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Dover Sole

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Does anyone know if any restaurant in Boston, other than Locke-Ober, serve Dover sole? I know it is expensive, but for my 85th birthday I would like to splurge!

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  1. Mistral does an excellent version, and it is certainly a splurge there.

    Happy Birthday! Mistral would be an excellent place to celebrate.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta

      it's basically jamie's signature dish and has crept up in price through the years to a staggering plate cost.

      1. re: Gabatta

        To all who answered my post ty from the OP. I had Dover Sole many years ago in London, it was the specialty of the house. The texture and flavor is much different than Pacific dover sole. I saw PDS in a market and was thrilled that I could buy it so cheaply. Of course, when I got it home and cooked it, discovered that it was a whole different animal. Again thanks to all

      2. I've seen it at La Voile and Oceanaire Seafood Room, but I don't think it's on either menu currently. I thought this was a North Sea kind of fish, but apparently a lot of what gets served in the US is caught off California and Oregon. Mistral charges $50 for it, last I looked: that's one fancy flounder! I'd sooner do the grey sole at Cognac Bistro at an honest, non-swindling $23.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        -----
        La Voile
        261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

        Oceanaire
        40 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108

        Cognac Bistro
        455 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

        38 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Does does anyone feel it really tastes that different from Flounder. I've had it once or twice and could not tell the difference...

          1. re: StriperGuy

            I always felt the quality of the overall preparation and the brown butter made a bigger difference in the overall taste of the dish than did the minute differences in taste of the specific type of fish used (grey sole v. true Dover sole), assuming that the fish is fresh. Haven't had it this way with flounder but I imagine it'd still be just as good if prepared well.

            1. re: Mike5966

              I'd be curious to know what fond food memory compels the OP to seek out Dover sole for this special occasion!

              As for the difference between Dover and grey sole--and I havn't had it for many years--I'd say the impostor has a brinier taste and flabbier texture, that no amount of brown butter can disguise.

              1. re: cassis

                A ton of the supermarkets sell Dover Sole from California for $6.99 a lb and it's garbage. Mistral uses true Dover Sole from the North Sea either from France or Holland. (it's all the same fish, just where it's landed).

                Huge difference in price wholesale:
                Dover Sole (CA) $2/lb
                Dover Sole (Holland) $16/lb

                Same with turbot. You see Turbit at Trader Joes for $5.99/lb aka Greenland Halibut aka junk. True Turbot from the North Sea is around $20 /lb wholesale for whole fish. So plate cost is ridiculous. We sold some $28/lb whole 11+ lb turbot to Locke-Ober a few years back (before the economy crashed).

                My wife and I had a true turbot dish at OXO in London and the plate cost was 60 pounds over there.

                full disclosure: I sometimes sell Mistral their Dover Sole so I'm partial.

                -----
                Locke-Ober
                3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

                Trader Joe's
                1427 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                1. re: typhoonfish

                  So what's your take on Dover Sole vs. just very nice fresh, locally caught flounder?

                  Is the Dover something special?

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Having eaten Dover sole countless times in London, I'd say it has firmer flesh with a different flake. It takes more cooking without losing the flake and becoming mushy.

                    I'd rather have fresh, well-handled fish of any sort.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      I'm not a big flounder person so I'm a bad judge. I think Grey sole is the best tasting for the price. Turbot at 60 lbs per plate was not worth it. Last time I had Dover Sole was at Campania in waltham several years ago.

                      Whitefish to me is boring. If I have to I'll eat Haddock. I grew up eating bluefish so my fish taste is skewed.

                      In my business we have a saying: Fish for selling and fish for eating.

                      1. re: typhoonfish

                        I'm with you, give me blue, or even better juicy fresh macs.

                        I do have a soft spot for striper though ;-)

              2. re: StriperGuy

                dover sole seems to taste a little different from flounder though they are equally good in my opinion. i have not done the A B comparison as i have had Dover Sole only in Europe.

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  Pier 4 has Dover Sole on their menu and yes, it's good. Please don't everybody attack me at once.

                  1. re: edgewater

                    Okay, just cause noone else has heaped abuse upon you for even suggesting Pier 4...

                    Pier 4, really? Really, really?

                    -----
                    Pier 4 Cafe
                    153 Humphrey St, Swampscott, MA 01907

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      You can't be serious...Pier 4....hahhahah

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Shocking! Pier 4? Are they still in business? The best thing I ever had there was parking.
                        Didn't ever Enjoy,
                        CocoDan

                        1. re: CocoDan

                          Where the heck is Pier 4? Never even heard of it, I don't think.

                          I second or third the Dover Sole at Mistral. Really delicious. Yes, it's expensive....but it's excellent. And for an 85th birthday, certainly worth the splurge ;)

                          -----
                          Pier 4 Cafe
                          153 Humphrey St, Swampscott, MA 01907

                          1. re: twentyoystahs

                            Anthony's Pier 4, Boston's absolute It Place restaurant of 1977. Big-assed venue on the (now known as Seaport / Fort Point) waterfront, New England seafood and Continental cuisine. Still doing exactly that 40 years later, like a fly in amber.

                            They're in tax trouble, yet again.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            -----
                            Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant
                            140 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              It's all about the shiny tuxedos and the popovers...

                          2. re: CocoDan

                            You made me laugh out loud! I so agree that the best thing there is parking...I think they are closed or at least I hope so!!!

                            1. re: ParisLady

                              you people are krazee. you get ritz crackers and wispride cheese spread at the bar with your cocktails. the place has an awesome view too.

                            2. re: CocoDan

                              there wine list used to be amazing and their beef was good.

                              1. re: CocoDan

                                Great wine list. Alan Richman wrote that up years ago. Anthony had 4 huge cellars. Low priced gems. And great bartenders. Oh, and, yes, they serve food, too.

                                1. re: scotty27

                                  Mr Pepdjonavic retired last year. One of the best bartenders in Boston.

                        2. re: StriperGuy

                          This link might be illustrative about the magic of the true Dover sole. I admit I've only had it once, and in the UK at that, but it is a really magnificent fish with a very different texture from "regular" sole.

                          http://www.legalseafoods.com/index.cf...

                          For my money, I'd go flounder every time -- but I'm not turning 85 this year.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Who knew?

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              I only knew because my chowmom has beaten it into my head that Dover sole is the best of the best. She's a Brit and a wee bit crazy so I tend to ignore her rants. But she was right about the fish.

                        3. re: MC Slim JB

                          While it is clearly an expensive luxury type dish, considering the price of the raw ingredients portion size and quality of preparation at Mistral to insinuate that the entree price 'dishonest' or a 'swindle' is misguided.

                          1. re: Gabatta

                            Even if they are paying $30 wholesale a pound, and giving you an 8 ounce portion, $50 is still pretty rough.

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              If you don't taste the value, it's not there. I mean: $39 a pop for a half dollar size piece of Hokkaido scallop at o ya: Yet, many feel it's worth it. It's not the cost, per se, but the execution, plating, serving, ambience. I'm guessing that perhaps the experience in its entirety at Mistral fell short. It certainly has for me on the three occasions I've eaten there. In a word: Pretension.

                              1. re: scotty27

                                I've never quite "gotten" Mistral. A perfectly fine restaurant, but nothing they do is extraordinary in my book.

                              2. re: StriperGuy

                                The portion may actually be larger than 8oz and depending on market conditions wholesale price can exceed $30. A great value? Certainly not; but that is not what the OP is asked for. Mistral's Dover Sole is arguably the finest iteration of the dish in the area. The price is on par with other Dover Sole preps at top end restaurants in the area, while the preparation and portion are superior.

                                To reiterate, insinuating that the entree price 'dishonest' or a 'swindle' is misguided.

                                1. re: Gabatta

                                  I agree with you, Gabatta. The value comes from the taste, the whole experience, and the memory of dining. That's why I used the raw fish example: I've spent tons at Yasuda and walked out happy.

                                  1. re: scotty27

                                    I wish we had a place like Yasuda in Boston. I don't mind the price point, but would prefer something much more traditional and straightforward than we have in Boston at that level. I've never walked out of there not happy.

                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                      I am not allowed to compare NYC to Boston or I'll be hounded. So...staying on topic...I go to Sakanaya often and the sushi there is exemplary. OK, it's dining at home, but to paraphrase Paul Newman when he was asked about marital fidelity: The food always tastes better at home.

                                      www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                      -----
                                      Sakanaya
                                      75 Linden St, Boston, MA 02134

                                      1. re: scotty27

                                        Sorry, a bit OT for sure. We checked out Sakanaya on your rec and we were blown away. It is now our go to sashimi place in Boston. Great find.

                                        1. re: Gabatta

                                          Cool. Now go to New Deal for the entree.

                              3. re: Gabatta

                                Fair enough. How about: I don't consider it a good value.

                                It's a problem I have with Mistral in general. Nice room, good service, prices about 20-30% higher than they should be, in my book. That Dover Sole is the biggest ripoff of them all. People love it, regardless.

                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  I agree! I think they love the idea of "big city" dining.

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Actually the markup on the Dover Sole is in line with that of other seafood dishes at Mistral (and most other restaurants that serve it).

                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                      I would not be surprised to learn that the markup is consistent with how Mistral marks up its other dishes. But I wonder how you conclude that other restaurants are doing the same thing. Didn't someone just cite an Oceanaire version at $40? Is it possible that just portion sizes account for that difference?

                                      As I said, I just find Mistral overpriced overall. That's purely a subjective impression, and one obviously not shared by the crowds it still attracts after many years.

                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                      -----
                                      Oceanaire
                                      40 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108

                              4. Happy Birthday! Take a long weekend and enjoy Dover sole in London...:)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: ParisLady

                                  Whole Foods is advertising Dover Sole for 5.99/lb

                                  1. re: phonelady

                                    Then it is really Pacific sole. Real Dover sole will never be sold at $5.99/lb.

                                    1. re: phonelady

                                      See above..junk.

                                      It's really sleezy that Whole Paycheck stoops that low. It's borderline bait and switch.

                                  2. On sale @ Whole Foods on River Street: $5.99 a pound! Beat that! Just bought some. Not as juicy as North Atlantic, but still good. Further, it's environmentally very nice:

                                    Dover Sole - Pacific

                                    Dover Sole (Microstomus pacificus) is considered a flatfish, as is Halibut, Turbot, Fluke and Flounder, belonging to the family Pleuronectidae. It is not a true sole, but a Flounder. All flatfish have a very unique characteristic — they are born upright with normally placed eyes, then as they mature one eye moves to the other side of their body. At the same time their body tilts and they begin to swim flat, with the eye side up.

                                    Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood WATCH® states "Pacific Flatfish such as sole, flounder and halibut are "Good Alternative" to those from the Atlantic where historical overfishing has reduced populations."

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: scotty27

                                      Did you bother to read the thread above?

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        I did. That's why I noted the sustainability of the Whole Foods fish.

                                        1. re: scotty27

                                          Point being, that saying yippee yahoo I got pacific "Dover Sole" instead of the real thing is kinda like saying well I got button mushrooms instead of truffles. Yippee for you, but they are apparently not at all the same, and calling pacific sole Dover Sole is a quasi deceptive misrepresentation. But again, Yippee for you.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            You're right. It's not the same, but don't buyers know that? I did. Atlantic sole costs about 5x as much. The term for the sole at Whole Foods is: Pacific Dover Sole.

                                            You buy a Rolex on Canal Street, you think you got a Rolex? No, you got a watch.

                                            But on topic: Years ago, I had a good version of Atlantic Dover sole at Hamersley's.

                                            www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                        2. re: StriperGuy

                                          Just saw it in Market Basket's flyer for next week - 4.99/lb advertised as "West Coast Dover Sole"

                                          1. re: phonelady

                                            Truth in advertising!

                                        3. re: scotty27

                                          The signs at the store don't say "Pacific Dover Sole"; they say "Dover Sole." I was just at a big WF. You can see it's not real Dover Sole: wrong color, wrong size, etc.

                                          1. re: lergnom

                                            You're right. The signs should say: Pacific Dover Sole. It is real Dover sole; it's real Pacific Dover Sole. If a buyer thinks it is the same as the $30 a pound retail Atlantic version, I would like to sell them a watch, a real Rolex, only $200.

                                            1. re: scotty27

                                              Was at Fresh Market in Hingham and they are doing the same thing and advertising it.

                                              "Dover Sole" not Pacific Dover Sole.

                                              1. re: typhoonfish

                                                Why not say something to them? By the way: I cooked some last night and it has the faint texture of the Atlantic fish and that slightly nutty flavor. Delicious. Nit Atlantic, but delicious.

                                                www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                1. re: scotty27

                                                  Well, I guess someone did, because there were signs ALL OVER the seafood department at the Newton Whole Foods when I was there last night that very clearly said "Pacific Dover Sole"...People were buying it like it was the last fish on earth! FWIW, they have it on sale til Mar.1...

                                        4. Believe I just saw it on the menu at Smith and Wollensky. Classic preparation (brown butter/lemon) for about $40.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: keith

                                            That's how I prepare pompano, sort of a warm water cousin of Dover sole, so similar in delicate flavour and texture. Usually I add a few small capers. My problem is that if I am porterhouse hungry and ordering either of these regal fish, I could eat 3 of them.
                                            I speculate that the OP pines for the days when Dover sole was always de-boned and plated tableside. Old farts like MC Slim and I remember.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              Pompano is a fabulous fish, used to get that often when I lived in Miami. Have only seen it on a Boston menu once or twice over the years.

                                              I'm struggling to remember when I last saw tableside deboning of a fish in a restaurant in the United States outside of a movie. Locke-Ober, maybe? Dining Room at the old Ritz (now the Taj)? Omonia? It's far more common in Europe, where I've experienced it a few times in the past few years, including at some pretty modest places. It's impressive to witness.

                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                              -----
                                              Locke-Ober
                                              3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                I had Dover sole in Copenhagen a couple of years ago, deboned at the table. It was wonderful, but I'm not sure I could tell much difference from flounder.

                                                I'm pretty sure that the roasted branzino special I got at Hamersley's a while back was deboned tableside, so I guess it still happens here occasionally.

                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  Agree that the Mistral version is a special treat, and well worth it for the quality of the fish, and the ingenious way of serving it boneless but with the head and skin and tail intact.

                                                  I thought they did a nice job at La Voile, too—beautiful beurre blanc to slather all over it.

                                                  -----
                                                  La Voile
                                                  261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    Haven't had fish deboned tableside in Boston in about 25 years - & that was at Legal's in Park Plaza. Doubt they do that anymore (no do they make Coquilles St Jacques, which used to be my favorite dish there). Hubby used to do French service when he was a waiter MANY years ago, but that's also something that's pretty much obsolete nowadays too.

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Had dover sole at Locke-Ober last spring and they deboned it tableside. It was great but not sure it is so much better than grey sole to make it worth the price difference.

                                                      -----
                                                      Locke-Ober
                                                      3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

                                                      1. re: emilief

                                                        Legal Seafood does it tableside at Chestnut Hill sometimes.