Salmon is one of the most popular fish options in the United States and lox is one of the cultivated preparations consisting of a cure and cold smoke to preserve the fish and add flavor. From gravlax to seasonal, these places have the best lox in the District.
3 Little Pigs Charcuterie and Salumi
5111 Georgia Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20011
3 Little Pigs is a neighborhood treasure in the residential area of Northwest D.C. called Brightwood. While it specializes in pork, it offers a seasonal salmon as well. The salmon is smoked in house and takes on whichever flavors the shop wants to pair with it for that season. The fish is cold smoked and retains a lot of its natural oils, so be sure to eat it within a few days of bringing it home. The best part is that this charcuterie hand slices everything to order, so whether you want thick slices or thin, you can get the exact cut you’re looking for.
4819 Bethesda Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
While New York is known for its bagels with schmear and lox, you can still get fresh, delicious bagels right outside of DC in Bethesda, Maryland. This shop offers its lox in both spreads and a sandwich. The lox cream cheese spread is done in a light version so as not to overpower the taste of the fish. Then for sliced salmon, you have the choice of two lox: the traditional version, called kippered salmon, and the slightly more sumptuous belly lox. Order it how you like it with lettuce, tomato and onion if you want a more substantial sandwich.
12214 Fairfax Town Center
Fairfax, VA 22033
Located in Fairfax, Virginia is a New York-style deli called Chutzpah that specializes in all of the New York favorites. Its lox can be served in a cream cheese or on a sandwich. The choice of bread is the traditional bagel, a bialy or a roll. The sliced lox is either traditional-style nova or belly lox topped with sliced tomato and onion. If you’re looking for a more substantial breakfast, try the smoked salmon benedict, which is a slightly sautéed smoked salmon topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Or if you just want the fish, there are smoked fish platters of either the nova lox or belly lox. All are served with bread, cream cheese and the fixings, like tomato, olive, onion and pickles.
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1317 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Located in Dupont Circle, DGS Delicatessen is a New York-style deli elevated to a new level. It offers lox in many different forms with all of the delicious fixings you’d expect from a deli. For a sandwich, DGS offers the smoked salmon bagel that starts with a salmon that has been spiced with the same mixture of spices that you’d get in a pastrami cut. The same salmon can be found as an appetizer with two potato latkes and crème fraiche. Or you can go for the more traditional style of a smoked salmon platter with its cold-smoked, 24-hour cured salmon served with chopped egg, capers and onions. Or opt for the Bendictberg, which is a stacked series of latkes, smoked salmon and poached eggs topped with a Hollandaise sauce.
Neopol Savory Smokery
1309 5th St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Neopol specializes in smoked salmon. And we’re not just talking about the regular smoke, though that is delicious. There are many different varieties of smoked salmon for any palate. From savory flavors like Thai rub, whole grain mustard or green tea to sweet like cranberry or candied ginger, you’ll find a variety of smoked delicacies. It also has grav lox, which is cured in a dill and lemon with brandy. For a filling and delicious treat, try the crepe du jour, which is filled with potatoes, spinach and smoked salmon and slathered with aioli.
Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isn’t enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.