No Fish, Go Fish
634 N Killingsworth, 285-2751

There's a certain heartbreaking charm about restaurants that are built with total sincerity--you can just tell that every decision has been sweated over, down to which kind of organic rosemary tastes better, or if six-grain bread is more complementary to the Caesar salad than nine-grain. The people who run places like this are always so genuine about wanting to please, you just feel like walking up and either giving them a big hug, or a punch in the face.

Right away, it's obvious this sums up No Fish, Go Fish. They serve a simple, under-$5 menu of hot/cold sandwiches, soups, and salads, with the dishes ranging from Indian-inspired to Italian and American. The name of the restaurant comes from the hot, crisp, intricately fish-shaped sandwiches they serve, and the device they use to make them, shipped in special from Japan.

Modeled after a real Japanese dish, the No Fish people modified the Japanese dough and use a multi-grain corn meal, changing the traditional filling of beans to a variety of different things--spinach and feta, cream cheese and pepperoncini, ham and cheddar, as well as mozzarella and tomato. (No Fish sandwich specials change every day). The soups are also meticulously planned, like the mushroom and barley soup flavored with rosemary and thyme, or the warm carrot blended with spicy ginger.

Unfortunately, such care does not always equal perfection. Since they rely so much on simple dishes made mostly of vegetables and grains, and flavored with a few, fresh spices, No Fish gives off the distinct hippie-food vibe, and lots of the food pretty much tastes like it sounds--made from scratch with lots of vegetables. All well and good, but it's pretty hard to ignore the fact you're eating a soup that's 99 percent ground-up carrots.

The sandwiches are similarly chock-full of solid masses of vegetables, like the spinach-feta filled No Fish sandwich, which is so overflowing with spinach that it has a distinct metallic taste. The extra-cheesy sandwiches are the best, but they're the minority on the menu. But you know, a little hippie food can be good. You should just be aware of what you're getting into.