Inspired by Harlems fried-fish shacks, Baltimores lake trout lairs, and, yes, McDonalds Filet-o-Fish (which turns 50 this year), some notable chefs are treating the undersung sandwich as if it were the new burger or something. Click through the slideshow to see versions from Talde, Eataly, and more.
This story appeared in the July 16, 2012 issue of New York Magazine.
Rockaway Boardwalk at Beach 86th St., Rockaway Beach; Friday through Sunday, weather permitting
Mexican sandwiches usually come on sturdy bolillo or telera bread. This one capitalizes on the down-market appeal of the Martin’s potato roll, an inspired delivery system for grilled local dogfish, refried beans, cabbage, and smoked-chile mayo.
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Motorboat and the Big Banana’s fish po’boy, $9
Rockaway Boardwalk at Beach 96th St., Rockaway Beach
It’s Budweiser-battered hake on a roll with lettuce, cabbage, and pickled red onion. Brilliant secret technique: griddling the bread with mayo instead of butter. If you weren’t already 50 feet away from the Atlantic Ocean, this sandwich could take you there.
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Handsome Hank’s Fish Hut’s whiting sandwich, $8
Saturdays at Smorgasburg and Sundays at Brooklyn Flea, N. 6th St. at the East River, Williamsburg
Four fried-to-order whiting fillets the size of skateboards slapped onto two slices of Texas toast the size of stop signs, a choice of coleslaws, plus all the tartar and hot sauce you want. The motto at Hank’s is “Leave full, leave satisfied,” and they mean it.
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Talde’s Hawaiian bread buns with crispy Long Island fluke, 3 for $12
369 Seventh Ave., at 11th St., Park Slope; 347-916-0031 (See the Listing)
To the panoply of rolls at New York chefs’ disposal, add Hawaiian-style mini-buns. Soft and slightly sweet, they house Dale Talde’s trio of diminutive sandwiches, including one featuring rice‑floured, deep-fried Long Island fluke, accessorized with black‑pepper-vinegar mayo and pickled shallots.
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Fish sandwich at Eataly’s La Piazza, $14
200 Fifth Ave., at 23rd St.; 212-229-2560; Monday through Friday at lunch (See the Listing)
Does Italy have a fried-fish-sandwich tradition? Who cares? The catch of the day (recently skate) is wonderfully fresh and beautifully fried, the shallot-and-caper-enhanced tartar homemade, and there’s a refreshing clump of arugula-fennel salad to liven things up.
160 Havemeyer St., nr. S. 2nd St., Williamsburg; no phone yet; opens this week
Former Fette Sau pit master Matt Lang is a Baltimore native and, by definition, an aficionado of that city’s favorite fish, the fried whiting, known for some reason as lake trout. He’s also a fan of the Filet-o-Fish, and his cheese fish sandwich (another Baltimore thing) is an homage to the fast-food archetype right down to the perfectly square Alaskan pollack patty.