Chef Bobby Flay says "fish tacos are one of the most perfect dishes," reports Jeff Gordinier in The New York Times (10/2/13). Alex Stupak, the chef at Empellon Taqueria agrees, and elaborates: "I believe that a fish taco is texturally epiphanal in the same way that eating perfectly crisp Peking duck skin is, folded into those little sort of crepes that they give you. It’s the same concept. There’s something about sinking your teeth into something soft, and then feeling a crunch, that is just magical."
For Richard Ampudia, the magic is in the emotional connection. "Fish tacos remind me of being young," he says. Richard is now 46, but when he was in his teens "he took bus trips to remote areas of Mexico, slept in hammocks, a few barefoot steps from the waves, drank beer and devoured tortillas filled with fried red snapper or sea bass." Today, he keeps that spirit alive at his restaurant, Bar Bruno, in Brooklyn.
Typically, the fish is "coated in beer batter, deep-fried then tucked into a soft tortilla with a tangle of green cabbage (not lettuce) and a smear of mayonnaise or crema, a Mexican spin on crème fraiche." Avocado and radish might tag along, although Aaron Sanchez of the Food Network thinks avocado is a "California thing … everybody wants to put avocado on everything in that state." And he advises against salsa because "it weighs down the batter." Opinions differ on the origins of the fish taco, but Alex Stupak says he doesn’t "care where they come from" because, "they’re just awesome."