Fried fish is iconic to the Black American culinary cannon with people enjoying it throughout the midwest, south, and southeastern United States. Fried fish also has a long history as a socioeconomic entrepreneurial tool in paying for college tuitions, church and gym construction projects, as well as countless burials. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for me, a 90s child, to find that old school flavor I enjoyed back in the day at my grandmother’s fish fry Fridays.
Thankfully, during a recent trip to Indianapolis, I stumbled on a local favorite in Indy’s Brightwood neighborhood that took me back to the 90’s! Taste This Fish is a delicious outpost of soulfully fried fish, shrimp and fixings. Operated by a mother, Ms. Trina Carter and her two sons, James and Jeffery Carter, this spot has delicious perch, swai, buffalo, catfish, whiting, shrimp and more.
We ordered the catfish filet and whole catfish with fries, collards, mac and cheese, spaghetti, and coleslaw. The filet was good and preferable if you have an issue with fish bones, but the whole catfish won me over with its full flavor. The fish was fried to a perfect tenderness, just firm enough to wrap in a slice of bread like I used to with hot sauce and mustard. It really hit the nostalgic spot, totally delicious with your favorite condiments. It’s also available with lemon pepper and Cajun flavoring, but I wanted to remain classic, so I stuck with the standard batter. Besides, the cornmeal-based batter and its crunch took me back to those old school church fish fries.
Next came the delicious, crunchy, flavorful shrimp that worked well with all the condiments. I especially enjoyed them with the tartar sauce. The side items were all delicious, but that spaghetti slapped, which makes sense now that I realize the pairing is a Midwest thing that is quite popular in Chicago, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and Naptown! It’s so good I’ll be ordering a side to go on my next visit.
Speaking of combos, I recommend the whole catfish, spaghetti, mac and cheese and the coleslaw. You will thank me later. To give you an indication of how good the coleslaw was, I’m not a fan of the dish, but ended up ordering two to go. It definitely reminded me of that good KFC coleslaw from the late ‘80s, early ‘90s.
Indy is one of my favorite cities for food because it’s good and Black folks warmly share their culinary culture. Taste This Fish is mainly takeout with absolutely no hassle, amazing service, and beautiful hospitality. The family also gives back by employing young people to operate what is easily one of the top five Indy eateries I’ll be revisiting.
They’re located at 3614 E 25th St, Indianapolis, IN 46218. You can reach them at (317) 426-5837.