Hey seafood lovers, Food Adventures with The Big Ragu & Crew is about to change your world. There is a little known secret that has been in the Miami Valley for 30 years. It is called Foremost Seafood, and it’s located at Woodman Center Drive in Kettering. It is a seafood distributor, that has a retail store open to the public. What’s the big deal? Foremost gets daily shipments (not Sundays) of fresh caught seafood from Boston, Virgina, Florida and Alaskan suppliers. This allows Daytonians access to an incredible variety of nautical fare and ensures the freshest seafood. This is the type of access that is usually only found in mega cities.
It started with owner Tom Patterson, who in 1983 was typically listening to music like David Bowie in the basement of his parents home. From that house he sold his first shipment, fifty pounds of shrimp to the meat manager at Dorothy Lane Market, Helga. He still provides seafood to Dorothy Lane Market to this day. Over the years he has quietly built and empire and runs the buying for the business. This is important because he is an expert. Tom has a degree in marine biology from South Florida University. He worked on shrimp farms in Ecuador in the late 1970’s. During this time he also was setting trends in Galveston, TX by helping develop new shrimp farming technology. His knowledge is Dayton’s gain, as this hometown boy is now a successful businessman, bringing quality eats to the Foremost faithful. And they are faithful, most of his business is from customers that have been visiting the retail store for over a decade. Today, deliveries from Boston and Virginia arrive by truck the next day, while seafood from Alaska and Florida are flown in specially to Dayton airport.
***HERE’S THE SKINNY:
— Foremost Seafood is NOT a restaurant, it is a storefront to buy fresh seafood. Think of it as a mini seafood market.
— Foremost provides seafood for most of the upscale, locally owned restaurants in Dayton.
— The fish they sell were caught on ‘day boats’ (only 1 or 2 days at sea). Translation: these are the freshest fish available and were not sitting in a ship’s cooler for two weeks. Only the highest quality is the rule at Foremost Seafood.
— The fresh fish is not displayed, it is kept whole and sliced only at the time of the order. The reasoning is to keep air and light from deteriorating the meat of the fish. “Be loyal to the fish” is their mantra. You order from a price list of fresh fish, they trim the fish and bring your order out for the ‘ok’ before they wrap it.
— Locally owed since 1983 by Tom Patterson and his wife Pam. Another true mom and pop establishment.
— Experts handle the fish once it arrives in Dayton. People like Chef Tony Coletta who worked at Garstkas and Chef Nate Young currently at the Oakwood Club
— Foremost offers over 300 varieties of fresh and frozen seafood specialties.
— Hours are a little tricky: Tuesdays – Fridays 9am -6pm, Saturday and Monday 9am-noon, Closed Sundays
Fresh Carolina Shrimp: Caught just a couple of days ago, these huge shrimp run about $14.99/lb and have never been frozen, which in Ohio is practically unheard of. Taste the freshness without having to travel to North or South Carolina. These shrimp are usually the 21-25 count per pound variety, and are absolutely incredible.
Cherrystone Clams: Yes, they are alive. You can shuck them and eat ’em raw, but our favorite is to steam them then dip them in butter. Either way, be prepared for a fresh taste of the ocean!
Sushi Grade Tuna: This tuna is super-high quality and can be sliced and eaten raw. If sushi isn’t your style, consider coating the tuna with red pepper, sesame seeds or any spicy rub. Then pan-sear it on all sides (even the edges). We tried it both raw and cooked and loved it all. Check out our photo album below where we cooked lots of Foremost items and holla’ at your foodie boys.
Fresh Tilapia: You can still see the knife marks on the filets where it was carved. Talk about fresh! This mild fish is a favorite, even for the pickiest eaters. Try it baked for 20 minutes at 350degrees. Use your own spices, Don’t ask us, we aren’t chef’s we are just two guys that love to eat ! Check out their table of free recipe cards.
Soft-Shell Crabs: This delicacy is for serious eaters! They are alive. You can’t get any fresher than that. The most popular way to cook these are breaded and pan seared. They are also used in local sushi houses stuffed into ‘spider rolls.’ Softshell crabs are consumed entirely. That’s right, eat the whole thing, shell and all. Only for true Food Adventurers, and The Big Ragu, Chef House, and Hungry Jax say they are delicious !
Crab Dip: This slightly spicy dip is so addicting, you will have to lock the refrigerator. Get some wheat thins or melba toasts and go to town on this stuff. Made from a mixture of pseudo-crab sticks and cream cheese, it is perfect party snacking. Food Adventures will not be held responsible for brawls over the last scoop.
A couple of side notes: With the demand for fresh seafood, (over half of it coming from Boston), once in a while they run out of items. It is the nature of fresh offerings. But there are so many other choices like Blue crab from Virgina, Snow Crab legs, live oysters, the list goes on an on. Fresh fish that we have been buying for years include Red Snapper, Grouper, Wahoo, Bronzini and Halibut. Also, special orders such as live lobsters need to be pre-ordered. They even offer do it yourself fish frys where pricing is based on pounds of fish purchased.
For years, The Big Ragu, Chef House and Hungry Jax have been hitting up this place for our party food needs, cookouts, or just a craving for some fish at home. It is truly one of our favorites. Foremost Seafood’s philosophy is simple, freshness and being loyal to the integrity of fish in regards to handling. Owner Tom buys the best and sells the best.
Now you know about yet another Dayton gem. Our city is lucky to have access to this fresh food. Don’t forget to visit the free recipe table. Whether you want to eat healthy, or just love fish, get yourself into Foremost Seafood and see for yourself. There is nothing fishy here.
Check out our stunning photo album below and “like” Food Adventures on Facebook HERE. Come on, don’t be shellfish….