Business Food

Sashimi/Sushi-Grade Fish Online Used by Sushi Chefs and the Restaurant Industry

Featured image by TrueWorld Foods. Originally posted Nov 18th, ’21, Updated Apr 21, ’22.

Reading Yelp reviews about somebody from Los Angeles or New York eating sushi in a landlocked state is obnoxious because they always tout “like, I’m from LA/NY, so I know quality fish.” Well, I doubt that, but I will agree that it is lot easier to find sashimi grade (raw) fish in large coastal cities.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission

Having lived the last two and a half decades in Los Angeles to the SF Bay Area, I have had “good to great” quality sashimi (raw fish) from a Japanese market or restaurant. Now that I am currently landlocked, with very few Japanese in the area, I only have a handful of non-Americanized sushi restaurants to get my fix. So with such lackluster local options, I have to go online, and if you are in the same boat, then you and I are now fellow shipmates, yaaargh.

From dock to door, these are the seafood vendors that will deliver frozen (along with “super frozen”) or fresh seafood to your next party, or just to you, all by yourself, a party of one (this way, you get that last piece).

The fish icon denotes summaries if you are looking for a quick read.
Photo Description: Brandon of Riviera Seafood. He appears to be a fishmonger preparing cuts of bluefin tuna for sale.
“It’s Brandon” (yea, yea, yea, I know it says “Joe” on his apron) from Riviera Seafood. Image courtesy of Riviera Seafood.

If You Like it Raw, You Want “Sushi-Grade” or “Sashimi Quality” Seafood

What the hell is “sushi-grade” or “sashimi quality,” you ask?, well according to Yama Seafood:

We label products as Sashimi Quality if they can be consumed raw. Of our Sashimi Quality products Salmon, and only salmon, is recommended to be cured before consuming raw. The easiest way is to freeze overnight or longer. You can also use a salt and vinegar cure. None of our fresh products have been frozen before unless otherwise specified in the product description.”

– Yama Seafood, Jersey City, NJ

So How Do You Decide Which Online Seafood Delivery is Best for You

Well, it all depends on these three factors:

Perishability is one major factor prior to buying, so have a plan in place on how to store the product (keeping it frozen to properly thawing your product). Planning this ahead of time will ensure optimum product quality.

The other two factors are listed below.
  1. Party of 1 or a large sushi party: Are you throwing down for yourself (this way, you don’t have to fight over that last piece), or are you hosting a large party? Whichever it is, unlike Costco, where 300 rolls of toilet paper would prepare you for the end of civilization, fish is perishable, especially when not properly handled (refrigeration to thawing). Also, some seafood you cannot freeze because it will degrade the quality, and you should consume it all as soon as possible.
  2. Types of fish/seafood you are looking for: There are your standard offerings (Americanized sushi), and then there are your more Japanese offerings. The common offerings would be tuna (bigeye/yellowfin) and salmon, versus bluefin (akami, chu-toro, to ohtoro), to saba, and akamutsu. Depending on which category you fall into, determines if the 3-pack with tuna, ono, and salmon suits you or a vendor that caters to high-end Japanese restaurants is your best match.
  3. Your budget: There are often various grades and types that can help you manage your budget. Instead of a massive bluefin loin, you might opt for poke cubes/chunks to ground or nakaochi (tuna back meat scraped from the bones) to stretch your dollar. Although, on the other end, a massive bluefin loin will be the baller way to go to flex on friends and family.

Many of these businesses are B2B (business-to-business) supplying restaurants, although that does not mean they are proficient at selling online to you, B2C (business-to-customer). This article exists to help you find the best B2C.

You may see a lot of imagery by Riviera because they are very B2C focused (this is how involved they are, here is a an interview I had with Riviera Seafood about the documentary Seaspiracy).
Photo Description: a shot of somebody holding a tin full of ikura (salmon roe marinated in soy sauce). In the background looks like some salmon sashimi which is a popular combo in Japan (parent, plus roe).
I used to not be a fan as a kid, but now I love ikura (salmon roe marinated in soy sauce). Image courtesy of Riviera Seafood.

Great Sushi is About the Details

I get the details, so I prefer to go to a restaurant if I want sushi, although if I attempt to do it at home, this is what comes to my mind:

Whether or not you are doing rolls to nigiri sushi, I have detailed lists of the best soy sauces to use for sushi, the best Japanese rice, the best wasabi and sushi nori brands (seaweed), to sauces that will complement your rolls.

Yea, I got you homie with the details on everything you need.
  • Sashimi: If you have never prepared sushi before, start with sashimi (also get yourself a good knife). It can not get any simpler than taking a fillet and cutting it up into slices although there are a number of specifics in the way you cut it, but I won’t get into that.
  • Temaki/makizushi: If you are going to prepare sushi, make sure to get your sushi rice down before you attempt to do either nigiri (fish over seasoned rice) or makizushi (rolls). Also, if you are going to do any style of sushi, temaki (handrolls), and then makizushi would be the path you will want to take (well, the easiest is a rice ball, onigiri).
  • What is good sushi?: you can find that out in an older post, “What is Good Sushi.

On a sidenote: If you want to prepare hotaru ika, I highly suggest this blog that continues to throw down with amazing content, La Petit Noisette.

Sushi Grade Fish Online by the Top Fishmongers

I just had to look into the etymology of fishmonger, and according to these sources: 1. Now I know why I am thinking tyrannical because I am associating it to warmonger (“stirs up war”), via grammarphobia. 2. via PrinceHamlet, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, they have cited that the word fishmonger was a euphemism for a “fleshmonger,” or pimp.” So next time you walk in to your local fish market, you would not be wrong if said “what up pimp.”

Riviera, Catalina OP, TrueWorld, Honolulu Fish Market, and Yama Seafood are the most sushi/sashimi centric. Also, if you scored high on your SAT’s, you would have picked up on that Hokkaido Uni is a dedicated uni vendor (sea urchin from Japan).

Hokkaido Uni is the only company not in the US, and they are located in Japan.
COMPANYPRODUCT OFFERINGS
Catalina Offshore Product
San Diego, CA
Note (5/10/22): I have revised the offerings based on what CatOp is citing: “farmed bluefin loin (maguro), Ahi saku, Ahi loin, California sea urchin, New Zealand Mt Cook Salmon, Japanese Hamachi and ikura, just to name a few.” This way, you know you won’t be disappointed.
Cameron’s
Seafood

Capitol Heights, MD
Yellowfin (ahi) tuna steak for sashimi or to cook. These are 1 lb. tuna steaks (2 pieces), $24.99. They ship flash frozen with dry ice.
Fulton Fish Market
New York, NY
3-pack (ahi/yellowfin tuna, ora king salmon, and ono), American unagi, Octopus (cooked and frozen), uni (a variety).
Hokkaido Uni
Hokkaido, JP
Uni, straight from the source.
Honolulu Fish Market
Honolulu, HI
Ahi (kihada) tuna, barramundi, black cod, hamachi, kanpachi, octopus (tako), ono, opah, salmon, sea bass, sweet crab.
Riviera Seafood Company
Los Angeles, CA
Bluefin tuna (akami, toro, chu-toro, otoro), caviar, gindara (black cod), hirame (olive flounder), hotare (scallops), salmon (wild, ora, king, Atlantic), shrimp, striped bass, yellowtail, unagi/kabayaki (grilled fresh water eel), uni
Seattle Fish Company
Denver, CO
Octopus, salmon (Norwegian), saku tuna, tobiko, tuna (ground, loin, nakaochi, poke cubes, tataki), unagi (smoked fresh water eel).
True World Foods
New York, NY
Akamutsu (nodoguro), caviar, fresh wasabi, kinmedai (alfonsino), mentaiko (ago-otoshi), salmon (Japanese/Aomori, roe/shoyu, smoked Atlantic), zuwaigani (jumbo snow crab). All order must meet a $100 minimum.
Yama Seafood
Jersey City, NJ
Yama is able to source almost any type of fish from Japan. Yama has direct partnerships with Toyosu Fish Market and various vendors in Japan so we can import fish four times a week.
Order fresh or super frozen seafood online from any of these websites.

Who is Biggest of The Online Sashimi/Fish Sellers

I thought these websites would get more web traffic, although they are not all that big, unlike Alaskan King crab websites, which garner a ton of web traffic. I had initially assumed they had massive sales online since many of these companies are big players when it comes to $$$$$ supplying restaurants.

The largest of them all in terms of guesstimate web traffic is
1). Fulton Fish Market (they pay to play with a lot of online ads) with 2). CatalinaOP, and 3). Riviera Seafood Club being in the TOP three.

Catalina Offshore Products and Riviera Seafood are more focused on sashimi.
COMPANY
WEBSITE
APPROX. WEB TRAFFIC
# OF PAID ADS
Catalina
OP.com
#2
24k
105 paid ads
Fulton
Fish
Market.com
#1
48k
5,319k paid ads
Hokkaido
Uni.com
#8
613
0 paid ads
Honolulu
Fish
Market.com
#7
835
10 paid ads
Riviera
Seafood
Club.com
#3
6.8k
72 paid ads
Seattle
Fish.com
#5
2.9k
0 paid ads
TrueWorld
FoodsNY.com
#6
1.1k
0 paid ads
Yama
Seafood.com
#4
4.1k
0 paid ads
The more traffic, the better (it’s a popularity contest).

Seattle Fish based in Denver cannot respond to an email to save their life, so they are far from being customer focused or a recommended online vendor.

How Much is Tuna Sashimi

Photo Description: Yellowfin, bluefin, to bigeye tuna are some of the popular types of tuna used in sushi and sashimi. Many of these online sellers sell tuna which is one of the most popular fish.
The fresh bluefin tuna from Riviera Seafood is traceable and sustainable. Image courtesy of Riviera Seafood.

I have aggregated a range of the tuna offerings in one spot so that you do not have to click on each site, although this is not fully comprehensive. I do not intend it to be because almost everybody offers a tuna steak, so I have included a variety of product offerings. They range from chunks for poke and handrolls (you like affordable, don’t you?) to bigeye and ahi/yellowfin from Hawaii or bluefin (maguro from Baja to Toyosu fish market in Japan).

In ascending order by price per pound.

WEBSITE/PRODUCTPRICE/SIZE
Catalina Offshore Product
Ahi Poke Chunks
$24.99 per lb.
1 lb.
Catalina Offshore Product
Bluefin Sushi Chunks
$32.99 per lb.
1 lb.
TrueWorld Foods
Fresh Bluefin Tuna Steak Cut (Sushi)
$44.95 per lb.
1 lb. (1-1.25 lb)
Fulton Fish Market
Wild Ahi Tuna Loin
(2 lbs. minimum)
$89.98 total
2 lbs. total
($44.99/lb.)
Honolulu Fish Market
Hawaiian Ahi Select Cut
Bigeye Tuna
$129.00
2 lbs.
($64.50/lb.)
Bluefin Tuna Akami
By Bluefiná (traceable & sustainable)
$33.49
8 oz. (1/2 lb)
($66.98/lb.)
Honolulu Fish Market
Hawaiian Ahi Ultra Fillet
Bigeye Tuna
$229.00
3 lbs.
($76.33/lb.)
Riviera Seafood
Pacific Bluefin Tuna Chu-toro
By Bluefiná (traceable & sustainable)
$46.49
8 oz. (1/2 lb)
($92.98/lb.)
Riviera Seafood
Pacific Bluefin Tuna Toro
By Bluefiná (traceable & sustainable)
$49.49
8 oz. (1/2 lb)
($98.98/lb.)
TrueWorld Foods
Bluefin Tuna Saku (Otoro) Sushi
$119.90 total
0.5 lb. total
($239.80/lb.)
For comparison, I have provided per pound prices (prices and availability are subject to change).

Also, if you are wondering what the difference is between ahi/yellowfin vs. bluefin (maguro), the FishingBooker.com has a great article “Bluefin vs. Yellowfin Tuna: Looks, Taste, and More” to answer all your questions.

Photo Description: Riviera Seafood Club offers Pacific Bluefin Tuna toro for $49.99/8 ounces.
Riviera is a family-run operation, the Ito’s.

Wholesale Only Fishmongers Who Are Slang’n It to Restaurants

Yea, I know, I only have one listing, but it is a good one (quality, not quantity and he’s a cool dude).

I intend on constantly updating this post, so what you see now will continue to change because this is a mammoth industry and undertaking (updated 4/21/22).

If you are looking at this page on/after April 21st, 2022, this page has dramatically change with more detailed information.

Ultimately, I really want to utilize my network in Japan to Los Angeles and New York to help create the ultimate resource for fresh fish and sashimi/sushi grade seafood for restaurants or sellers online. #fishsquadgoals

Photo Description: a tray of fresh sea urchin from Hokkaido, Japan. The gold/brownish orange hue almost looks like the texture of a dogs nose.
A tray of fresh Hokkaido Uni by the Uni Shop. Image courtesy of the Uni Shop.

Looking for uni (sea urchin)? I have the full list of where to buy Bafun uni from Hokkaido to Red Sea urchin from Santa Barbarba.

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