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In Praise of the Fish Sandwich

Perilagu Khan Mar 29, 2012 07:50 AM

I love fish sandwiches, but having spent the vast majority of my life far from the ocean, I'm sure I've never sampled the best that's out there.

Speaking of which, what is the best fish sandwich you've sampled? How was it prepared?

  1. i
    INDIANRIVERFL Mar 29, 2012 07:57 AM

    Wooley's Fish Market in the Strip in Pittsburgh. Had to wait for it to be cooked. Long lines during lunch.

    From 10 years ago. Hope it is still there.

    1 Reply
      bagofwater Mar 29, 2012 12:02 PM

      It's still there, and going strong. Pittsburgh is a fish sandwich town.

    2. ipsedixit Mar 29, 2012 08:11 AM


      Ok, that's not fair since that' easily No. 1.

      Second Best? Probably a breaded deep-fried cod sandwich I had in Vancouver a while back.

      1. carolinadawg Mar 29, 2012 08:17 AM

        Fried grouper sandwich at BO's Fish Wagon in Key West. Love that place!

        1 Reply
        1. re: carolinadawg
          kpaumer Mar 30, 2012 11:04 AM

          I hade a grouper sandwich from BO's back in the 80's. Remember his slogan, "If it smells like fish, it ain't fresh. I didn't realize how good fresh fish could taste!

        2. l
          LeoLioness Mar 29, 2012 08:26 AM

          Lobster roll from Neptune Oyster in Boston. I like the hot buttered version with a squeeze of lemon on it.

          7 Replies
          1. re: LeoLioness
            ipsedixit Mar 29, 2012 08:36 AM

            That's not a fish sandwich.

            1. re: ipsedixit
              linguafood Mar 29, 2012 09:02 AM

              Neither is the FoF '-P

              1. re: linguafood
                ipsedixit Mar 29, 2012 09:06 AM

                Agreed! :-)

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  emmekin Apr 2, 2012 09:42 PM


              2. re: ipsedixit
                LeoLioness Mar 29, 2012 09:10 AM

                Best (shell)fish sandwich, then.

                1. re: LeoLioness
                  ipsedixit Mar 29, 2012 09:12 AM

                  That really deserves its own thread because there are great soft-shell crab sandwiches that I can think that would be worthy contenders.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    LeoLioness Mar 29, 2012 09:19 AM

                    You're probably right. I'd put a good clam toll up against anything!

            2. h
              HDinCentralME Mar 29, 2012 09:05 AM

              Fresh salmon filet, grilled, served on toasted roll w/ red pepper aoili (and fresh-cut wedge fries) at (now closed) 93 Townsend, Boothbay Harbor, Maine

              Fresh salmon filet, grilled/blackened, served on toasted roll w/cilantro mayo (and sweet potato fries) at Montsweag Roadhouse, Woolwich, Maine.

              1. g
                GH1618 Mar 29, 2012 09:07 AM

                I'll vote for the Halibut Burger at Dundee's Bar & Grill in Seaside, Oregon, since I just had one last week and loved it:


                1 Reply
                1. re: GH1618
                  Perilagu Khan Mar 29, 2012 09:24 AM

                  The fish sandwich is one "dish" in which cheese and fish work tremendously together, although I think the cheese should be an exiguous complement rather than a competitor with the fish.

                2. JungMann Mar 29, 2012 09:11 AM

                  I have always been a fan of the simple fried fish sandwich (usually perch or catfish) with naught but a thin spread of mayo, hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, onions and maybe a pickle or two. For homemade sandwiches, I'm going to have to go with the tuna melt or spicy grilled fish pitas with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, tahini and yogurt.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JungMann
                    Perilagu Khan Mar 29, 2012 09:21 AM

                    Your simple fried fish sandwich sounds a bit like a catfish po' boy.

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                      JungMann Mar 29, 2012 09:56 AM

                      Almost, but on white bread it's drier and less chewy.

                  2. mamachef Mar 29, 2012 10:29 AM

                    1. A tuna melt with Swiss cheese on excellent Rye or Sourdough, perfectly pan-grilled, at home.
                    2. A Hot Fish Sandwich at Prince Louis' Hot Fish in Monroeville, LA., about 15 years ago. A huge crunchy filet of delicious clean-tasting Catfish on a toasted bun, with hot sauce, mayo, shredded lettuce and pickle. And OMG was it goooood.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mamachef
                      kubasd Mar 29, 2012 03:24 PM

                      add a little tomato to your #1 on rye and you have my favorite sandwich of all time...

                    2. MGZ Mar 29, 2012 11:06 AM

                      The gold standard fish sandwich (at least the one I grew up eating) is made with fried* flounder or fluke. It is served on a hard roll with tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomato. The sandwich is best when the fish was caught by yourself earlier in the day and the tomato was similarly the result of your own labors. Personally, I have a weak spot for placing a slice of Swiss cheese directly on the fish so that it melts a bit.

                      *Flour, egg, breadcrumbs – not batter.

                      1. Passadumkeg Mar 29, 2012 11:07 AM

                        In Maine, the fried haddock sandwich is king of the fish sandwich. A 2" fillet of haddock breaded and deep fried, served hanging off the endst of the bread w/ lettuce, tomato, lemon and tartar sauce or ketchup. In the other seafood.
                        Growing up in Jersey, every fried was a fried flounder or soft shell crab (in the summer) on rye.
                        In SD. the fish taco rules.
                        And let me add the Maine lobster, fride clam, shrimp or scallop roll on a hot dog roll.
                        God, am I mising good fish here in NM!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                          Perilagu Khan Mar 29, 2012 11:30 AM

                          Surely you can get aholt of some nice trout, Pass.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                            Passadumkeg Mar 29, 2012 11:53 AM

                            Trout does not deserve to be eaten on a sandwhich. I make truite bleu.

                            ps drove through Lubbock last Sat., noon time.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                              Perilagu Khan Mar 29, 2012 12:38 PM

                              Thought I felt a disturbance in The Force.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                James Cristinian Mar 31, 2012 10:21 AM

                                No good fish should be eaten on a sandwiih with lettuce and tomato masking the flavor. Down here on the Texas Gulf Coast, I catch speckled trout, redfisn, and flounder and would nver consider putting them on a sandwich. There is a place by the beach in Surfside that does a fish po boy with whatever is fresh, usually ling or red snapper. I get it plain and eat the fish separately, adding a couple of fried shrimp shrimp and oysters.

                                1. re: James Cristinian
                                  Passadumkeg Mar 31, 2012 10:00 PM

                                  I like it and the haddock fillet is nearly 2" thick. Eat my shrimp w/ lemon and mayo.

                          2. c
                            chocolatetartguy Mar 29, 2012 12:06 PM

                            Are we talking fish here or seafood.

                            Softshell crab po-boy at Streetcar Sandwiches, New Orleans. Never had their fish but I am sure it was excellent.

                            1. b
                              bagofwater Mar 29, 2012 12:20 PM

                              I have two favorites, both of them in Pittsburgh.

                              1) The Oyster House. They have several locations, but the one to go to is in the Market Square area of downtown. It's cod, coated with a seasoned breading, and deep fried. You get a good-sized filet on a very oversized bun. I don't know what it is about their sandwich, but it has a unique flavor I've never found duplicated. Good fresh cut fries, too.

                              2) Dorido's, South Hills. This is a bit of a dive restaurant, but is very clean. Get there early, as it is quite a wait. They, too, serve cod, breaded and deep fried. It is a huge sandwich (the "junior" size is more than enough for anyone), and really delicious. They have their frying methods nailed down, as the sandwich is never greasy.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bagofwater
                                laliz Mar 29, 2012 12:34 PM

                                put some potato chips in there and smoosh a bit

                                1. re: bagofwater
                                  INDIANRIVERFL Mar 29, 2012 01:49 PM

                                  Another reason in the plus column to go to my 40th high school reunion next fall.

                                2. m
                                  MonMauler Mar 29, 2012 01:41 PM

                                  Most friday's my friends and I go to a restaurant-bar and have fried fish sandwiches and pitchers of beer before heading out for a night drinking and playing poker. Most of the food at this establishment is underwhelming, but the fish sandwich is absolute glory:

                                  It is a battered and deep-fried piece of cod placed on a sesame seed bun such that the fried fish protrudes about 4" from the bun on both ends. I always get mine with a couple pieces of melted American cheese. Usually, I cut the fish and stack it such that it fits in the bun, then I slather the bun with tartar sauce and douse the fish with hot sauce. I usually pour a decent amount of ketchup on my plate as well, to dip the sandwich in. I usually have fries with some malt vinegar or potato pancakes with sour cream on the side. And pitchers of beer. Many pitchers of beer. Usually Sam Adams or Yeungling.

                                  It's my friday tradition and one I will not easily part with.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: MonMauler
                                    Perilagu Khan Mar 29, 2012 01:51 PM

                                    Aye, 'tis a fine tradition.

                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                      Miri1 Mar 29, 2012 02:12 PM

                                      The Fish Grill in LA (several locations), a kosher fish place with great grilled fish. They also make a great sandwich with either grilled or breaded and fried fish, tartar sauce, red onion, to ato and co,e saw mix. It's so good. Plus you get 2 sides, fries, baked potato, salad, rice or Cole saw or israeli salad. Yum!

                                  2. Steve Green Mar 30, 2012 07:55 AM

                                    Of yore: Breaded and fried very fresh fillets (species unknown) on a burger bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and tartar sauce, from a long gone drive-in overlooking the ocean, on Tamarack Avenue in Carlsbad, CA. in the early 70's. I still dream about that one.

                                    More recently: Grilled salmon w/tomato & tartar sauce on french roll at Hayes St. Grill stand, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Francisco (I actually prefer their crabcake sandwich, but that seems to be out of the scope of this thread)

                                    1. sunshine842 Mar 30, 2012 11:18 AM

                                      Fried grouper, at any nondescript beach hut in Florida within view of the Gulf of Mexico. (for whatever reason, they're never as good on the East Coast....the Keys, okay)

                                      1. q
                                        Querencia Mar 30, 2012 04:53 PM

                                        I remember a nostalgia scene in a novel where two women, remembering childhood fish-fries, agree that the item must be pronounced "fish sammich" and must be made with a slice of soft white bread bent around a chunk of hot fried fish. Sounds no-frills and authentic.

                                        1. f
                                          fourunder Mar 31, 2012 09:18 AM

                                          Like ipse, I have a soft spot for the Filet of Fish...but living on the east coast, there's never been a shortage of fish availability in restaurants or shore town fish joints. Personally, I prefer bread crumbs or cracker meal for my fried fish. Like others have mentioned, flounder and cod are the most common, but I can recall an old diner in my area having Haddock on Fridays with two sides for around 5 bucks. At the Houston's Chain, they have a very enjoyable Grilled Grouper sandwich.

                                          A sleeper place to consider is the many owned Korean fish markets located in the inner cities. You can get any variety of fish they have available fried to order, but one of the staples on their menu board is the Fried Fresh Whiting Sandwich.....three fried filets on two pieces of Wonder Bread for 2-3 bucks.

                                          1. c
                                            C70 Apr 1, 2012 08:12 AM

                                            another filet o' fish fan here, and once in a while, when craving junk, I make them at home. good quality fishsticks, american cheese, lettuce, and homemade tartar sauce (mayo, lemon juice, finely chopped dill pickle and capers). YUM.

                                            All-time favorite, though, is the grouper sandwich from Frenchy's in Clearwater.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: C70
                                              jeanmarieok Apr 1, 2012 12:33 PM

                                              I confess to once in awhile buying fish sticks to make at home filet o fish sandwiches. They are delicious!

                                              1. re: C70
                                                subal Apr 1, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                what brand is considered to be 'good' fish sticks?

                                                1. re: subal
                                                  C70 Apr 1, 2012 06:03 PM

                                                  I live in Canada, so what I do is read labels, look for the one with the most actual fish, and least filler, salt & fat.

                                              2. AreBe Apr 1, 2012 12:22 PM

                                                Chargrilled amberjack at the Seafood festival in Destin, Florida

                                                1. c
                                                  cheeseisheaven Apr 1, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                  the tuna burger @ Petite Crevette in Brookllyn...
                                                  here is a great pic of it

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cheeseisheaven
                                                    Perilagu Khan Apr 1, 2012 04:26 PM

                                                    Verily, that doesn't look half bad.

                                                  2. w
                                                    wewwew Apr 1, 2012 03:43 PM

                                                    Fish Sandwich at Pearl's or Mary's Fish Camp both in NYC. Just right any time.

                                                    1. Veggo Apr 1, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                      1) Hamburguesa de pescado at La Tarraya, Playa del Carmen MX. Thin fish slices, fried milanesa style, on a bun w/ lettuce & mayo, habanero salsa on the side. Simple but delicious, about $1.70. I have probably eaten 200 of them over the years.

                                                      2) Grouper sandwich in Florida -fried, grilled, or blackened, with Cholula sauce.
                                                      3) Grouper reuben at Woody's River Roo in Ellenton and at Captain Brians in Sarasota.

                                                      1. b
                                                        beachmouse Apr 3, 2012 01:58 PM

                                                        I've been in coastal Florida long enough now that I can't come up with a single best ever or a dozen best ever fish sandwiches. But I'll throw some love to fresh from the docks grilled red snapper. It's a delicate fish that's easy to over or under cook, so a lot of people and places just want to go straight to frying it because it's less risky. But when grilled by someone who knows what they're doing and lightly dressed so the fish remains the star of the show, it's sublime.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: beachmouse
                                                          Perilagu Khan Apr 3, 2012 01:59 PM

                                                          Agreed. I had broiled red snapper a couple of times in St. Kitts and I don't know that I've ever tasted better fish. I've never encountered a red snapper sandwich though.

                                                          1. re: beachmouse
                                                            sunshine842 Apr 3, 2012 10:30 PM

                                                            my only hesitation would be putting on a sandwich...it would be a shame to cover up any of the goodness that is a well-grilled piece of fresh snapper.

                                                          2. Passadumkeg Apr 5, 2012 11:04 AM

                                                            Herring w/ sour cream and onions on open-faced dark rye bread.
                                                            Lox and cream cheese on a real bagel.
                                                            Sardines and scrambled eggs w/ chives on toast.

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