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Sandwich of the Week: Smoked Bluefish Special from Mile End Sandwich

In a city with no shortage of delicious Jewish delicatessens, Mile End Sandwich's Montreal-style smoked meat sandwich puts up a fierce fight against the longtime heavyweight champions at Katz's. But when Mile End Sandwich chef James Merker set out to create his version of a smoked fish sandwich, he shied away from the whitefish and sturgeon standards of competitors  and instead went for an unexpected Long Island staple: bluefish. This divisive ingredient often gets a bad rap for its strong taste, but a stint as sous chef at Bridgehampton's South Fork Kitchen taught Merker how to temper the flavors of the fisherman's fish for more finicky eaters. An apple-cider based glaze flavored with a dash of pickled mustard seed gives the fish a surprising sweetness,  further enhanced by a slow smoke. "The smoke takes away from that fishiness typically associated with bluefish, and it also calms down the oils in the process," Merker explains. Pickled watermelon rind and salt and vinegar chips add a bit of acidity to balance the saltiness of a pleasantly light tartar sauce, and also provide a nice crunch factor. The more discerning palate may even get a hint of blueberry, as the watermelon rind is preserved using the brine from Mile End's other summer special, a summer corn soup with pickled blueberries. All of this is served atop a golden softy bun, which is based off the same buttery, cakey dough Merker uses for his challah pullman loaf. At $12, it's slightly less expensive than the signature smoked meat sandwich. But all good things must come to an end, and this, of course, includes bluefish season, which tapers off near the end of September according to Merker. Get yourself to NoHo now before it's too late.

53 Bond St
(212) 529-2990

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