It's happening right now at great local restaurants including Joule, Lionhead, Little Uncle and Mean Sandwich. Eat more little fish — it's the right (and the delicious) thing to do!

Share story

Sometimes readers write to me for restaurant/where-to-get-fish recommendations, and I (try to!) always answer (eventually!). Here’s one of the fish-related inquiries:

Hi,

Why is it impossible to buy fresh anchovies and herring in Seattle? Roe herring season just ended in B.C. As I understand it, some of that goes to Japan, the rest is turned into fertilizer and dog food. And we can’t buy it here! It’s a shame.

I happened across fresh anchovies once at Ballard Market and made the best salted anchovies that lasted for months. The salted anchovies available in cans from Italy is shite, in my experience.

Where do the chefs get their little fishes?

Bait-eater wants to know.

Best regards,

Eric

Hi Eric,

So sorry for the belated reply, but I wanted to let you know that you can still catch (sorry) the tail end (sorry! Unintentional punning!!!) of this year’s Alaska Herring Week, in Seattle-area restaurants and stores through this Sunday, June 25. Here’s the list of participating placesTons more restaurants are aboard (okay, I’m just going with it now) this year, including marvelous ones at varying price points such as Joule, Lionhead, Little Uncle and Mean Sandwich (and that’s just from one screen’s worth). The grocers selling herring are, sadly, far fewer, but if we all go buy a lot, money talks — and a central issue here is demand. I wrote a bit about Herring Week last year, including the factors that have made herring so hard to procure here (and, I believe, some of the same reasons go for other little fish).

After its launch by Lexi of the Old Ballard Liquor Co. three years ago, H.W. is now being run under the auspices of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, so re-establishing a local herring fishery is not going to be a high priority with them. But, again, money talks, and if we show an interest in buying and eating lots of Alaska herring, that’s a start. Tell the grocers (and the chefs) thanks, and tell them (and your local store or fish market) that you want more. Demand your little fish! You’re right, local chefs are getting them, and we should be able to get them, too — so hurry out to Herring Week, and happy herring-eating.

Best,

Bethany

UPDATE: Eric the bait-eater responds:

Hi Bethany,

Thanks for answering! But I’d rudder you didn’t apologize.

We had the herring special at The Whale Wins last night. The fish was a little too buried in the prep for my tastes, but I love eating there any chance I get.

Cheers,

Eric