The Best Fish Sandwich(es)

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cunamara
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2003/12/08 17:08:53 (permalink)

The Best Fish Sandwich(es)

The best fish sandwich that I've ever had can be found at Rick's American Café on the island of Roatan in the West Caribbean. The proprietors are U.S. expats from the commercial fishing industry along the Massachussets coast. As such they really understand how to not mess up a fine piece of fish -- in this case, an impeccably batter-fried slab of fresh. local grouper fillet served with lettuce, tomato, and onion (which I leave off because I can't eat much raw onion), plus a good NE-style tartar sauce, and enclosed in a toasted sesame seed bun. As a fish-eating fool from coastal Rhode Island, I haven't had better.

Tom
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113 Replies Related Threads

    JimInKy
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/08 17:38:52 (permalink)
    One of the best fish sandwiches I've had was at The Island Cafe on Isle of Palms, South Carolina in March 1997. A local resident highly recommended their sandwich and I was thrilled with it. Unfortunately, I didn't learn what kind of fish was served.

    Incidentally, I had perhaps the best pan fried scallops of my life at this little restaurant.

    Fresh seafood, well prepared, is what one expects from good Charleston area restaurants. I've long believed that cooks and chefs in the low country know seafood and grow up knowing what to do with it.


    #2
    Michael Stern
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/08 17:42:17 (permalink)
    My personal favorite is whitefish on Juilleret's toast, Charlevoix, Michigan:

    #3
    lleechef
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 12:41:10 (permalink)
    Mr. Stern, a good piece of Lake Michigan whitefish is indeed hard to beat!! That looks awesome! A few other places to add to the list of great fish sammiches would be: Yankee Lobster Fish Market in Boston and The Sail Loft, also in Boston......nice, thick portions of haddock lightly coated with clam fry mix and fried, served on a nice soft bun. Yummy.
    #4
    i95
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 12:44:21 (permalink)
    A grouper sandwich at Waldo's in Vero Beach, Florida for me !
    #5
    CheeseWit
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 12:48:17 (permalink)
    I like Benkovitz's fish sandwich in Pittsburgh.
    #6
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 12:48:37 (permalink)
    There are several ethnically owned small restaurants that specialize in selling white fish sandwiches in Nashville, TN. They are pretty basic with most offering hot sauce and onions. They are excellent, extremely primative and some sell that sandwich alone.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #7
    lleechef
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 12:59:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by CheeseWit

    I like Benkovitz's fish sandwich in Pittsburgh.

    I second that emotion!!!
    #8
    renfrew
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 13:42:41 (permalink)
    Great to see a posting on this subject. It is often such a poorly thought offering on many a menu.

    Now, the fish sandwiches my mom used to make me for lunch growing up cant be beat, however I absolutely love the fish sandwich at Hooters albeit only at this particular one.

    In college (Hartford, CT) we would go to the one on the Berlin Tpke in Berlin, CT. A fresh fried grouper filet, with melted cheese and carmelized onions on a great long roll.

    Man that was good.

    #9
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 13:47:11 (permalink)
    One of the best fish sandwiches I've had was the fried haddock sandwich at Flanders Fish Market in Flanders, which is part of East Lyme, Connecticut.
    #10
    seafarer john
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 15:20:03 (permalink)
    Fried or broiled grouper sandwiches are the staple of every joint in the Tampa Bay area. I can't ever remember having a bad one (well, sometimes the bun is not so hot - but then you just ignore the bun and eat the filet) and on average they are very very good. There's something about a grouper filet that defies the worst efforts of the worst cooks to make it bad.
    #11
    Lone Star
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 15:27:31 (permalink)
    For easy fish sandwiches at home, I love Schwan's haddock squares. They are delicious on a bun with a little tartar sauce or red sauce. One of my "weeknight" standbys.
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 15:48:06 (permalink)
    Wholey's fish Sandwich in Pittsburgh. 2nd prize goes to the Walleye Sandwich at Tavern on Grand in St. Paul MN.

    Other Notables. Best Fish Sandwich in Baseball- The Pollock Sandwich at Hadlock Field in Portland ME.

    Best Fish Sandwich served at a festival. The grilled salmon on a bun served at various outdoor events in Seattle
    #13
    cunamara
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 16:53:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    I absolutely love the fish sandwich at Hooters albeit only at this particular one. In college (Hartford, CT) we would go to the one on the Berlin Tpke in Berlin, CT. A fresh fried grouper filet, with melted cheese and carmelized onions on a great long roll.


    The one I had there, some 8-10 years ago I admit, was no mean sandwich but I recall the fish batter being a little too much on the greasy-crispy side with the overall conconction leaving the fish somewhat overwhelmed. But, hey, with a side of rings and a few mugs of beer? Why not? {brrrp -- 'scuse}. Besides, who was paying all that much attention to the food?

    Tom
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    cunamara
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 16:59:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Stern

    My personal favorite is whitefish on Juilleret's toast, Charlevoix, Michigan


    Pray tell, what is "Juilleret's toast" or who is "Juilleret," as the case may be? -Tom
    #15
    cunamara
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 17:50:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    There's something about a grouper filet that defies the worst efforts of the worst cooks to make it bad.


    Perhaps the grouper sandwich at Rick's (on Roatan) has an edge in that their commercial fisherman/supplier is a regular there and, as such, ensures the very first order of prime quality and freshness, while the proprietors, as ex-commercial-fishing people from NE, have an unusual abhorence for messing up a fine piece of fish. I wouldn't stick my nose up at any grouper sandwich that I've eaten but this one, to my palate, has decided edge. There's nothing really extroardinary about the peparation concept but the result highlights the exceptionally fine fish rather nicely.

    The only weakness, now that you've brought it up, concerns the quality of their sesame seed bun, although it's the very best they can get here on an island where the quality of available bread products is generally dismal.

    The quality of the lettuce and tomatoes typically available here is also quite dismal (and suspect) but they obtain both in very high quality direct from a hydroponic operation run by a local expat.

    The tartar sauce, which is in the NE-style, is worth mentioning only because they get it right on. I find most bottled varieties a little
    too mayonnaisey, or even MiracleWhipy, for my tastes while homemade offerings often either add too much onion (instant burp city for me) or other clever additives that, while sometimes not bad, end up masking the taste of the fish.

    You almost can't ruin a pork chop, for me, but I tend to be a bit of a purist when it comes to fish sandwiches, scrambled eggs and Martinis -- but that's another forum.

    Tom
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    seafarer john
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 20:22:43 (permalink)
    OK, Cunamara, just how do you scramble a couple of eggs?
    #17
    kdiammond
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 20:41:10 (permalink)
    The best fish sandwich that I ever had was brought to me by a friend when I was 20. It was a cold day at the crappiest job that I ever held (even worse than selling Time-Life books), I was broke and living in a rooming house, and here was a hot lunch! A whole gutted, bones and all thin fish, pan fried in cornmeal. This was slapped between 2 slices of Wonder fluff and sprinkled with hot sauce. Never had one better in the 22 years since.
    #18
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/09 22:47:09 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    The best fish sandwich I ever had was a floating pig at Mae's Whiz [All around] on West Market Street in Louisville, Kentucky about 3:30 A. M. one drizzly morning. A floating pig, obviously obtainable nowhere else, was a breaded, seasoned whiting filet topped with cheese and bacon and served on some sort of long, chewy roll.
    It makes me wonder if that place, run by three sisters from Cub Run, Kentucky, is still there....
    Nostalgically, Ort. Carlton in Floating Pig-less Athens, Georgia.
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    Poverty Pete
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 02:47:52 (permalink)
    Sundancer, can you provide more info on the Nashville area? I've been here a year now, but still getting to know my way around town.
    #20
    lleechef
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 04:30:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    Dearfolk,
    The best fish sandwich I ever had was a floating pig at Mae's Whiz [All around] on West Market Street in Louisville, Kentucky about 3:30 A. M. one drizzly morning. A floating pig, obviously obtainable nowhere else, was a breaded, seasoned whiting filet topped with cheese and bacon and served on some sort of long, chewy roll.
    It makes me wonder if that place, run by three sisters from Cub Run, Kentucky, is still there....
    Nostalgically, Ort. Carlton in Floating Pig-less Athens, Georgia.

    Ort. what are you doing eating at 3:30AM????
    #21
    EliseT
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 05:10:18 (permalink)
    Llechef, what are you doing posting at 2 am? Thank God some of us are on Pacific standard time!
    #22
    jpatweb
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 10:50:32 (permalink)
    For fried fish sandwiches in Washington, DC, head for Horace and Dickies in the northeast section of town. It's well off the beaten path, and probably best reached by cab.
    #23
    dendan
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 10:53:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    Dearfolk,
    The best fish sandwich I ever had was a floating pig at Mae's Whiz [All around] on West Market Street in Louisville, Kentucky about 3:30 A. M. one drizzly morning. A floating pig, obviously obtainable nowhere else, was a breaded, seasoned whiting filet topped with cheese and bacon and served on some sort of long, chewy roll.
    It makes me wonder if that place, run by three sisters from Cub Run, Kentucky, is still there....
    Nostalgically, Ort. Carlton in Floating Pig-less Athens, Georgia.


    I'd like to see a pic of the floating pig.....and why the name" />
    #24
    lleechef
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 12:09:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by clothier

    Oh, one more Northern Michigan note. Most local places used to serve whitefish that was caught by the local indians (they still have gill-netting rights granted by some treaty, maybe the one that gave Ohio Toledo, and MI the U.P. but maybe not). Anyway, most of the local indian fisherman have stopped fishing because they make so much money off of the indian "owned" casinos that now dot Northern Michigan. It's been a little tougher to get good fish since no one has stepped in to take up the slack. It's also a little more expensive.

    Now back to your sandwich news...

    When I worked in Traverse City all our whitefish and walleye came from the native Indians. Too bad they prefer casinos......but I suppose it IS a little warmer.
    #25
    lleechef
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 12:13:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Llechef, what are you doing posting at 2 am? Thank God some of us are on Pacific standard time!

    What else does anyone awake do at 2AM? THINK ABOUT FOOD!
    #26
    i95
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 12:16:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jpatweb

    For fried fish sandwiches in Washington, DC, head for Horace and Dickies in the northeast section of town. It's well off the beaten path, and probably best reached by cab.


    jpat, that place sounds great. I live less than an hour from the District (and west of you) and have yet to hit either this place or, believe it or not, Ben's Chili Bowl. I must make both part of my 2004 resolution !
    #27
    jpatweb
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 13:16:14 (permalink)
    Sounds like a plan. Horace and Dickie's is somewhere around 11th or 12 St. NE. Picture the location of Eastern Market but then go deeper into NE by about 6 blocks. Take-out only but a genuine DC dining experience.

    Ben's is a must. Very easily reached via the Metro's green line. I recommend getting desert at Cakelove, about a 5 block walk west on U St.

    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    quote:
    Originally posted by jpatweb

    For fried fish sandwiches in Washington, DC, head for Horace and Dickies in the northeast section of town. It's well off the beaten path, and probably best reached by cab.


    jpat, that place sounds great. I live less than an hour from the District (and west of you) and have yet to hit either this place or, believe it or not, Ben's Chili Bowl. I must make both part of my 2004 resolution !
    #28
    i95
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 14:26:12 (permalink)
    Thanks !!
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    cunamara
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    RE: The Best Fish Sandwich(es) 2003/12/10 16:20:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    OK, Cunamara, just how do you scramble a couple of eggs?


    With love and respect. It never ceases to amaze me that two of the simplest things to make are so widely screwed up: scrambled eggs and Martinis. I included fish sandwiches in my comment because a nice piece of fish is also something that is so easily messed up and, often prefering bistro-style eating, I greatly enjoy a fish sandwich at the bar.

    Some years ago, a restaurant reviewer in the area where I originally hail from once had the bright idea of taking along a renowned chef to test the mettle of a new chef at a local French restaurant. Expecting him to order something relatively complicated, he was momentarily surprised when the chef said, simply, "Just ask him to to fix me a piece of fish."

    Tom
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