A few years ago, a television producer from Manhattan called me to find out about the best fish markets on the wharf. I told her reports of the flooding here had been exaggerated, and that perhaps she meant that other CH Southern city, Charleston.
Not being near the water or having a good fish market has been trying for many fish lovers. Besides the few offerings at the fish counter in Dean & DeLuca (Philips Place only), Charlotte has not had a selection of high-end fish at a market, ever. Fish markets here have catered primarily to the Latino and Asian population and offered less expensive fish.
If you seek high end fin, thank Bill Ryan, who recently opened Clean Catch Fish Market, 2820 Selwyn Ave., Tranquil Court in Myers Park (704-333-1212). And yes, it is expensive. And yes, the fish is worth it.
What makes it worth the price is not only the unusual selection (whole John Dory) and sushi-grade filets, but chef and fishmonger Graham Giacobbe, who is on hand to cut, dress, add herbs and sliced lemons to your selections. He gives patrons a mini-cooking lesson: "Grill until the line in the filet is as thick as your pinky finger. Then turn it over," he tells one customer. For another, he dresses two whole snappers. Meanwhile, Ryan offers samples of opah and walu to curious patrons. The board lists location, as well as who caught the fish and how.
Ryan also sells wines paired to his current fish selections.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the QC? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: email@example.com or 704-522-8334, ext. 136.