FishScale, a restaurant in the Shaw area of DC that specializes in fish burgers, has become one of my go to spots for a bite to eat. I’ve written about them before, but they recently added some great items to their menu that I want to highlight.
I first went to FishScale in 2019, when I discovered the restaurant when I was in the area for an event at the nearby Howard Theater. I was impressed not only with the quality of their food but also by the friendliness of the owner, who is always more than happy to describe the menu or talk about her story.
Their signature dish, fish burgers are still on the menu. These burgers use fish patties that have absolutely no fillers, making them quite dense. And quite delicious. The fish available changes regularly, with the current offerings listed on the wall (“Fresh Catch”). New to the menu are entrees (“mains”), which are fried fish plus one side. The fish choices are the same list, although check the annotations as not all fish are available for all dishes. As a main entree, the fish is normally cut into fillets. There was one exception that day. The Porgy. With the Porgy, you get half of a fish, bone still in. The side choices for a main are: fried rice, curry with seasonal vegetables, or one of the sandwich sides.
Interested in an entree, I chose the Porgy. Porgy is a white fish with a mild taste similar, I was told, to a Red Snapper. The Porgy was perfectly fried: a crisp exterior and a light, flaky interior. Note that the breading is gluten free and the fish is fried in Avocado Oil. For my side, I chose the seasonal vegetables. The vegetables that day were red potatoes and Brussels sprouts. They were fresh and tender but what I liked most was the curry sauce. Its flavor was strong but not spicy and it complimented both the vegetables and the fish quite well.
Another change to the menu is with the sides. The sandwich sides are now: corn pudding, collards, Japanese sweet potatoes, fried potatoes, and sunflower yogurt coleslaw. I think most of these are new; the only one I had ordered before was the sweet potatoes. And those have changed. They used to be cut in long wedges and seasoned with soy. Now they are cut into discs and glazed with honey. It is excellent. But it is very different than the previous version. It’s also quite a bit sweeter. You could almost have it as a dessert.
Another menu item that I want to highlight is the fish cheesesteak. While not new, they were added after my first article. Chunks of fish are fried, placed in a large bun with peppers and onions, and topped with provolone cheese and an aioli sauce. I like it, but it is quite a bit heavier than FishScale’s other items. Because of that, I don’t order it often. The side in the picture is the old style of Japanese potatoes.
There are a few items that have been taken off the menu. Their grilled Romaine salad is no longer offered. Also gone is the fish tacos. Both of these were favorites of mine. The salad consisted of a half head of lettuce, grilled, and topped with seasonal fruit and dressing. It was fantastic! And I liked the tacos as a good low, carb way to enjoy their fish. I will miss them both.
The new items are great additions to FishScale’s menu. The restaurant now has more of a Southern flair. In regards to the fried fish entree, I found the boned in fish took too much effort to eat. I guess I do not have fish with bones often enough. I do want to try a fillet, but I expect my favorite item will remain the fish burgers. Overall, the menu is still terrific and the quality of food remains high. FishScale remains one of my favorite spots in DC.