Joe Gurrera • Fishmonger
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real No. 2
Joe Gurrera knows fish. He knows prime meats, fine cheese and high-quality produce, too, but it’s his discerning procurement of seafood that sets his chain of Citarella gourmet markets apart from the competition. He’ll be the first to tell you that all seafood is not the same. That becomes evident when you see his bounty laid out and glistening on a long expanse of ice beds in his stores. There’s everything from tuna and sea bass to red mullet and whole eel. Looking for something more exotic like sea urchins or Icelandic langoustines? No problem. And don’t even get him started on oysters.
The lifelong New Yorker bought Citarella in 1983 (it had been around since 1912) and has since opened six more locations in upscale areas of Manhattan, Connecticut and the Hamptons. He also owns Lockwood & Winant, a large seafood wholesaler housed in the historic Fulton Fish Market.
Now 68 years old, the hands-on Gurrera is up before you are every morning making his rounds, but it’s his relationships with the local day-boat fishermen that reinforces his ethos of freshness. As busy as he is, Gurrera still finds the time to smoke: “I often golf in the Caribbean, where there are some fantastic cigars, but my favorite is still the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real No. 2.”