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Phong Dinh is located just where you might speed up on the way to a little catch-and-release at the lakes in Whittier Narrows, probably untempted by the restaurant's screaming neon promise of “World Famous Baked Fish.” But when the fish lands on your table, mouth agape like Aaron Brown deprived of a Teleprompter, it is a sweet-smelling thing, still sizzling, lolling on a platterful of mixed greens as if it had just happened to belly-flop onto a passing salad. And the fish couldn't be better, crisp-skinned and steaming with a pleasing feral muddiness that five generations of scientific aquaculture have completely eliminated from the American catfish.
Photo by Anne Fishbein The famous baked fish at Phong Dinh is a monster of an animal, a thick-skinned Vietnamese catfish barely shy of a yard, blackened and smoking, the twin prongs of its signature mustachio charred into crumbling Salvador Dali... More »
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