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Searching for recipe from Dini's Sea Grill

exceller97 Mar 7, 2013 11:42 AM

I looking for the recipe for Dini's tartar sauce (on Tremont). I remember as a child it was the best. I've tried my own recipes, but nothing compares. Any ideas?

  1. n
    nsgirl Mar 13, 2013 05:31 PM

    Wow. I had completely forgotten about Dini's! When I was a kid I was allowed to take the T in to have lunch here with Aunt Mary, a lifelong city girl, State House worker, and foodie; God love her.

    I miss places like this. I loved those days!

    1. l
      latertater Mar 13, 2013 01:06 PM

      Thinking about this today, I thought maybe it was evolved from an old standard like the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Here's the recipe supposedly from the 1896 edition. I think I'm going to try this myself, it sounds good - lots of pickles, herbs.


      The Boston Cooking School Cookbook
      By Fannie Merritt Farmer (1896)



      • 1/2 teaspoon mustard.
      • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar.
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
      • Few grains cayenne.
      • Yolks 2 eggs.
      • 1/2 cup olive oil.
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar.

      • 1/2 tablespoon Capers, finely chopped.
      • 1/2 tablespoon Pickles, finely chopped.
      • 1/2 tablespoon Olives, finely chopped.
      • 1/2 tablespoon Parsley, finely chopped.
      • 1/2 shallot finely chopped.
      • 1/4 teaspoon powdered tarragon.


      Mix mustard, sugar, salt, and cayenne; add yolks of eggs, and stir until thoroughly mixed, setting bowl in pan of ice water.

      Add oil, at first drop by drop, stirring with a wooden spoon or wire whisk.

      As mixture thickens, dilute with vinegar, when oil may be added more rapidly.

      Keep in cool place until ready to serve, then add remaining ingredients.

      Source: http://www.foodreference.com/html/tar...

      1 Reply
      1. re: latertater
        exceller97 Mar 13, 2013 01:33 PM

        Well...another memory pops up...This is the old Fanny Farmer Cookbook...what a treat! Unfortunately, the 2 yolks and 1/2 oil whisked together is mayonaise, which would make this too heavy, but I'm liking the addition of olives...nice idea. Thanks, laterlater (I remember a great taffy names "nowandlater")

      2. p
        purple bot Mar 12, 2013 04:15 PM

        Never ate at Dini's, but I do remember the smell of the place when you walked by. Just curious, have you had the tartar sauce at Neptune Oyster? Theirs is much different from most others I've had, in that it doesn't seem oily at all. I wonder how it compares to what you're looking for.

        1. BostonZest Mar 12, 2013 12:43 PM

          I just went through the Boston Globe archives to see if they ever mentioned it or had published the recipe. No luck but I did find the name of the last owner, Nancy Dini-Sullivan. She oversaw the final days until it closed in 1990.

          Someone here might know someone, who knows someone...


          1 Reply
          1. re: BostonZest
            exceller97 Mar 13, 2013 01:25 PM

            That's just what I was hoping for, Penny...someone who knows someone...

          2. m
            marais Mar 11, 2013 04:37 PM

            I miss Dini's, I had my first (and best) baked finnan haddie there and the baked schrod was remarkably good. Old school fish restaurants need a shout out!

            1 Reply
            1. re: marais
              exceller97 Mar 12, 2013 05:14 AM

              My mother always had the schrod...but I always had the fried scallops. The best! I was lucky enough to have one more dinner there the year before they closed...it lived up to my childhood memories.

            2. trufflehound Mar 7, 2013 03:08 PM

              I don't know if they have archives but Gourmet used to have a feature where readers would ask for specific restaurant recipes. OIt wouldn't surprise me if their schrod and tartar sauce were requested.

              8 Replies
              1. re: trufflehound
                exceller97 Mar 8, 2013 04:30 AM

                No luck, but thank you Trufflehound. It's a shame that this fabulous recipe is lost forever. I'll keep searching.

                1. re: exceller97
                  BobB Mar 8, 2013 12:03 PM

                  Keep in mind that our taste buds are quite different as adults than when we were children. It is possible that you've had similar versions in recent years that just don't taste as good as you remember because you've changed, not the tartar sauce.

                  1. re: BobB
                    exceller97 Mar 12, 2013 05:12 AM

                    I agree, BobB..tastes do change given time. However, I remember vividly the texture of the "sauce". Any sauce I've had, made or bought is "wet" or soupy. Dini's was almost dry and rather chunky. I don't believe they used mayo at all, but I think they used horseradish or capers (maybe both). Other than sour cream (which I doubt),I can't figure out what to try for the base. Due to the Italian influence, I'm thinking a marscapone-type. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

                    1. re: exceller97
                      BobB Mar 12, 2013 10:30 AM

                      Although I'm a native Bostonian of a certain age, I never went to Dini's - my childhood downtown food memories, lunching with my mother on shopping expeditions, were mostly of the old Jewish deli on Essex St - so I never saw or tasted this. You say it was dry and chunky with no mayo - was it bound by anything? What was the color? How was the flavor profile? From what you're said so far it sounds more like a type of relish than what is generally called tartar sauce.

                      1. re: BobB
                        exceller97 Mar 12, 2013 11:26 AM

                        Exactly! It was more like a relish than a sauce. The flavor was slighly sweet (might be from the pickles) and a bit tart (possibly from the horseradish). I can't figure out what the base was...it definitely wasn't mayo, but something very light in flavor. Mayo makes it too heavy, almost oily, and too soupy. I could try it with sour cream, but I'm betting it will be to tart. Mascarpone would be too sweet, I think. Maybe a combo of the two...mascarpone with a bit of sour cream. I can't think of anything else to use. The color was an off-white color. Definitely capers, pickles, I think horseradish, and lemon juice...but I can't get a base.

                        1. re: exceller97
                          BobB Mar 12, 2013 11:50 AM

                          Yogurt perhaps? Though that would have been unusual outside a Greek restaurant back then.

                          1. re: exceller97
                            tomatoaday Mar 12, 2013 04:06 PM

                            Tadich Grill, in San Francisco, uses mashed potatoes as a big part of their tartar sauce. Does this sound like it might be a possibility? If so, you could try googling copy cat Tadich tartar recipes. I don't think they have ever published it themselves. Sure is good though - I have been known to eat it on their bread.

                            1. re: tomatoaday
                              exceller97 Mar 13, 2013 06:31 AM

                              Very interesting, tomatoaday! I did some research on Tadich and saw a picture of the sauce that a customer snapped. It is too soupy. However, if just sieved potato and a touch of sour cream or yogurt was added, it might do the trick. I'm definitely going to experiment with potato. BTW...I saw pics of the restaurant inside...reminds me a little of Loch Ober in Boston...alas, another great restaurant closed. Thanks for your ideas!

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