Fried-fish sandwiches have a long history around our area, from city carryouts to Mid-Atlantic seafood houses. But this summer they’re popping up in more places—and in more highbrow incarnations—than ever. Six we love:
1. The DC Classic
Whiting sandwich at Horace and Dickie’s
6912 Fourth St., NW; 5601 Allentown Rd., Camp Springs
The original H Street institution closed last year, but you’ll still find giant, crunchy-crusted filets of whiting heaped atop a little slice of white bread at these spinoffs run by founder Dickie Shannon’s family. Grab some hot sauce and get to it.
2. The Slider
“Filet-o-fish” at Itty Bitty Sandwich City
2001 18th St., NW
McD’s serves as the inspiration for the puck-size creations at this sandwich pop-up out the Imperial in Adams Morgan. Some major differences: a slug of IPA in the batter, wild-caught cod instead of pollock, and no American cheese.
3. The Mid-Atlantic Classic
Crispy fish at the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse
1356 Otis St., NE
The structure is simple—lettuce, tomato, tartar sauce—and the main elements are purely local: flaky blue catfish from the Chesapeake and a Lyon Bakery brioche bun.
4. The Crunchified Version
Cornmeal-crusted-fish sandwich at Pennyroyal Station
3310 Rhode Island Ave., Mount Rainier
The best thing about the sandwich at Jesse Miller’s eight-month-old Mount Rainier hangout is its bite, thanks to cornmeal-battered fluke, chunky housemade pickles, and toasted white bread. Also, tangy rémoulade and a dose of Mexican hot sauce.
5. The Fancy Filet-O-Fish Riff
“Fish filet” at Moon Rabbit
801 Wharf St., SW
One of the tastiest appetizers in the city right now is this Wharf restaurant’s Vietnamese-accented homage to the golden-fried McDonald’s sandwich. Panko-crusted catfish is scented with lemongrass and turmeric, finished with smoked-dill tartar and iceberg lettuce, and set inside a curry-milk bun.
6. The Secret Sando
Fried-dogfish sandwich at District Fishwife
1309 Fifth St., NE
The stackup of freshly fried dogfish, lemon mayo, pickles, lettuce, and tomato was once a fixture on this Union Market seafood counter’s menu. Now it’s only for those in the know: off-menu but always available. You’re welcome.
This article appears in the July 2021 issue of Washingtonian.