By J. Berndt
MONTROSE– (May 1) Here in Montrose we are a long way from the ocean and our selection of local fish is very limited. I’m sure our only local oyster wouldn’t go over well at your family barbecue; most people would leave hungry. But there is a place right here in Montrose–Mountain Valley Fish & Oyster (25 N. Willerup)–where you can get fresh fish from all over the world and enjoy live shellfish from the East and West coasts. Although it might not be the easiest place in town to find, you can just head west on Main and look for the wooden fish.
Mountain Valley Fish is only open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 9-5 to the public for retail. You won’t be disappointed in the selection of fish, just in your own ability to decide on what to eat for dinner. They keep these limited hours so that they can service restaurants on the western slope from Telluride, Durango, Aspen (the North and Roaring Fork Valleys), Grand Junction, and to Crested Butte. Fish from Mountain Valley is known to cross state lines, supplying restaurants in Moab and Farmington as well. They are able to distribute quality fish with a small crew. The fish comes in fresh twice a week and most is cut in the shop to give customers the best quality possible here in Colorado.
If you’re in the mood to make some sushi you can find all that you need, from fresh cut sushi grade tuna, fresh yellow tail, and sustainably farmed salmon, as well as all the accessories: sushi mats, nori (seaweed wrap),wasabi, sticky rice, and much more. But if sushi is not your thing there are several different kinds of fish to throw on the grill, more exotic larger species like, marlin, swordfish, albacore, and if you’re lucky Chilean Seabass. If you’re into the lighter fillets for baking or frying there is: grouper, catfish, sole, walleye, and cod.
Summertime brings an abundance of Alaskan halibut and wild salmon down from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
Don’t be too surprised if they run out of a certain fish half way through the day, I assure you this is good practice, if there is one thing you want in the fish business it’s to not have any leftover because as a customer you never want to think you’re buying old fish, this is also good technique for controlling quality even if it disappoints you. If you have your heart set on something specific, it would be a good idea to get there early, or call a few days in advance and place your order.
Owner Andy Goldman is no stranger to the business, having started Mountain Valley Fish in 1976. He’s turned a one-man, one-van operation, into a full fleet of trucks that puts thousands of miles a week on the Colorado roads. Even though now there is competition from Denver, chefs on the western slope have stayed loyal to Andy and his fish. I was sitting in the coziest throne (chair) you could imagine when Andy told me, “Our selection rivals any coastal town because we are centrally located.” Meaning it is easier and more economical, than having to ship all the way across the country.
So next time you get the craving for some fresh fish head west on Main to, 25 N. Willerup and just look for the wooden fish swinging in the spring winds. And now you can find Mountain Valley Fish & Oyster on Facebook for updated specials.