Fish-Wich Find

The Mexican sandwich gets fishy

Your latest course of study has been approved: Welcome to Advanced Torta Appreciation.

You've already mastered the sopping pleasures of a wet version of the classic Mexican sandwich.

Now, you are ready to tackle the elusive fish torta, and your master class begins in the Mission at El Metate.

The taquería takes the star of its simple and celebrated fish taco–breaded basa rolled in a rust-hued blend of freshly ground spices–and surrounds it with supporting players. Nuggets of queso fresco, jalapeño coins, tomato slices and bits of onion are layered in a Dutch crunch roll, then grill-pressed until black lines etch its shell.

The sweet flavor of the fish–soft and slightly chewy–fuses with the pepper's heat and the cheese's tang. Irrigated with a thin glaze of mayonnaise, the crackly bread shatters with one bite.

As a bonus, each massive sandwich comes with an 8-ounce plastic tub of excellent chicken-tortilla soup.

Buy yours early enough in the day and you'll have enough food for breakfast, lunch and maybe dinner. We call that Strategic Dining 101.

El Metate, 2406 Bryant St. (at 22nd St.); 415-641-7209