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September 08, 2007



The ins and outs of googlelings!
The fish sound excellent. It's such a good feeling to get to that right answer!


I just discovered your page "Toast" today. I'm sorry I had not discovered it before this.

I believe that the term "Virginia Spots" is a very old term (in Pittsburgh) for sea bass. You will find the term used on many an "old timer's menu" in Pittsburgh. In fact - what many restaurants ACTUALLY use is flounder - cut to LOOK like Virginia sea bass. It is cut into a little 2-inch by 3- to 4-inch piece with a little "V" at the top (at the widest part). YES!!!! It is dredged in vegetable oil -- and then in fine bread crumbs. Then it is pan-fried. I've worked in many kitchens --and seen this MANY times.
Also, DAVIO's was originally named after its founding chef, Chef David Ayn. And yes, the proudly "stout" clown in the painting DOES INDEED look like David. David is very elusive. 30 years ago he owned "Cafe Cappuccino" in the Bank Building, a place called "Mother Russia" on Liberty Avenue (David is of Russian decent), was the Chef at "Murphy's Red Door," was a Sous Chef at the Sheraton at Station Square, was the Chef at De Blasio's (Virginia Manor)for a while... and now? I don't know. He is very ELUSIVE. He received his initial training by helping a chef at the Park Schenley (once a luxury hotel). He did not get paid for his training. He volunteered. He wanted to learn the art of cooking. If any one knows where the Elusive David Ayn is--- Could you please e-mail me? quiotejane@msn.com


I live in Philadelphia and I was having dinner with my wife when I explained to her what "Virginia Spots' are. Obviously, being from the Jersey shore she was not familiar. She told me to Google and so I did.

My mother still lives in the burgh, and my most fond memories of Virginia Spots come from eating dinner at the PAA when I was a child (Pittsburgh Athletic Association) with my grandparents.

Does anyone know a restaurant in Pittsburgh that offers Spots on a menu? I would love to take my wife there so she can experience this wonderful fish. Feel free to email at fjkiv@hotmail.com. Thanks


I just had spots yesterday at Storms (last nme of the owners) which is in downtown Pittsburgh in the Law and Finance Building at 429 4th Avenue (right across 4th Avenue from One Oxford Centre which is on Grant Street and 4th).


Their phone number is 412/288-4321.


Thanks Jill, I'm going home to see my mom for Easter. I'll pass on my annual Tessaro's pilgrimage and take my wife to Storms for lunch. Thanks again!

Autrice DelDrago

Virginia Spot (Leiostomus xanthurus) called a Spot because the males have a spot behind their gill. Virginia Spot are sweet meat. You can fillet them (Wholey will do it for you, if you ask.) I think they are on sale right now (Oct. 2 2008) for under $2 a pound. We bought two fish today, and had them cleaned by the mongers, which ran us $3.10 total.

We do a basic pan fry. We sprinkle each fillet with salt, white pepper, onion powder and Hungarian paprika, then fry for 5 minutes total in hot olive oil. (Penn Mac has some of the best extra virgin olive oil!) You can add a nice green salad and a smooth white wine. Be careful of any small bones that may remain.

Scoglio's had Spot on the menu, but I am not sure who serves them now. You can Google it, however.

429 4TH AVE
(412) 263-0545

I hope this helps.

Rebecca Wanovich

I, too, bought some spots at Wholey's the day after Thanksgiving and found your blog while trying to find out how to prepare it. Here's a link that shares a recipe:
I haven't tried it yet, though.


Talking with my father today, he mentioned going to lunch at a place with a friend and she said the Virgina Spots were great. (Piccolina's???) My father is not a fish eater, nor the rest of my family, so growing up in the Burgh, I never heard this term. So I looked it up today. Along with seeing many sites that mention Pittsburgh, I found this link. Pretty straightforward. http://www.vaseafood.org/consumers/factsheets/spot.htm

Next time I'm home, I'll ask to be taken to lunch to have Virginia Spots!


I am not much for fish but yes I was in the Burgh a few days ago and had some spot English style. They baked them in a pan with light bread crumbs and maybe butter and had a light white sauce on them. To die for. Yes it was Picolinis in upper ST. Clair.

Pittsburgh BBQ

virginia spots have great taste indeed, i love to cook them

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