After my great experience with my first Hot Fish Sandwich at Eastside Fish I was pretty much ready to try another. Actually these regional sandwiches are a pretty good fill, not uncommonly seen with almost a pound's worth of large fillets protruding well past the sliced white bread. But as this particular ending day was all but spent bearing with the rituals of flight travel on an empty stomach, it wasn't long until I was readying my portable GPS to guide me to my next destination. Ed's Fish (& Pizza) House.
Ed's I definitely read about first on beloved Roadfood.com (link to their review here). My drive there thinking I recognized some streets for a change, I pass by Mary's Old Fashioned Bar-B-Que moments before arriving. Open since 1972 and located right off bustling Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd, it's not hard to tell it's a fixture in the area.
Btw, I had put the "& Pizza" part of the name in parenthesis because they've stopped serving it a long while back. Now strictly a Hot Fish spot (though I think they also serve chicken), available plain or as a sandwich with also a few side options to be had as a plate. The latter sounded like a good idea to cap off the day before retiring for the night feeling spent.
The late afternoon when I arrived, the place was pretty quiet. An empty table with bible opened to the Book of Psalms. Seemed the people were busy tending a Drive-Thru patron at the time. Making my way to the counter I noticed some freshly made Chess Pie sold by the slice.
As I mentioned previously, Whiting would be the most ubiquitous when speaking of Nashville HFS, but went again with Catfish. Asked for coleslaw and sweet spaghetti as sides. I felt I was semi-warned (or maybe just informed) about the spaghetti but I knew what I was asking for reading the roadfood.com article. More on that later.
Regional preferences in food and taste aside, it's not too hard to wonder why some don't spread beyond local boundaries. While there certainly are many factors, as for Hot Fish I feel people in So. Cal. simply wouldn't have the patience to wait the fifteen to twenty minutes required, at least for a proper one anyway. This is true for most things, but unfortunate because it's definitely a rewarding meal for the people that aren't always in such a hurry. I further kill some time making chitchat with the owner (Ed?) and basic "checking the place out" tactics. Especially being my first visit, there are near endless visual entertainment and things more or less fly by. By the time my meal came I was sitting next to two other regulars.
The spaghetti as Michael Stern puts it best is "anti-trendy." Well past al dente and also fairly sweet to boot. But at least for me I felt if you can get past the texture, the scratch made taste and some flavors of bell peppers make it enjoyable. The coleslaw is even sweeter. Perhaps both not for someone who hasn't grown up with, but definitely a curious study and glad I had tried.
The Hot Fish Sandwich is what I've come for of course and it is a beauty. Toothpicked together it is also hefty. At Eastside was two larger fillets, here was four or so medium sized.
The bread obviously off shelf but super fresh and soft as a baby's butt. As a prerequisite the fish is indeed piping hot (and damn good). While tartar sauce is available around the back for anyone, the classic combination of yellow mustard, pickles, raw onions and hot sauce along with the crispy cracker meal mix coating of the fish is surprisingly harmonious and almost magical. I'm now officially a fan.
Ed's Fish & Pizza House, 1801 Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208