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Aug 16, 2009 06:28 AM

Where to buy the best dry scallops besides Whole Foods?

Anyone recommend a place to buy the best dry scallops? I've been buying them at Whole Foods and recently tried the ones at New Deal Market. Are these the best places to buy dry scallops? I want to get the big ones like in the high end restaurants.

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  1. Mercato de Mare on Salem St/NE has the scallops you're looking for.

    7 Replies
    1. re: 9lives

      9live - just found their website while searching for grouper for another lister! Have you tried their fish? I'm always interested in finding a good source for fresh fish...

      Torolover - I always ask (that's where a good, honest fish monger is so important) whether the 'scallops' are actually scallops. I learned from someone who had a wholesale source in the industry that lots of large scallops sold are actually fish cheeks.

      1. re: threedogs

        I would buy their fish but in the past few weeks, a neighbor caught a large tuna and I got a few stripers and fluke..:) not buying any fish for a while.

        I like New Deal or Courthouse in Cambridge too; but it's not all that convenient for me

        1. re: threedogs

          I've purchased fish from Mercato de Mare. Very high quality, reasonable prices. I prefer New Deal or Courthouse and they are closer to me, but if you're looking for fish downtown I'd say try it.

          Also, when Carl has dry scallops at New Deal they are just great. Not always available, so call ahead. Your last comment is puzzling ... fish cheeks are delicious, but in my experience you'd never mistake them for scallops.

          1. re: yumyum

            you and i might not mistake cheeks for scallops, but unscrupulous mongers and restaurants may take a cheap shortcut and mislabel them on purpose. much like places that sell very cheap veal parm -- it's always pork.

            especially since "back in the day", as they say, the cheeks were tossed as rubbish.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I've been told that fake scallops were punched out of skate wings. I don't know if this is true, it seems like the grain runs the wrong way, but over the years I've heard this many times.

              1. re: SmokeDawg

                Yes - the unscrupulous do mislabel them on purpose (obviously, to make more money). Also was told that a way to tell is if the shapes of the 'scallops' are too uniform.

                1. re: threedogs

                  this afternoon i wanted to go have the sashimi lunch at fugakyu but they were closed for some kind of maintenance. went up the street to a "competitor". among other problems, my "scallop" sashimi most definitely was NOT. texture, flavor and color all wrong, plus the shape was perfectly round and scored on the sides.

                  cheeks at best, worse yet, they were calling them scallops.


      2. Also from the "fish lady" at the Brookline Farmer's Market (Thursdays). I got them from her a couple of weeks ago and they were fantastic.

        1. I haven't asked if they are but I'm pretty sure the scallops at Morse Fish are dry scallops, because eating them there showed me what people were talking about with the difference in taste and texture. I've only had them there cooked as a meal vs buying from their market but I thought the scallops were very good

          Morse Fish Co
          1401 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

          6 Replies
          1. re: psora

            I don't know if they have them at Cram Seafood, but Ronny (the owner) is incredibly nice - and honest, too. You could ask him (their prices are great, but most of what they have is frozen these days) about it.

            Can't figure out how to post in Chow Places, so here's the address:

            Cram Seafood
            145 Shirley Street
            Roxbury, MA 02119
            (617) 442-2320

            (Not too far from the Liberty Diner in Newmarket Square.)

            1. re: psora

              Can someone elaborate on what DRY scallops are?
              Most of the time there's a bit of liquid involved as they scoop them into a quart container.
              Are we opposed to buying the liquid for $10.99/lb?

              1. re: TheWizard

                Dry scallops sear better and I think taste better than the wet which are usually treated with a sodium solution to help them keep their moisture and extend their shelf life. I think it also gives them a rubbery texture.
                They also cost more than $10.99/lb.

                1. re: TheWizard

                  Scallops are often stored in water. This makes them weigh more (ripoff) and taste wrong (oops). Same goes for lobsters: don't buy lobsters from a tank of water! They won't hurt you, but they won't taste as good as the ones sitting (alive) on a bed of ice.

                  I buy both at New Deal (or scallops at Whole Foods in a pinch).

                  1. re: TheWizard

                    Wet are treated with phosphates; which cause them to absorb water..more weight, inferior texture, poor fr searing.

                    Dry are not literally dry. They are sold in their own broth to keep them moist.

                    Huge difference in flavor/texture.


                    1. re: 9lives

                      There are two different things going on with scallops:

                      Wet vs dry. Dry means very very little water added. Yes, most dry producers still add water. I think it's a very small percentage though.

                      Treated vs untreated: A solution called soldium trypoly phosphate is added to give it an extended shelf-life. You do not want to eat these. Easy way to check is to cook it in the microwave. If you get a real white funk that comes off the scallops and it has a metallic taste they've been treated.

                      Just remember if the scallop/fresh seafood deal is too good to be true.... it usually is. $5.99 lb dry scallops at XXXXX supermarket is an example of this considering Canadian 20/30 dry scallops are $8.95 lb coming from a distributor.

                2. Savenor's on Charles Street had them last week....

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: fmcoxe6188

                    As did the Cambridge location. They were HUGE. $20/lb though.

                    1. re: CityPork

                      Savenor's scallops are amazing. Pricey of course (like everything there), but gigantic and fantastic. Actually, they have a very small seafood selection, but the quality is absolutely first-rate.

                  2. Market Basket in Chelsea or Reading have excellent fish departments, and good prices on dry sea scallops (frankly, they look better than in some high end fishmongers I've been to).