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Review

Jakob Layman

Little Fish

$$$$
Written by
Jakob Layman

A good pop-up serves delicious food. A great one feels like you’ve been let in on some grand secret. Little Fish is the latter. Run by a group of chefs who met while working at Son of a Gun, this low-key Echo Park fish fry is secretly running one of the best backyard parties in the city.

Watching Little Fish evolve from a rookie pop-up in September 2020 to selling out within minutes was like witnessing the birth of a supernova. They flooded our feeds with photos of golden, crispy sandwiches, hand-drawn illustrations, and collaborations with natural wine bar, Melody, and Chainsaw, a frozen dessert shop with a killer icebox pie.

Here’s how it works: At the beginning of each month, the Eastside fish-fry drops their upcoming lineup of dates and pick-up times. For the uninitiated, it’s a fun way to see what they’re planning, seeing what works for your schedule, etc. But for the die-hard fans, it’s the moment to set multiple reminders and calendar events on your phone to ensure your spot at the coolest party in town.

Jakob Layman

When you actually get to Little Fish’s location, you’ll find an extremely normal-looking house - just a simple, one-story building with a spacious side patio and light teal paint job. They’re in a quieter part of Echo Park, tucked away from busy Sunset Blvd., on a tree-lined street with plenty of parking out front. The setup reminds us of the ragers kids threw in high school while their overly trusting parents were away for the weekend. Except, in this case, no matter who you are (and whether or not you own low-rise jeans), Little Fish’s welcoming atmosphere will make you feel like you belong.

There’s a plastic folding table out back, exactly two frozen lemonade machines churning away on the side, and in the driveway, a cardboard sign that reads “Fish Fry” followed by an arrow. Even if you don’t end up actually eating there, you’ll get to experience the place before you take your order to go, possibly share it with a friend, or enjoy solo while rewatching old Saturday Night Live clips.

Jakob Layman

Then, there’s the titular sandwich. Golden-brown and served on the fluffiest bun you’ve ever seen, it’s like a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, but even better than the one promised in TV commercials. The fish itself, a slab of Pacific striped bass, is ultra-crispy, the result of a long process including marination, beer-battering, then a dip in the deep fryer. There’s a tangy Kewpie mayonnaise and pickle combo that’s slathered on thick, which clings to the bun and serves as the ideal complement to an otherwise salt-heavy sandwich. Plus, each box only costs $20 and comes with a side dish (most recently, we had a very dill-y pasta salad) and Zapps New Orleans-style kettle chips.

The beauty of Little Fish lies in its simplicity – you’re getting the best possible version of a dish you’ve probably had countless times, whether that be a family cookout or alone in your car at 2am (guilty). The $20 price point serves as a sweet, maraschino cherry on top, but that doesn’t necessarily make Little Fish accessible. Much like the limited-edition Animal Crossing Switch consoles we missed out on, Little Fish tends to sell out within minutes, making scoring a ticket to their backyard party close to impossible.

Starting summer 2021, you’ll also be able to find them at Smorgasburg, but until then, we made for you: The Infatuation’s Guide To Placing An Order At Little Fish.

  1. As soon as Little Fish announces a drop on Instagram, it’s go time. Set an alarm. No, set multiple alarms. We like to do a combination of once in the morning (just as a day-of reminder), another one five minutes before, then of course, at the time of the drop.
  2. Pray to Tyche, the Greek goddess of good fortune and prosperity.
  3. While you’re at it, throw in a prayer to Kronos (the Time titan), Demeter (agriculture), and whatever deity comes out of this Random Greek God Generator for extra measure.
  4. Once that third alarm dings, head straight to Little Fish’s link in bio, where you’ll find their order form. Do not dilly dally, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.
  5. Make sure you have your credit card ready, if not preloaded onto your phone. It’s a small change that’ll make a huge difference, time-wise, especially when seconds become precious in the great race to place an order.
  6. [IF YOU SECURED A TICKET, MOVE ON TO STEP 7] So, you didn’t make the cut. That’s alright! There will always be other drops in the future. But maybe try to set more alarms next time?
  7. We’re in. Congrats, you did it. All your training paid off and you’ve got a one-way ticket to the coolest party in town. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little proud.

Food Rundown

Jakob Layman
Fried Fish Sandwich

If you’re not getting this, you’re doing something wrong. No, seriously – how did you even put in an order? It’s literally the only thing on the menu. The fish has an almost-airy texture, having undergone a long process including koji-curing, a dip in their signature batter (made of beer, two types of flour, and vodka), then a vigorous deep fry. To not get the fried fish sandwich here is like telling your best friend that you’re going to their house, them getting really excited and cleaning the whole place for you, then just driving by and waving from your window. It’s not illegal, per se, but what the hell? Just order the sandwich.

Jakob Layman
Assorted Side Dishes

Little Fish’s menu changes week-to-week. Many of these were created for their previous pop-up at Melody in Virgil Village, including grilled broccolini, fluffernutter sandwiches, and a beautiful kanpachi crudo covered in pine nuts.

Jakob Layman
Grilled Broccolini

A limited-edition greens dish, covered in a spicy glaze made with currants, chili, and hazelnuts.

Jakob Layman
Kanpachi Crudo

Beautiful kanpachi crudo! Covered in verjus and tiny little pine nuts.

Jakob Layman
Unreleased Fluffernutter Sandwich

We never got to see this sandwich out in the wild, but the simple dish is made purely of bread, a little marshmallow, and a scoop of peanut butter.

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