Fishmonger – Atlanta, GA

Everywhere I’ve looked for the last several months, there’s been a social media reference to Fishmonger and their blackened grouper sandwich. The mention that put them on “my list” was their inclusion on the 2022 edition of Atlanta Magazine’s best restaurants list. This afternoon we were doing some Christmas shopping in town around lunchtime. I saw they were next to Sweet Auburn Barbecue and I assumed it was in the former hot dog joint from Richard Blais (the name of that escapes me), but, uppn arrival, that building is now a dental center. This actually is in the building that used to house Boutique Guitar Exchange (one of the great old guitar stores in Atlanta).

After finding a place to park, we walked around the old Plaza Drugs and inside the very small space. The photo above is back through the window and doesn’t do justice to the minute size of this place. There is a counter with fresh filets to go and cook at home, a raw bar (that’s BYOB) that you and three or four of your friends could eat at and a register, where you order. There are a total of ten counter seats inside and some outside tables. We chose one of the street tables you can see in the first photo.

The menu is small and there are just a few cold side choices, none of which appealed to me. My beloved chose a German potato salad,

which was a cold dish with potatoes floating in vinegar with spices. On opening the container, we had a long discussion about German potato salad. This resembled a German potato salad recipe I looked up on AllRecipes (potatoes, vinegar, bacon, onions, white sugar, salt, pepper and parsley). But it didn’t match the potato salad made by my wife’s neighbor growing up (who was German) that was mayonnaise-based – her mom made it with mustard.

On to the sandwiches, which we both ordered. They start with a grouper filet. I found this great description of the preparation in an article on Eater Atlanta:

They dip “the fish in nori butter and sprinkle it with a blend of ten spices before it hits a hot skillet to crisp the skin. The spice blend features everything from Sichuan pepper, cumin, fennel, and black pepper, to cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and fresh onion bits. The mixture is roasted and then ground.”

Once cooked, it’s topped with zesty Florida sauce, an herb salad, lettuce, tomato and pickled peppers and served on a toasted bun smeared with more of the nori butter. Was this the best fish sandwich in Atlanta? I dont know that, as my sample is small, but it was memorable and very good. It was also a five-napkin sandwich, so be prepared. The herb salad was a nice mix, in which I definitely tasted the mint. The tomato slices were very fresh, for this time of year, and only added to the glorious mess.

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