Eating cooked (or raw for sushi fans) fresh wild fish is a longtime favourite dining experience treat for your scribe. In the old days supplies of wild fish were abundant (even Atlantic Cod & Chinook King Salmon) and much easier for fishers to catch. They were commonly found in supermarkets at low prices that were affordable for everyone. Fast forward many decades later where supply is more limited with many wild fish species endangered and a substantially increased demand (including the influences of a healthy diet) has resulted in an expensive ticket.
One type of fish IMHO still has a very good QPR score. This is Flatfish which can come in many varieties ranging from a simple thin sustainable Flounder or popular Plaice to a delicious tasty Turbot or nutty firm Dover Sole. My fav continues to be a thicker sweet delicate and flaky Petrale Sole (in Europe a similar Lemon Sole). It is available freshly caught locally nearly every Friday at my local Vancouver fish market. They sort the thicker Petrale (which they label as Brill) from the thinner Flounder fish but still at a reasonable retail price of $18.99/lb Canadian. Petrale has a nostalgic warm spot for me having enjoyed it many times cooked at its finest during the late seventies and early eighties heyday of two amazing San Francisco restaurants Tadich Grill (on California Street is the oldest continuously run restaurant in California from 1849 and 3rd in the USA) and Sam’s Grill (from 1867 now on Bush Street 5th oldest in the USA). Long line-ups taking no reservations but a wonderful wine corkage fee of $1 or less. The Sand Dabs were also excellent! Usually brought along a California Chardonnay to match with the grilled fish which were great value and so tasty even produced from young vines. My records show us drinking Judgement of Paris winner 1973 Chateau Montelena & 1973 Freemark Abbey (both bought $6.50/btl & $70.20/case) while more money were three other 1973 Napa chardonnays of Mayacamas ($7/$75.60), Spring Mountain & Heitz Pinot Chardonnay Lot Z-32 (both $7.50/$81) and Hanzell (Sonoma $8). The good old days for sure. Today still enjoy regularly excellent thick local Petrale but often paired with a lively mineral Chablis. The last few weeks have been forwardly rich 2020 Butteaux 1er Cru Domaine Servin & remarkable now 90 year old vines from Christian Moreau – the outstanding complex 2015 Vaillon Cuvee Guy Moreau.
Look for value fresh fish in your local market which will undoubtedly taste somewhat different depending on their habitat and feeding patterns. What is your best QPR fish?
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