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A Sandwich a Day: Grilled Fish at Bear Flag Fish in Newport Beach, CA
In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Bear Flag Fish will likely be packed when you walk in. It feels like the majority of the room just went surfing or is about to. With the California flag as its logo, BFF is part fish market, part chill fast-casual with communal tables. Fish tacos are the obvious order at this breezy hangout on Newport's Balboa Peninsula, and deservedly so, but the sandwiches shouldn't be overlooked.
Slabs of fish are lined up on the smoking grills inside: wild salmon next to basa (a Southeast Asian breed of catfish), halibut, opah, and the just-barely seared albacore. You can get any of them in a tortilla or a crusty, toasted baguette. Either way you'll be happy because the fish couldn't be fresher and it's beautifully charred, not a bit greasy.
The sandwich comes in two hefty halves with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado (an extra buck), and a few squirts of Tommy Sauce. Tommy who? He's an amalgam of Sriracha, sesame oil, orange juice, lemon juice, and probably a few other secrets that altogether add a vibrant punch of citrus, salt, sweet, tang, and umami without overwhelming the simply prepared fish. If you need more Tommy, he's in a magnum-sized bottle on BFF's table of assorted condiments.
[Tip o' the hat to Aniva!]