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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Seniors get a discount at Russian-themed Gourmanoff, but market isn't for everyone

HEAVY FOOD: Headcheese, above, and Pork Tongue, on a steam table below, are just two of the specialty foods available at Gourmanoff, an ethnic supermarket in Paramus, but there is no indication the meat and poultry dishes sold there are free of harmful antibiotics.
CHOPPED LIVER WITH WHITE WINE: Ingredients for the Chopped Chicken Liver are listed as chicken liver, white wine, pepper and fried onion. Shoppers are left to guess whether the livers are from chickens raised without antibiotics.

EDITOR'S NOTE: After Gourmanoff opened last November, another Korean supermarket from the H Mart chain opened in Paramus, and a Chinese supermarket finally opened in Hackensack. I've included links to those openings in this post. 


HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Do you love heavy Eastern European food and small jars of salt-cured Russian caviar selling for $64.99 (that's for only 50 grams or 1.76 ounces)?

Then, Gourmanoff, an upscale ethnic supermarket in Paramus, is perfect for you.

But even if you ignore all of that, the 30,000-square-foot market just off of Route 4 west at Forest Avenue has a large, well-stocked produce section, and a salad, mushroom and carrot bar ($5.99 a pound).

I picked up a 1-pound package of Sunset-brand Kumato Tomatoes for $1.49 and a single Lemonade Apple from New Zealand (99 cents a pound), and used a store card to get a 10% senior discount (Tuesdays and Wednesdays only). 

Fresh seafood on ice

Pescetarians like me will be drawn to the small section of fresh seafood on ice. 

The wild-caught Jumbo Shrimp from Canada selling for only $9.99 a pound were a great deal on Wednesday afternoon, but the man behind the counter said he wouldn't devein them for me, so I passed.

If you're watching your carbs and sugar intake, steer clear of the bakery, pastries and packages of chocolate from Ukraine, Moldova and other former Soviet republics.

Russian Jewish immigrants

"Gourmanoff was created by the company behind another Brooklyn-born chain, NetCost Market," which is described as a "'Costco of European-style foods,'" The Record of Woodland Park reported in 2017.

Russian Jewish immigrant Sam Shnayder and his son opened the first NetCost Market in 2000. 

And in 2014, they opened the first Gourmanoff in the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach, a section of Brooklyn, as an "upscale, luxury purveyor of Eastern European and European specialties."

The New York Times once described that store as "Vegas-meets-Volga."

Ronzoni and Garofalo

But if you shop at the Gourmanoff in Paramus, you'll see familiar brands like Ronzoni on the same shelf as Garofalo, an upscale pasta imported from Italy.

However, only one of the packages of Garofalo whole wheat and conventional pasta I saw was marked "organic."

Gourmanoff is one of three ethnic supermarkets to open in Bergen County in the past year:

LOTS OF PRODUCE: As someone who doesn't eat meat or poultry, I gravitated to the produce section, above and below, and its limited selection of organics.
GOOD BUYS: A 2-pound package of Sunset-brand Campari Tomatoes, above, was selling for $3.99 or a dollar less than at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro. A 2-pound package from another grower of hothouse tomatoes was only $1.49, below.

$11 A POUND FOR ORGANIC SPRING MIX: Three 5-ounce packages of this Farmers' Direct Organic Spring Mix would cost $10.77, but you'd still be 1 ounce shy of the 16 ounces of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix selling for $4.99 at Costco Wholesale.
DO-IT-YOURSELF JUMBO SHRIMP: I've never been turned down at the nearby Whole Foods Market in Paramus when I've asked to have wild shrimp deveined, but the employee at Gourmanoff on Wednesday afternoon shook his head no.
WILD AND FARMED FISH: The fresh seafood display is relatively small, but appeals to pescetarians and other fish lovers.
HIGHS AND LOWS: Gourmanoff sells Basa Fillets, a low-quality farmed catfish from Vietnam, center, next to high-quality Wild Salmon from Alaska, right.
OPEN 7 DAYS: Gourmanoff is at 221 Route 4 west in Paramus; 1-201-308-6888. Open 7 days from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. At the register, you can sign up for a NetCost Market Club card that gives you special discounts on many items in the store. The card also gives senior citizens a 10% discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The supermarket is opposite iFly, the indoor skydiving center that replaced the long-shuttered Forum Diner, below.

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