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Dec 9, 2006 05:21 AM

Fish question, Sand Dab or Dover sole? [moved from Los Angeles]

Does anyone know if these fish are the same, but with different names? Are these fish from the local area? Also, does anyone know of fish markets that sell this fish? I usually buy it at Ralphs or Albertsons at $6.99 for a pound; I sure would like to find it cheaper! I have searched some of my local markets that sell fresh fish and they never have it.

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  1. If any of the Los Angeles hounds have good source to buy these fish locally, please suggest your tips on the L.A. board. Many thanks, everyone.

    1. The "Dover sole" they sell here is not really close to the sand dab. The Rex sole is what you want. These are rugged little fish, snug on the bone, and both the real sand dab and the Rex are best cooked with just a bit of salt and pepper and a dusting of flour, then a quick sauté in some sizzling butter. Very good eating.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Will Owen

        Yes, I had forgotten about the Rex sole. I haven't seen Rex sole in a long time. Aren't the Rex smaller than the others? I purchased Dover a few days ago, got a couple of nice pieces, each fish weighed just about a half pound.

      2. Both rex sole and sand dabs are very popular in the bay area. They are two different fish, the rex being the larger of the two. Both are normally pan sauteed whole (without the head however). In SF, the Tadich Grill do both outstandly. However, sand dabs have become much more seasonal and are not normally found this time of the year. They are very delicate and must be served within a day or so of being caught. With the winter weather, there just isn't much fishing for them.

        Dover sole is a different fish probably closer to the petrale sole also found here.

        While I don't know for sure, I would think sand dabs and rex would be hard to find in the LA area. They would have to be flown in.

        Sand dabs are just about my most favorite fish, sweet, firm, lovely to eat.

        1. Dover sole original was originally the name of a sole from the eastern Atlantic which was shipped to England where it was and is a favorite. The importing city was Dover and the name stuck.
          It is now also the common name of a Pacific flounder (Microstomus pacificus), an entirely different species, found from California to Alaska. It is deep-water flatfish weighing up to 10 pounds. Because it is especially slimy it is almost always marketed in fillet form and is generally considered inferior to the petrale and sand sole which are rated highest on the West coast.

          1. Sand Dabs are nothing like Dover Sole. DS is NOT available in the U.S., regardlesss of the lies you will hear from fish purveyors/restauranteurs. That said, if you are somewhere near Carmel, CA and can get your teeth around some sand dabs, you are much better off. There's an old, established restaurant on the main drag in Carmel (right side of the street facing the beach, sorry I can't remember the name.) My folks always took us to eat there, and I took my daughter a few years ago, and we had the best sand dabs ever. This might just be the best fish you will ever eat.