them at Whole Paycheck (the P St. one has them over at the cheese counter in the case with the olives), but they are $25 dollars a pound (!). Maybe A&H*?

*I don't think I've heard A&H mentioned here. It's a seafood shop run by a Spanish gentleman, hidden back behind Euro Motorcars in Bethesda. He also carries Spanish cheeses, paella rice, chorizo and other good Spanish stuff. Don't be put off by the smell-- that's the bacalao! (I'm always afraid he's going to go out of business because some people might think the fish isn't fresh due to that). Haven't been over there in a while, though.

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I have gotten them recently at A & H. This is my go-to place for Spanish olive oil, Spanish rice, chorizo, Portugese coarse sea salt and smoked paprika. They also have jamon Serrano and several Spanish cheeses, and if you are going to make feijoada, this is the place to get your farofa. Depending on the day of the week that I am there, I buy fish as well. There prices are always very good, the quality varies. I have heard that Thursday is the best day to go, because they make a trip to a wholesaler in NJ or NY on Wednesdays.

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Anyone know a place that carries white anchovies?

Are you referring to alici? Vace has them. Some of their prices are lower than WF, but not all.

They also sell large cans of Sicilian salt-packed anchovies that are around $22, but last forever in the fridge and far better than those small flat cans at the supermarket. Dean & DeLuca's will sell you the salt-packed ones individually if you'd like to see how good they are in pasta first.

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One place the guy this morning mentioned was some Swedish market with great fish in Arlington. Does anyone know more about that? Wilson Blvd. at 10th Street or thereabouts?
Looks like it's done - at least the retail component. Walked over there yesterday because I noticed the "Live Crab and Lobster" sign a few days ago. The hours-of-operation sign indicated it should have been open but the door was locked and all the coolers were empty.

Thankfully I was able to get on the orange line up to L'Enfant and let Captain White save the day (@ Maine Ave.).

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The soft shell crabs at Dupont this morning were indeed being offered live and feisty ($3), frozen, and fresh, cleaned and dressed ($5).

* * *

2-pound bags of mussels were on sale at Whole Foods this weekend, so I picked up one at Tenleytown. I may have been influenced by all you guys, but I was keenly aware of how fishy the department smelled. $4 for what was actually closer to 3 lbs than 2, not bad; around 7 of them had to be tossed out of many, many more. The quality was fine, though not high. Smallish. Sweet. Flavor was not pronounced, but then, again, tart rhubarb has affected my taste buds lately.

I noticed that the bag from Rhode Island said the little guys were harvested on 5/11, but not shipped until 5/18. I bought them the 20th.

Does anyone know why there was such a gap between capture and expedition?

* * *

Some time ago, Waitman wrote an excellent report of a trip to The Great Wall of Fish on a different board.

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The soft shell crabs at Dupont this morning were indeed being offered live and feisty ($3), frozen, and fresh, cleaned and dressed ($5).

* * *

2-pound bags of mussels were on sale at Whole Foods this weekend, so I picked up one at Tenleytown. I may have been influenced by all you guys, but I was keenly aware of how fishy the department smelled. $4 for what was actually closer to 3 lbs than 2, not bad; around 7 of them had to be tossed out of many, many more. The quality was fine, though not high. Smallish. Sweet. Flavor was not pronounced, but then, again, tart rhubarb has affected my taste buds lately.

I noticed that the bag from Rhode Island said the little guys were harvested on 5/11, but not shipped until 5/18. I bought them the 20th.

Does anyone know why there was such a gap between capture and expedition?

* * *

Some time ago, Waitman wrote an excellent report of a trip to The Great Wall of Fish on a different board.

Had some good snapper from Wall of Fish the other day. I admit to having a perverse fascination with the killing and gutting of live fish. Watched a guy take a cleaver to a squirming eel, the creature's tail circling around his wrist as he set the blade at different points on the eel's head so the the customer could decide where exactly the decapitation should fall (just in front of the eyes, as it turned out). Quite a twisted and sanguinary scene, the thing never stopped thrashing even after its innards were sliced out and its nose hacked away. For the snapper, the guy had to pound the fish's head with his fist, so that it would lie still on the scale. Had to pound it a couple of times, in fact, finally laying a TKO on the flopping little thing. And then he scaled the fish before gutting it, which seems painful to me.

We pan-fried it and served it up with a tasty little lime buerre blanc. Brutally fresh and delicious.

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For the snapper, the guy had to pound the fish's head with his fist, so that it would lie still on the scale. Had to pound it a couple of times, in fact, finally laying a TKO on the flopping little thing. And then he scaled the fish before gutting it, which seems painful to me.
Do they weigh it with the head on? And how big were the red snappers?
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Went to Cameron's near Briggs Chaney/Burtonsville recently and was quite disappointed at the selection and the shop in general. Not well maintained and not well stocked.

So we headed to Upstream seafood on Georgia Ave (I think) just inside the Beltway and were very happily surprised. A great shop with lots of selection and plenty of fresh seafood. Prices are high, but the quality is definitely there. LObsters were great as was the red snapper. Delicious.

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Jessie Taylor's at the Maine Ave fish market has some fairly large and very fresh soft shells for $4.50 a pop. They were pretty feisty looking. The soft shells from another vendor there looked like hell, so make sure you shop around.

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Can anyone recommend a fish market that will sell soft shells in Northern Virginia? I'll say upfront that I'm not a particular fan of Slavin's.

If I'm desperate to stay close to home, I will usually buy my fish at Whole Paycheck or Harris Teeter (but only the sushi grade stuff), but I'd love to find out if there are other/better options around here, since I'm still mourning the closing of the Sutton Place/Balducci's out here in Reston.

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Michelle,

Try Wegmans. My husband has twice in recent weeks brought home outstandingly fresh and delicious soft shells from the Fairfax Wegmans, for relatively reasonable prices.

I've also had good experiences with their mussels, being fresher than anywhere else I've tried, including WF.

I haven't tried too much of their finned fish, because I've been a little put off by the pre-cut portions, but I think that one can ask for larger pieces from the back.

I've been very impressed with the freshness of the products I've purchased there. I would hope that the Sterling store has the same standards.

[edited to add:] Call ahead, because they don't always have soft shells.

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Anyone have a recommendation for buying swordfish at less than $17 a pound?

I am carless and live in D.C. proper. Price quoted above is from WF.

I once lived in a town where a really good fishmonger sold trimmings from swordfish (chunks) and tuna (thunks) steaks, separately, fresh and reasonably priced. I got spoiled since these were great for pasta, etc. and would be even happier if I could find a similar operation here.

BTW: A quick google suggests populations of the fish are up in N. America if not completely a non-issue, and opinions are mixed re mercury levels and health risks.

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I've always bought my seafood at Cannon's in Georgetown (I work right down the street), and I've always been happy with the quality. They are closed indefinitely for renovations. I have bought seafood at Whole Foods on P Street (near my home) and frankly it was just bad. I bought shrimp, brought it home and unwrapped it and the smell of amonia was overpowering. I rinsed it well, brined it in salt water and it was at least palatible. I bought some tuna, same thing. Third times the charm, but he wahoo was just bad. I've heard good and bad things about Maine Avenue. Has anyone had experience there? I've only driven by there and it looked a little intimidating.

Thanks for any help!

Cathy

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Yesterday Blacksalt had cockles. I bought a pound and cooked them with olive oil, garlic, and white wine. They might be small, but they pack quite a bit of flavor. The only thing that was disappointing about it was the lack of bread in the house to soak up the liquor.

They also had some of the sweetest Nantucket Bay Scallops I have found outside of a restaurant.

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I bought an assortment of fish and shellfish yesterday at Blacksalt for bouillabaisse. My purchase included some raw, peeled Maine shrimp. While they tasted great raw, they turned quite mushy when cooked in the bouillabaisse. I added the Maine shrimp after I turned the pot off and let the residual heat of the broth cook the shrimp. I served up as soon as the shrimp turned opaque so i don't think overcooking was the problem.

I've had Maine shrimp before but it's been a while and I just don't recall this texture. Is this normal?

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I almost bought some peeled Maine shrimp at Tenley Whole Foods. I asked to smell them before they were wrapped. <gakk> they smelled ammoniated and foul, and I of course said that they were bad and I didn't want them. The clerk was bewildered at my reaction. Maine sweet shrimp are very perishable.

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I added the Maine shrimp after I turned the pot off and let the residual heat of the broth cook the shrimp.

Last week they had them in the shell with the heads on, the amount of meat on the tail for the price is what turned me off.

Your method of cooking the shrimp is how I always poach any sort of shrimp. I make the nastiest tasting skank water and bring it to a boil, then kill the heat, dump in the shrimp and wait until they are just pink. While the water tastes horrible it translates to great tasting shrimp.

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Last week they had them in the shell with the heads on, the amount of meat on the tail for the price is what turned me off.

Hmmm, shell on last week, shell off this week. Blacksalt doesn't seem like the type of place to sell shrimp past their prime but that's certainly what I seem to have gotten.

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Hmmm, shell on last week, shell off this week. Blacksalt doesn't seem like the type of place to sell shrimp past their prime but that's certainly what I seem to have gotten.

It could be the case, but from what I have seen of how they care for the seafood they sell I would be loath to make such an assumption. A case in point was when I bought cockles the gentleman that helped me made certain that each piece showed movement when tapped. Those that didn't were discarded; I have never seen the people at lesser markets take that much care to ensure that I have gotten the best possible seafood.

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I bought an assortment of fish and shellfish yesterday at Blacksalt for bouillabaisse. My purchase included some raw, peeled Maine shrimp. While they tasted great raw, they turned quite mushy when cooked in the bouillabaisse. I added the Maine shrimp after I turned the pot off and let the residual heat of the broth cook the shrimp. I served up as soon as the shrimp turned opaque so i don't think overcooking was the problem.

I've had Maine shrimp before but it's been a while and I just don't recall this texture. Is this normal?

I've never had a problem with cooking shrimp in bouillibasse before. But I add the shrimp at the very end and they'll only simmer for two or so minutes before they are finished. If I am just boiling shrimp I will put cold water on in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Then I add the shrimp. As soon as the water comes to a boil the second time, I'll let it continue for about 15 seconds (longer for larger shrimp-use judgment) and then immediately scoop the shrimp out and give them an ice bath to stop the cooking. The ice bath is absolutely crucial to this for texture.

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Found at the 7 Corners Grand Mart this morning

Live Dungeness crab $1.99 a pound, about 1-1.5 lb average

Smoked whiting and smoked trout-I don't recall every seeing this here before. The whiting was 4 inch segments of smoked small fish, about 4 to a package. The trout was a smoked whole trout per package. These were in the fresh fish area and packaged by the store on styrofoam trays. I would have gotten some to try but I'd already picked up two crabs as my impulse purchase.

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Seriously? Wow!

Steamed the two I bought and had one for lunch. While the body portion seemed a bit small, the meat was sweet and a bit briny at the same time. I've never had fresh Dungeness before, just previously cooked, and these were far superior.

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Any suggestions for current places to source seafood in suburban MD? I work in Bethesda and live in Laurel. Forays towards NW Washington, Rockville, and up 29 towards Columbia are acceptable. And yes of course Silver Spring, College Park, Takoma Park, Greenbelt are all fair game.

Given the discussion over on the Top Chef thread about people not digging WF and Balducci's seafood, I am considering looking around for a better fish monger. There is a Super Grand Mart in Laurel that *looks like* they have very good seafood...?

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Any suggestions for current places to source seafood in suburban MD? I work in Bethesda and live in Laurel. Forays towards NW Washington, Rockville, and up 29 towards Columbia are acceptable. And yes of course Silver Spring, College Park, Takoma Park, Greenbelt are all fair game.

Balducci's in Bethesda, RiverFalls in Potomac, and BlackSalt in Palisades.

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Sorry to bump a super-old thread but I didn't know if a new one was necessary -- anyone know why Dover Sole is only $6.99 at Whole Foods this week?  My impression is that it was a luxury ingredient.  What am I missing?  Is this a good buy?

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Pacific Dover Sole is indeed an entirely different species from the true Dover or common sole, also known as channel sole. In fact, the American soles are not only in a different genera, but a different family as well. The so-called Pacific Dover sole is held in such high esteem that it is sometimes referred to as the "slime sole". You'd think the American equivalent of the Trades Descriptions Act would preclude any purveyor of fish calling the Pacific fish simply "Dover sole". Go to any restaurant in France. If they have sole on the menu it's likely to be the single most expensive dish they offer.

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