Fish Ratings Downgrades Dover Sole to ‘AA+’; Outlook Negative

New York – Fish Ratings – 25 November 2019:

Fish Ratings has downgraded Dover Sole to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’ and assigned a Negative Outlook following a review of the fish’s performance. The rating has been removed from Rating Watch Negative.

The rating actions take account of operational challenges in the kitchen of Dick’s Ocean Grill after the departure of long-standing head chef Jacques Shiraz in August. Fish Ratings placed several Entrées, Salads and Appetizers on Rating Watch Negative following the announcement: Dover Sole, Bouillabaisse (‘BBB+’; Negative Outlook), Tuna Niçoise (‘AA’; Negative Outlook); Red Snapper Ceviche (‘A-’; Negative Outlook), and Bacon-wrapped Halibut (‘BB+’; Negative Outlook).

Dover Sole’s ‘AA+’ rating reflects concerns around ability of the new head chef, Emmanuel Macaroni, to execute strategy amid a challenging climate for upscale seafood-focused restaurants.

“When you go to a fancy place and splash out on Dover Sole, it needs to be more than just ‘good’,” said Gustav Creosote, Senior Ratings Analyst and Chief Restaurant Critic at Fish Ratings. “But in this case, although the bread crumbs on top were gold and crunchy, the fish underneath was dry and almost powdery.”

RATING SENSITIVITIES

An upgrade of Dover Sole’s Fish Default Rating would be contingent on substantially better ingredient quality and flavor metrics, as well as significantly higher side dish ratios versus current levels, which would be more in line with higher-rated Entrées, including those operating in similarly challenging environments.

The rating is primarily sensitive to pressures from ingredient quality and flavor and could be further downgraded if there is material negative deviation from the current trend, although that is not our base case.

Photo: Jeremy T. Hetzel, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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