Chinatown restaurant owners frequent this tiny store and pay cash for extremely fresh seafood at wonderfully low prices. If you are a seafood lover who knows how to gut and scale fish at home, this is the place for you, because most of Lucky's fish are sold just as they are found in the ocean. It's a tiny storefront that's easy to miss. A woman perched outside the door sells linens and baby clothes from a stand. Inside the narrow building, the walls are lined with fish tanks. Enormous lobsters snap at one another in one tank while thick catfish loiter in another. The lobster ranges from $5.99 to $8.99 a pound and Dungeness crabs cost only $3.69 a pound. Fresh clams, scallops, and oysters are layered in tubs with ice. At the back of the store, the fish counter is full of perfectly fresh fish: red snapper, salmon, John Dory, and sand dabs. Most sell for less than $6 a pound. This is not the place for the faint of heart: When a customer orders a live catfish, the Chinese fishmonger will scoop it out of the tank with a net, turn it onto the counter, and hit it over the head with a wooden mallet three feet long.
99 Ranch Market