Jump to content

Fishnet, Owner Ferhat Yalcin's Excellent Grilled and Fried Fish on Berwyn Road in College Park


Recommended Posts

Great news for University of Maryland students: our own Ferhat Yalcin, ex-GM of Corduroy, is opening Fishnet at 5010 Berwyn Road in College Park. For many years, Ferhat and I have kicked around concepts, and he has finally found his perfect location.

Fishnet is planning to serve about four types of grilled (or deep-fried) fish with 4-5 homemade sauces to choose from. Most of these will come as sandwiches, and there will be some other things such as calamari, mussels, and yep - a lobster roll. He's planning to run specials such as soft-shell crab sandwich and a whole grilled dorade platter (influenced from Corduroy). Maybe fish tacos in the future, and there will also be side dishes offered.

No alcohol because he's too close to the school, but homemade lemonade, small-batch sodas, and the best news of all: delivery.

Look for an August opening, in time for the 2011-2012 school year.

Congratulations, Ferhat! You've worked hard to get this going, and it's finally coming into place. Nobody deserves this more than you do.

Cheers,
Rocks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had a really nice dinner here with the kids tonight.

In fact, best piece of salmon I've had in a long long time, and went well with the spicy aioli. I didn't get to taste what the kids had (lobster roll, fried calamari with lemon aioli) but they were both very pleased with their choices. Note that the lobster roll is Maine-style-ish, but not completely authentic. Bread was a little different, and the sandwich was a little more dressed.

Fries were fantastic, but I wasn't really a fan of the cole slaw (too much mayo) or potato salad. Fish sandwiches come on a ciabatta roll which by itself is excellent, but it's just too much bread for the fish. I ate the fish, and then ate the bread, rather than eating as a sandwich.

Will definitely be back, and can't wait for soccer season in April so I have another pre-game spot to hit!

Pic of menu board attached.

post-227-0-79069400-1321247772_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very amused (and happy) to see Ale 81 as a beverage choice. I'd be very interested to know how in the world this obscure Kentucky soda, with very limited distribution (it's still not available in the part of western Kentucky where I grew up), wound up on the menu in College Park. Guess I'll have to get over there and check out the fish and ask the man himself :)

Congratulations, Ferhat!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much to all.

We are starting lunch tomorrow. Hours will be 11.30am to 9.30pm for weekdays. Saturday and Sunday hours may change, too.

it is not my purpose to keep posting here to bring this thread to the top every few days but major changes will be posted. you can follow me on twitter and facebook for more often updates to reach twitter and facebook please go to our webpage

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it is not my purpose to keep posting here to bring this thread to the top every few days but major changes will be posted. you can follow me on twitter and facebook for more often updates to reach twitter and facebook please go to our webpage

[if every restaurateur in town thinks I'm some kind of militant moderator, then nobody will ever post here. :(]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

İ will keep posting. i just didnt know your militant side :)

[This is a general letter to all restaurateurs, chefs, managers, etc.

The fast and loose rule is that everyone is encouraged to post twice a month because we all really *do* want to know what your restaurant is up to. Anything more than a couple times a month, and people might start to see it as blatant shilling; anything less than a couple times a month, and your restaurant drops off the radar. Twice a month is the perfect marketing strategy for donrockwell.com!

(And for new places trying to get off the ground (like Fishnet), we'll all turn the other way if you post a little more often than that!) :)]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We definitely will be coming back here and telling everyone we know to check them out. Very fresh and tasty fish in a bun--unique for a casual quick bite place. I can almost imagine the menu being served from a food truck downtown except for the fact that the fish is cooked to order, grilled or fried. But I can certainly imagine that there would be loooong lines waiting.

We stopped in on the inaugural lunch opening date for a late bite. Mr. S had grilled salmon with spicy red aioli and I had the grilled Mahi Mahi dressed with lemon. All sandwiches come with fresh greens and tomatoes. Mine had a wonderful grill flavor, but I can't remark on the salmon as I did not sample it. Mr. S said it was quite good and enjoyed his choice of sauce. I appreciated that they were able to prepare the fish w/o olive oil (allergy) and was pleased* to find out that the fries are cooked in Canola Oil.

*Initially pleased---but now wondering what I've gotten my self in to--they are sooooo good, that I don't think I can go here and NOT get them. Really...they are that good. And there goes my idea of having a place to stop for a healthy meal before trips out to Costco. :D I did express interest in adding a future menu item of a salad, or even just more greens and tomatoes, topped with the fish. But not on my next visit. Next time I'm going for Fish and Chips!

But don't take my word for it--go here and see for yourself. Really. GO.

It was great to see Ferhat and I was surprised that he remembered us from our few visits to Corduroy. But I guess my extensive list of allergies is a bit memorable. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOVED my dinner last night. We got the fish soup (seriously outstanding), grilled salmon sandwich w/spicy aioli, fries, and the calamari sandwich. The calamari were creamy and perfect, dressed with a terrific garlicky walnut sauce. The fries are every bit as good as squidsdc says. My Paducah, KY born friend was delighted to see Ale 81 on the soda menu and said it was the first time he's ever seen it outside of Kentucky.

There's felafel and burgers for the vegetarians & non-pescetarians. :) I can't wait to go back and bring the kids.

ETA: I forgot to mention the prices. Two big sandwiches, fries, cole slaw, sodas, and a huge cup of soup came to $35 including tax.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband and a couple of work colleagues in from California enjoyed their lunch here today after a meeting in Greenbelt. I don't know specifics other than that my husband liked his grilled salmon and Ferhat recognized him from our trips to Corduroy. Another bunch of thumbs up :).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a great meal at Fishnet on Saturday evening. It was, of course, great to see Ferhat. We had the fish soup, which is delicious and could really be a meal on its own; the grilled porgy (excellent, maybe a little overwhelmed by the bread, but perfectly cooked and very tasty), a lobster roll (loved the tarragon mayo; a suggested improvement would be to toast the bun) and the fried hake, which was outrageously good. We also tried the fries (good) and the coleslaw (really good; maybe a little less dressing would be better but the slaw was very tasty). We'll definitely be back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were back last Friday with the kids. Emma loved the salmon sandwich with dill sauce & Ian gave the burger a thumbs-up and told Ferhat that he liked the Fries. :) The fish taco/burrito and grilled porgy with saffron aioli were devoured to the last crumb by the grownups. We got two orders of fries for the four of us, and I think that was just about right. Oh, and the homemade tiramisu was excellent.

This is hands-down the best casual fish restaurant in DC, and the only potential replacement for our favorite place in Miami, Captain Jim's. The only thing I would love to see is the option to get the fish as a dinner with a couple of sides, instead of just as a sandwich. Maybe someday. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were back last Friday with the kids. Emma loved the salmon sandwich with dill sauce & Ian gave the burger a thumbs-up and told Ferhat that he liked the Fries. :) The fish taco/burrito and grilled porgy with saffron aioli were devoured to the last crumb by the grownups. We got two orders of fries for the four of us, and I think that was just about right. Oh, and the homemade tiramisu was excellent.

This is hands-down the best casual fish restaurant in DC, and the only potential replacement for our favorite place in Miami, Captain Jim's. The only thing I would love to see is the option to get the fish as a dinner with a couple of sides, instead of just as a sandwich. Maybe someday. :)

Uh, not to steal any thunder from the raging washington/district thread but some of us would love see a place like this actually IN the District since trekking up to College Park is pretty tough during the week. Maybe even moreso for those of us in neighborhoods with not--very--good casual fish places. Just saying. (not an "n" dropper--sorry).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Checked it out on Wednesday evening before heading over to the UMD bball game (which might become a ritual since I enjoyed my meal so much). Love the concept as well as the location. I ordered the grilled hake with spicy aioli and it was simply delicious. Very fresh ingredients, can't wait to try out some of the other menu items on our next visit.

Can read more about it here - http://www.dmvdining.com/2011/12/fishnet-from-corduroy-to-college-park/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found out the hard way that Now Open for Lunch only applies to weekday service. Weekend service starts at 5pm. We had to wipe the drool off the sidewalk as we peered through the window around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon. doh! :(

Hah! I had thought about Saturday lunch there as well, but thought to check the website before heading over...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are closing for a combined vacation. My staff will be with their families and İ will be in Turkey to enhance my taste buds. Besides İstanbul i will travel to Gaziantep and Sanliurfa which are very close to Syria border. Starting December 24th and opening on January 4th for dinner service at 5pm. Merry Christmast and happy new years to everybody.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are closing for a combined vacation. My staff will be with their families and İ will be in Turkey to enhance my taste buds. Besides İstanbul i will travel to Gaziantep and Sanliurfa which are very close to Syria border. Starting December 24th and opening on January 4th for dinner service at 5pm. Merry Christmast and happy new years to everybody.

Have a good trip and enjoy your well-earned vacation, Ferhat!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Made it to Fishnet this week for lunch; a first visit. I'm a bit more muted than some on this thread but very much appreciated the experience.

HEADLINE

This a place all about inspiration and aspirations--both of which I really love. Has some room to still run on execution but, given the passion behind the place, I'd bet on them closing any gaps on processes and service, etc. Definitely worth visiting if nearby. Not sure it's worth the 20 minute or longer trip from the District at this point. If I lived in/near College Park, I'd probably be there somewhat regularly. From NoVa or DC though, other options probably trump at this point. But I'll go back in a month or two.

VENUE

So many restaurants prompt complaints about patrons feeling as if they're on top of each other with tables crammed in to goose revenues. I'm not sure I've ever seen praise for the opposite phenomenon (though no doubt it's elsewhere here on dr.com) so I want to give credit where credit is due here. Fishnet has about a dozen tables in a fairly large space. They're spaced very, very widely apart. If anything, the spacing makes the space seem more spartan than it is but, I don't care how big and fast-moving your elbows or how loud your voice, you're in good shape here at Fishnet :D

Overall, the restaurant is fairly bare bones but I'd expect that given the narrow and lower priced foci. You can tell from the dry wall and new floor that it's a new renovation. Some visible spackle and rough finishes, along with a fairly remote location, make clear that the owner was trying to keep costs manageable--a very good thing for a restaurant that wants to endure. I'm a bit worried about the location in that it's hard to imagine much foot traffic despite the closeness to the University. But that might be wrong and, of course, if the reputation grows, they will come. And they will drive. And....they will find parking because there's a ton of it all around. Can bring your eighteen wheeler--No Problem.

The pics from Turkey and the one large carpet at the entry are cool. They're using a me-too point-of-sale system called Intuit which is maybe a bit less functional than Square but that wasn't too big a problem.

The only thing I'd like to see Fishnet consider on the venue is turning up the heat some for winter. Most of the patrons there when I was had coats on necessarily. And, if easy to do, maybe additional venting from the kitchen. Though not a big deal, something started smoking during the lunch service so they had to open dining room windows to vent it. Again, not a big deal but as we get more into winter and lower temps, that could start getting a bit uncomfortable if it happens regularly.

Overall, the venue really presents as the work of someone with real focus and passion for the concept. Which leads me to explain the inspiration and aspirations comment.

INSPIRATION AND ASPIRATIONS

I don't know if I have this all right but here goes. The inspiration for Fishnet seems to be fish sandwich (called "Balik Ekmek") sellers who sell simply prepared, and ultra-fresh, fish sandwiches from the shore of the Bosphorus in Turkey. Love, love, love that inspiration. IMHO, our area doesn't have enough places that serve simple, quality, and ethnically authentic fish.

Aspirations are just my own best guess so could be horribly off track. But seems as if the goal here is to build a following for a simple and high quality product, at affordable prices and with a manageably narrow menu. If it works and really grows, you could totally see this scaling to multiple locations. Not sure if that is a goal but, either way, really nailing the execution will obviously be key.

SERVICE

At Fishnet, you go up to a counter toward the rear of the place, passing hand-written menu chalkboards on the left and then again over the register. The woman who guided me, a first-timer, through the options, was awesome. She knew the products and was very friendly and helpful. Once the food is ready, it's brought to the table versus a number or call-back system like at TackleBox. +1 for Fishnet on this. If you have a question or any need, it's easy to signal one of the staff and they're more than happy to help. You get a sense that the people there really care about what they're serving and that you're happy; no small feat. The personality and culture of the place reminded me of KBQ, another spot I tried for the first time recently and need to write something about ;)

FOOD

A bit of a mixed bag but very promising with more good than concerning and with some things they could do easily to make it even better.

I tried a few different things but was a bit challenged because they were out of most of their main proteins. Lobster was out on my arrival so no lobster sliders. And then hake, squid and salmon all ran out by 12:30 or so. I arrived just after noon. The place was relatively empty and stayed that way through the lunch hour, with never more than four tables occupied, so I'm not sure what happened with their suppliers but I was told it was very unusual and I believe them. Luckily, I got one of the last orders of hake, which I ordered fried with a side of fries. This made my trip worthwhile.

Fried hake sandwich ($10) with fries ($2.50): This was great all around. The hake (think this was basically haddock) was clearly fresh, perfectly fried to be snow white, rich and flaky. I can't say what was in the breading but it was interesting. It was very good, crunchy and savory. Likewise, two sauces I tried with the sandwich, a saffron-based lemon and a "spicy aioli" added perfect acid/lightness and heat, respectively. Finally, the fries were really excellent. I learned afterward they are doing what I suspected: hand cut potatoes. Whoo-hoo!!! Remembering all the debates about this on the Mussel Bar board earlier this year, I have to say that making fries this way really matters. I'll go officially on record as saying that any place where fries play a central role should do the work to make them this way--the difference is stark. Fishnet's fries were golden, crunchy, wonderfully imperfect with bits of skin still on in spots and...most of all...they tasted of potato rather than generic starch. Really liked these and, while I'll talk about value separately below, suffice to say this combo was a steal at $12.50.

I would like to see them toast the bread. Seems a bit criminal to me to put this quality of fish, straight from the fryer, onto a cold ciabatta that, itself, is unexceptional. And, this gets to the inspiration thing. I've been to Turkey but never had these sandwiches there. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that they are traditionally served on cold bread. Irregardless, and given that this is a US-based, land-locked restaurant with a definite winter season, some toasting would keep the fish warmer and give more crunch to the sandwich.

Because I didn't eat most of the bread, I was still hungry after devouring all the hake (it was a fair--but not huge--portion) and went back to order something else. By this point (maybe 12:45), they'd run out of nearly everything except blue fish. I'm not a bluefish fan so was pretty encouraged when someone rushed in from the back door with a giant fish over his shoulder. Told it was a salmon, I ordered fish tacos, which they typically make with that. I had to wait 10 or 15 minutes for the fish to be cleaned and broken down but damn if they didn't get that all done and the dish prepped within 15 minutes. Pretty impressive! It would have taken me at least an hour to break down a fish like that and I've have done it horribly wrong. Guess that's why I go to restaurants and won't ever open one ;)

Salmon fish tacos ($10): Unfortunately, just okay. This dish prompted a thought that hadn't crystallized for me previously. The restaurant promotes the fact that all fish is fresh and never frozen. That's a great thing to be sure but I think it might also be good (and even better in some instances) to emphasize wild/sustainable and not farmed. I think with some fish, the difference may not be as apparent to most when fried. But it was to me with the salmon. Like the hake/haddock, the pieces of salmon--a much bigger portion oddly than the hake though same price?--were nicely fried. Maybe even 30 secs more in the fryer would have been fine as they came out medium rare/rare in the center of the larger pieces. But, the pale pink color and relatively bland flavor of the fish betrayed that they were farmed Atlantic.

Of course, it would cost much more to use wild salmon even if it was flash frozen given the shipping but I wonder if this wouldn't be a better approach for this type of fish? Would the market pay higher prices for wild salmon sandwiches, tacos, etc? I surely would but I'm not sure about everyone else; maybe not. The bluefish, squid and haddock/hake are all likely local and wild. Though with haddock, there's always the question of how it's caught as explained here. Lower cost with trawlers. Higher cost but more sustainable with hook and line. In any event, I always favor as much transparency as possible about sourcing and, when thinking about quality, usually prefer fish that is both fresh and wild, though I've recently been persuaded that flash frozen wild can work very well too.

VALUE

Super really. A fish sandwich with this quality of fish and interesting sauces and slaws at $10 strikes me as a truly great deal. Likewise the generous portion of those handcut fries, served in a cup about the size of a Starbucks grande cup, at $2.50 seems a bit criminal.

BOTTOM LINE

No doubt, Fishnet will keep evolving. They'll figure out how to ensure more reliable supply and maybe tweak the menu in ways that make sense for the economics and to meet market demand, whether or not any of my ideas above figure in. But, I love that Fishnet now exists and love what I sense they're trying to do. Merhaba, Fishnet :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

]I'm a bit worried about the location in that it's hard to imagine much foot traffic despite the closeness to the University. But that might be wrong and, of course, as the reputation grows, they will come. And they will drive.

Many years ago, I used to pass that spot every day walking from Greenbelt to College Park. That part of Berwyn Heights struck me as an area that could be in Takoma Park. To me it had the same kind of vibe.

The restaurant is close to the hiking trail and the railroad tracks but not so close to route 1 and 193. I really hope people find it, and mass mailings to people living in Berwyn Heights and Greenbelt might help, as well as trying to reach out to College Park residents.

I doubt I'll get there before the closing for the winter vacation, but I look forward to trying it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are closing for a combined vacation. My staff will be with their families and İ will be in Turkey to enhance my taste buds. Besides İstanbul i will travel to Gaziantep and Sanliurfa which are very close to Syria border. Starting December 24th and opening on January 4th for dinner service at 5pm. Merry Christmast and happy new years to everybody.

Looking forward to your Turkish inspirations, Ferhat. My husband is back on Sunday, we will be in this week and he will spread the word at the Philosophy and IPST Depts at UMD. Robin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband and I had a meeting in Greenbelt this morning, and as good fortune would have it, we finished in time to stop by Fishnet for lunch. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience there. Now that I've been there, I have to say that I find Rocks' opening sentence in the very first post in this thread to be kind of ironic: "Great news for UMD students....".

This is not a restaurant for college students, it's a restaurant for the faculty. This is not fast food and it is not cheap food. It is appropriately-priced, possibly under-priced food, carefully prepared.

I am concerned about the location -- it is quite off the beaten path. If this restaurant were in DC, there would be lines out the door. Unfortunately, the rent would be in the stratosphere as well. We arrived around 11:40, shortly after they opened, and we left at 12:30. In that time, the only other patrons were another couple who dined in and a woman who picked up carry out.

Quite a few items on the chalkboard menu were crossed out and I attributed that to the upcoming holiday closing after service on Wednesday. However, after reading Darkstar's post above, I'm wondering if it's more of a supply issue.

As it happens, we both ordered the hake sandwich (grilled) with the lemon saffron sauce. We also got one order of the fries and one of the coleslaw to share. The sandwiches are not large, I would say they are perfect-sized. Unlike Darkstar, we did not find the bread to be cold, in fact we quite liked it -- it wasn't too thick and it had a nice flavor and crunch. The fish was well-cooked and the sauce added a nice accent. The hand-cut fries were some of the best I've ever had, although I didn't have too many of them since my husband loved them so much that he devoured them in quick order -- I was lucky to snare maybe 10%. This is kind of funny since, when the order arrived my first thought was, woah, that's a lot of fries. Guess not! The only food item I wasn't thrilled with was the coleslaw. I will say that it was very fresh and made of both red and green cabbage and carrots and so it was colorful and attractive. Unlike other posters, I did not find there to be too much dressing, I found there to be too little flavor. I think some additional herbs/spices might need to be added for a flavor enhancement. The portion was large enough to easily serve 2 or 3 people.

One final observation: our order took an inordinate amount of time to arrive, which, considering that the restaurant was almost empty seemed odd. We arrived at the same time as the other couple who dined-in. They ordered a minute before us and yet their order came out a long time before ours. At some point right after theirs had been delivered we heard a loud crashing sound coming from the kitchen and my husband joked, "I think they just dropped our order." Well, after what seemed a very long time without any food delivery, we concluded that maybe he was right and they were re-cooking our food. Whatever happened, it was worth the wait!

There are many other items on the menu and we look forward to trying them. Even though we live in Rockville, we will definitely be back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<snip>

As it happens, we both ordered the hake sandwich (grilled) with the lemon saffron sauce. We also got one order of the fries and one of the coleslaw to share. The sandwiches are not large, I would say they are perfect-sized. Unlike Darkstar, we did not find the bread to be cold, in fact we quite liked it -- it wasn't too thick and it had a nice flavor and crunch. The fish was well-cooked and the sauce added a nice accent. The hand-cut fries were some of the best I've ever had, although I didn't have too many of them since my husband loved them so much that he devoured them in quick order...

I'm curious to know whether the bread on your sandwich was toasted or just not cold per se? The toasting was what I felt missing on mine and, of course, it's easy enough for them to do that. So maybe they are now? Sounds like your experience was near identical save the bread. Thanks for the report.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious to know whether the bread on your sandwich was toasted or just not cold per se? The toasting was what I felt missing on mine and, of course, it's easy enough for them to do that. So maybe they are now? Sounds like your experience was near identical save the bread. Thanks for the report.

It was not toasted, it was simply room temperature. Perhaps they have a new bread supplier? Does anyone know where Ferhat sources the bread? Ferhat?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...