Best Smoked Fish

Man began preserving seafood with smoke around the time he figured out how to catch it. Our techniques may have evolved, but we still regard a lox-topped bagel with primordial fascination. Today we’re in the midst of a smoked fish renaissance

New Classic: Gjusta
The Gjelina team has done the impossible at its bakery and café: made anchovies cool. Technique: From pickled herring to oil-cured sardines, Gjusta’s recipes wouldn’t be out of place in a Baltic butcher shop. The soul of the program is a J&R Little Red Smokehouse fueled by applewood and other fragrant kindling. eat THIS: Spice-crusted, cold-smoked pastrami gravlax comes on a seeded rye bialy. > 320 Sunset Ave., Venice, 310-314-0320.

Slavic Pride: Odessa Grocery
The deli case at this old-world Russian market would have made Khrushchev smile. Technique: The salt-rubbed mackerel, steelhead trout, and eel are smoked over a variety of woods at the Seven Seas Smoke House in North Hollywood. Eat this: The smoked sturgeon, sliced thick, has a supple texture reminiscent of buttery turkey breast. > 7781 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-848-9999.

Gone Gourmet: Michel Cordon Bleu
In 1995, Michel Blanchet left a career in French gastronomy to launch his own smoked seafood company. Technique: Canadian salmon is dry-cured, smoked over hickory sawdust, and shaved paper-thin. Eat this:
The salmon is shipped to restaurants, casinos, and luxury cruise lines worldwide, but you can find it at local shops like McCall’s Meat & Fish and Surfas.

Vintage Find: Handy’s Smoke House Delicacies
For 25 years David Handy has smoked everything he could get his hands on, but the customer favorite remains the hot-smoked fish. Technique: Salmon, yellowtail, and tuna spend time in an applewood-powered Southern Pride smoker until flaky. Eat this: The smoked salmon spread with fresh herbs is a must at brunch. > 4149 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, 562-424-8300.

Notable Nosh: Wexler’s Deli
Micah Wexler smokes fish every morning in his crowded Grand Central Market kiosk. Technique: Scottish salmon is rubbed with salt and sugar, then briefly smoked over cherrywood. The result tastes as close to sashimi as it does to traditional lox. Eat This: Wexler’s locally boiled and baked “everything” bagel is served with lox, cream cheese, red onion, and capers.
> 317 S. Broadway, downtown.