Diver scallops.

Recently I've dined in some middle tier restaurants that list "diver scallops" on their menu. To me that means that they should be fresh, preferably shucked in the kitchen. I've tried to corner some restaurant staff on this and one answer (which I expected) is that they come in "fresh frozen." My answer back has been, "if these were really diver scallops you'd be charging a lot more for them." Am I right on this??

  • Posted by: pierino
  • August 18, 2010


healthierkitchen June 14, 2011
Sadly, in some restaurants what is sold as scallop is not even a frozen scallop but a piece cut out of a cheaper fish.
boulangere June 14, 2011
Yeah, like diver scallops in Montana. We've had this *conversation*. There's nothing wrong with restaurants trying to upscale their menus, just please do it honestly.
pierino June 14, 2011
I'm pretty sure that the places that do this don't even know the meaning of the term and for sure they are betting that their customers don't. When I've brought this up at restaurants I tend to get polite smiles, "I'll tell the chef." I mean diver scallops in Arizona? They just want to use the cachette of the term even if they don't actually up the price.

Today I had a pizza which supposedly included "wild mushrooms". Except that they were just plain brown mushrooms cleverly flavored with truffle oil. It did taste good but I remain a believer in honesty in labeling your plates.
betteirene June 14, 2011
You are correct, sir. They are called "diver" because they are hand-picked by scuba divers (20 lbs. on one tankful of oxygen is considered an excellent haul), not dredged up in mass quantitites off the ocean floor with nets.

In international waters, scallops have no season. Otherwise, the season for diver scallops runs from November to April. If you were served true diver scallops, they would have had to have been frozen if they were served to you in June.

ChefJune June 14, 2011
Especially with scallops, you should be able to tell -- at least somewhat -- about their quality by the price they're charging for the dish. REAL diver scallops are expensive. And very rare.
thirschfeld August 19, 2010
Yes, big pet peeve of mine.
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