2007_03_totallygross.jpgTribesmen and women city-wide are frantically polishing off the last crumbs of their chametz and stockpiling matzo in preparation for Passover. April 2-10 is a torturous time for many and, though crispy potato kugels and nutty bowlfuls of charoset may soften the blow, there’s still a grim specter that hovers over Gothamist’s Passover table.

We’re referring of course to gefilte fish, that jellied quenelle-like bitch of a dish whose nuances are often lost on the under 40 set. Though historically gefilte was prepared by grinding carp or whitefish with egg, matzo meal and onions and then stuffed back inside the fish to be poached and sliced, its modern incarnation is often confined to jarred balls or frozen loaves.

Though we generally avoid gefilte like the (ten) plague(s), we acknowledge that like brisket and the afikomen, it’s an essential part of most Passover meals. So with a sour puss on our otherwise shaina punim, we sussed out some of the city’s better contenders. Here’s what we found:

Russ and Daughters
179 East Houston Street, Manhattan, 212.475.4880
This Lower East Side stronghold is famous for its smoked fish, caviar and wide selection of dried fruits. A special Passover menu features “Old Fashioned Gefilte Fish” made of whitefish, pike or carp, as well as loaves priced per pound and a salmon and whitefish blend. They are accepting orders until March 28.

Raskin’s Fish Market
320 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.756.9521
Another neighborhood mainstay, Raskin’s has held up the gefilte front in Crown Heights since 1961. Varieties here range from sweet to savory and from frozen to freshly ground. Pre-orders are advisable but not obligatory around the holiday.

Citarella
Multiple Locations in Manhattan and the Hamptons
Citarella parlays its reputation as one of the city’s better seafood markets into a fine gefilte fish (if you’re into that sort of thing). Theirs is made in-house from whitefish, pike or carp and can be ordered three days out.