Hoffman's Houston
ain't no fish story

Ken Hoffman reveals the best fish sandwich in Houston — named in his honor

Hoffman reveals the best fish sandwich in Houston — named for him

Hoffy Giant Fish Sandwich The Union Kitchen
Could this be the best fish sandwich in Houston? Photo by Victoria Christensen

This week, The Union Kitchen on Bellaire Boulevard is debuting the newest addition to the Ken Hoffman Signature Collection of Finer Foods. Dig into the Hoffy Giant Fish Sandwich and Chips, reasonably priced at $14.99, available at lunch and dinner.

The Hoffy Giant Fish Sandwich joins the Ken Hoffman New York Hot Dog at Minute Maid Park, the Hoffy Twist at Shipley Do-Nuts, Ken Hoffman is Totally Nuts Ice Cream at the Chocolate Bar, and the legendary Hoffy Burger at Demeris BBQ. These foods are my legacy — I'm not going to win a Pulitzer Prize for my Pizza Hut reviews.

Here’s the Hoffy Giant Fish Sandwich breakdown: a heavy-duty, 6-to-8-ounce slab of beer-battered cod, malt vinegar tartar sauce, red cabbage slaw, lettuce, and tomato on a fresh pretzel bun. Served with house-made potato chips. It’s the real thing, all right.

The Hoffy Giant Fish Sandwich started with a conversation I had with Union Kitchen owner Paul Miller. We decided to create an authentic British fish sandwich, like you'd find at corner chip shops in Merry Olde England. I wanted the fish filet to stick out all sides of the bun, so customers get a good deal. Then executive chef James Lundy took charge. He got after the assignment so seriously, at some points he frightened Miller and me. Before commandeering the back of the store at The Union Kitchen, Lundy worked for 10 years at Landry Restaurants plus other upscale restaurants.

Building the perfect giant fish sandwich
The best fish sandwiches in England are made with cod, and Lundy uses a Pacific cod that is sustainably sourced. The fish is battered senseless and deep-fried. You can request the fish to be grilled. The slaw and tartar sauce are prepared daily by Lundy.  If you prefer a lower-calorie version, hold the tartar sauce and ask for malt vinegar (like I do). 

The pretzel bun is crisp on the outside, soft inside. You’ll love the chips. Lundy slices Kennebec potatoes, the same spud that Nathan’s Hot Dog stand uses in Coney Island, and soaks them overnight in vinegar and water to release excess starch. They’re serious chips. I’ve personally taste-tested this sandwich and it’s the best fish sandwich in Houston, period, end of story. This ain’t no Filet-o-Fish at McDonald’s.

The Hoffy Giant Fish Sandwich is available now at The Union Kitchen on Bellaire Boulevard. The restaurant is named after The Union Kitchen at Purdue University, where owner Miller played football in the ’90s. When he was a senior, Miller was assigned to show a potential recruit, a kid from Texas, around campus. The recruit did sign to play at Purdue, did sort of okay and went on to a decent pro career — a height-challenged quarterback named Drew Brees.