Lent kicks off this week, which means many will abstain from meat on Fridays for forty days. Need some inspiration for a weekly seafood dish? Look no further than these Lower Hudson Valley seafood shops, which offer a wide variety of fresh fish, prepared foods for busy nights and a helpful fishmongers, too.
These are some of our favorite places to shop for fish in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam.
Apple Farm, White Plains. At Apple Farm, shoppers walk through the bustle, around the piles of fruit and vegetables, past the Italian deli case and on to the rows of whole fish on ice. Just take a plastic pan and help yourself; the multilingual fishmongers will weigh the fish for you. Fish is about 20 percent of Apple’s business all year. Go: 37 Tarrytown Road, White Plains. 914-288-9521.
C & M Seafood, Pomona. A ton— literally— of fresh fish and seafood moves in and out of C&M Seafood every week, an impressive figure for a 400-square-foot retail space. To be fair, though, not all that finned food is sold directly through the fish market. Not long after the fishmonger’s shop opened in 1978, customers started asking for prepared meals, with as many as 250 orders coming in every Friday during Lent. Eventually the owners opened Gilligan’s, which has grown into a full-service, 150-seat seafood restaurant that shares the same piece of Pomona real estate. Go: 366 Route 202, Pomona. 845-354-1161.
Conte’s Fishmarket, Mount Kisco. Conte’s Fishmarket is hard to miss with its brightly painted exterior on corner on Route 117. The fish case is in the back of a 36-seat, cash-only, BYOB restaurant, which is decked out with nautical decor: nets, cork floaters, carved fish and other paraphernalia. Owner Rob Conte can tell you what you need to know about the skate, tuna and monkfish waiting there on ice. He sells more cod, sole and shrimp during Lent, and his oven-ready dinners are even more popular. Go: 448 Main St., Mount Kisco. 914-666-6929, www.contesfish.com
Daido, White Plains. A Japanese grocery with imported dry goods such as nori, kombu and many different misos. But the crown jewel of the market is the fish display: Sushi-grade tuna and salmon, octopus and squid, shrimp and plenty more, all packaged neatly in plastic and Styrofoam. Plus, the take-out sushi near the front of the store is a favorite lunch for locals. Go: 522 Mamaroneck Avenue White Plains. 914-683-6735, www.daidomarket.com
Eastchester Fish Gourmet, Eastchester. Rick Ross has been bringing fresh fish to lower Westchester for more than 25 years. Between the retail shop and the restaurant two doors down, he’s built a business that moves 5,000 pounds of fish a week. During Lent, he notices people scooping up a lot of scrod and flounder fillets but he offers between 25 and 30 other varieties. And at least half his sales come from the daily-prepared dishes as Chilean Sea Bass with fresh tomatoes and herbs or parmesan-crusted cod. Go: 837 White Plains Road, Eastchester. 914-725-3450, www.eastchesterfish.com
Farmer and the Fish, Purdy’s. A New England clam-shack menu with a farm-to-table twist in a Revolutionary War-era setting now has its very own Farm Shop, located next to the restaurant and open from 10 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 to 4:30 on Sunday. The seafood comes from one of the owner’s wholesale companies, Down East Seafood. In addition to prepared ready-to-go dinners, whole and filleted fish is available, along with a full raw bar selection, local produce, meat, housemade bacon, sausage and fresh pasta. Go: 100 Titicus Rd., North Salem, 914-617-8380, www.farmerandthefish.com
Highridge Fishery, Yonkers. A great shop that flies under the radar, Highridge sells fresh, reasonably priced seafood as well as a full menu of prepared foods. Crab meat rolls, poached salmon with homemade dill sauce and baked salmon teriyaki are popular, but we like the selection of fish salads. Choose from lobster, halibut, shrimp, crab meat and more for a satisfying salad topper or filling for a sandwich. Go: 1791 Central Park Ave., Yonkers, 914-337-3775, www.highridgefishery.com
H-Mart, Hartsdale. An Asian grocery store chain that specializes in fresh, Sushi and Sashimi-grade seafood, along with a variety of hard-to-find Asian noodles, rice, produce, bakery items, kimchi and takeout hot food. You’ll find imported household and kitchen goods, too, like rice cookers and bamboo rollers for homemade sushi. Go: 371 North Central Ave., Hartsdale, 914-448-8888, www.hmart.com
La Mer, Armonk. Owner Ed Wechsler says Lent is probably the only time of year he highlights traditional fried fish: fried calamari, shrimp and the like. His prepared seafood dishes, such as lobster cakes, shrimp over angel hair pasta and chowders, sell well too. They are all made from scratch, with attention to salt, fat, and calories. Go: 407 Main St., Armonk. 914-273-1766, lamerseafood.net
Mount Kisco Seafood, Mount Kisco. On Fridays during Lent or leading up to any major holiday, the full-service market has lines out the door, selling artisan bread, local produce, beef, cheeses and sweets. For Lent, take home more than a dozen soups or some tuna, cod or lobster cakes for a quick saute. Go: 477 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco. 914-241-3113,www.mtkiscoseafood.com.
Port Chester Seafood, Port Chester. Not only is the quality great, but owner Lou Pirilli really knows his stuff. He’s happy to find or order anything customers need, as well as give tips for cooking the fish. A hot lunch is this shop’s best kept secret, with seafood chowders and various fish sandwiches, all decently priced. Go: 295 Midland Ave., Port Chester, 914-937-2232.
Pura Vida Fisheries, Winter Farmers’ Markets. The seafood vendor from Long Island is a local favorite at farmers markets year round, but during the winter they can be found indoor markets in: Chappaqua, Hastings-on-Hudson, Ossining, Pleasantville, Gossett Brother’s Nursery in South Salem, Cold Spring and Palisades. Visit the 2014 Winter Farmers Markets page on Small Bites for details on each market.
Rick’s Seafood, Mahopac. Rick’s Seafood has 13 tables alongside its fish case, which carries at least 14 different types of fin fish and steak fish each day. But you also can find artfully arranged displays of oysters, shrimp, fresh scallops, mussels, oysters and even a few sushi-grade fishes like white tuna and yellow fin. Go: 545 Route 6, Mahopac. 845-621-2489. www.rickseafood.com
Rockland Seafood, Bardonia. You can judge a fish market without stepping all the way inside. Just poke your nose in the door. If you get a whiff of fish, turn and flee. The first thing you’ll notice about Rockland Seafood is how clean it smells. Even on a frigid winter night just before closing, the aroma is as sweet and fresh as sheets dried in spring sunshine, a sure sign that fish is top-of-the-line fresh. Rockland Seafood boasts of supplying some of Rockland and Westchester’s top restaurants and most demanding chefs. This shop sell the same fish and seafood for home cooks, and they also offer cooked-to-order entrees, soups, sandwiches, wraps and fried dinners or microwave-ready meals. Most popular item: fillet of sole; they sell some 400 pounds a week. Go: 110 Route 304, Bardonia. 845-624-3660, Facebook: Rockland Seafood Co.
Stew Leonard’s, Yonkers. During Lent, sales of sole fillets, which arrive daily from New Bedford, Mass., increase 30 to 45 percent at Stew’s. And when tilapia – which is mild-flavored and liked by children – goes on sale for $5 a pound, the store will sell up to 2,000 pounds of it. Cod also sells well, but there are 25 to 30 other types of fish to choose among at the 60-foot counter. But, as everywhere, prepared items are popular, especially stuffed sole, crab cakes, stuffed shrimp and lobster rolls. Go: 1 Stew Leonard Dr., Yonkers. 914-375-4700, www.stewleonards.com
Turco’s, Yorktown Heights. Let’s talk numbers: 40 different types of fish, 45 feet of display case (plus another 12 feet behind for shellfish), a 12-foot freezer and 1,000 pounds of water for the fresh lobsters. And that’s not counting the 50 to 60 prepared items (stuffed shrimp, linguine with clam sauce, clam chowder), which are made from scratch down to the sauce: dill sauce, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce. The list goes on. Go: 380 Downing Dr., Yorktown Heights. 914-243-9100, www.turcos.com
Whole Foods Markets. The supermarket chain favors products and foods that are organic, local and environmentally responsible, and the seafood section is no different, where every label provides detailed information on the fish’s origins and sustainability rating. Helpful fishmongers behind the counter will guide you toward the best fish available, and give tips for preparing it. We also like the store’s selection of marinades, sauces and seasonings for easy one stop shopping. Go: 110 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains; 1 Ridge Hill Blvd., Yonkers; 575 Boston Post Rd., Port Chester. www.wholefoodsmarket.com.