Best of 2000: Best Sole

de'Medici
815 Fifth Avenue, Downtown
(619) 702-7228

For the 20 years that Mario Valerio was the manager of Anthony's Star of the Sea Room, the fresh petrale sole was one of its most distinguished offerings. When a new chef decided to modernize the menu, the sole was dropped. Valerio moved on to become the manager of de'Medici, an Italian restaurant offering many fish and seafood dishes. Some of his old customers discovered him there and asked, "Can you make us petrale sole?" Valerio buys three and a half pounds of fresh sole, has the head but not the tail cut off, then the fish is filleted and then butterflied (cut flat so it can be stuffed). The stuffing consists of lobster (fresh when available), crab, and shrimp meat. The fish is then closed to resemble its natural state, baked for 35 minutes, and finished with a lemon-butter glaze. This dish sells out almost every night; to prevent disappointment, order it 24 hours in advance.

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